Johnny Cash - Live in Denmark 1971

Johnny Cash
Man in Black: Live in Denmark 1971

(Columbia/Legacy)

First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2006, Volume 13, #7

Written by John Metzger

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Even at the peak of his popularity, Johnny Cash graciously shared the stage with his accompanists. By 1971, his concerts had become eclectically-minded affairs that seamlessly merged his unique blend of country and gospel with the Appalachian folk of the Carter Family, the pop-oriented style of The Statler Brothers, and the rockabilly refrains of Carl Perkins. Originally broadcast on Danish television, Man in Black: Live in Denmark 1971 is a surprisingly transcendent set that beautifully captures the air of familial celebration that frequently permeated his performances. Backed, as always, by the tight-knit rhythms of the Tennessee Three, Cash ran through a wide range of material that included his hits I Walk the Line and Folsom Prison Blues as well as his new single Man in Black. Slinking into the shadows, he led the audience to clap along as Perkins unleashed energetic renditions of Blue Suede Shoes and Matchbox, and he flirtatiously delivered duets with his wife June Carter Cash on well-chosen covers of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Darlin’ Companion, Tim Hardin’s If I Were a Carpenter, and Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It through the Night. In fact, the program’s only faulty moment occurred during the hokey A Song to Mama, which, with its superimposed image of Mother Maybelle, is so overly sentimental that it doesn’t ring true. Fortunately, in the grand scheme of things, it was a minor bump in the road, and as was typical, the entire entourage joined together to conclude the show with a rousing string of spirituals, of which Rock of Ages’ portrayal of the redemptive power of faith as well as the joyous testifying of Children, Go Where I Send Thee were particularly affecting. More than just another historical document, Man in Black: Live in Denmark 1971 provides a captivating, if not entirely essential glimpse at Johnny Cash in his prime. starstarstar ˝

Man in Black: Live in Denmark 1971 is available from
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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2006 The Music Box