The Boob Tube #10: The Johnny Cash Show

So I was watching some old Johnny Cash Show episodes and was rendered stricken and mute by the caliber of talent on this show. How is it that freakishly awful American Idol contestants pass for talented musicians today, while in 1969-70 we took Johnny Cash guests like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, George Jones, Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell for granted? Has the bar been lowered that far, or am I just becoming more and more of a grumpy old geezer?

(in old man voice)"Back in my day we had talent, I tell you. Real talent! Not like you young hooligans of today with yer emo and yer rap music. No good sonofabitches, every last one of ye!"

But back to the show... Waylon Jennings was a guest on one episode. Way before he was singing The Dukes of Hazzard theme, Waylon was an established musician whose career actually began as a bass player for Buddy Holly and the Crickets. He nearly wound up on that tragic flight on the "Day the Music Died", but through a chance of fate wound up driving instead of flying.

One day I'll do a post on old time country music. I love that outlaw country (Willie Nelson, Hank Jr., David Allen Coe, etc.) with its heavy drinkin' and "take this job and shove it" attitude. Waylon was the king of this breed of country singer, and it was great to see him jamming on the Johnny Cash show. However, I noticed the camera stayed on the lovely organ player for most of the performance rather than on Waylon's ugly mug (see picture above).

Of particular interest to me was Cash's guest, Linda Ronstadt. According to the DVD commentary, Linda wanted to perform on the show with a mini skirt and no panties, but June Carter (Johnny Cash's wife) said "hell no" to that and ordered her to put on some undergarments. I live for odd little anecdotes like this!


  1. What I would have given to see La Linda perform with no panties next to Johnny.

  2. So cool Bob Dylan and Cash were pals. Both rebels and visionaries. I recall seeing some of this show when I was a kid but was too young to appreciate it.

  3. I just watched this same DVD about a month ago. I posted an album from the show on my blog and talked about how much talent there was compared to now. If you had a variety show now, who would be the comedian? Will Ferrel? Give me a break. Who would be the music talent? Do stars today act naturally friendly around each other the way they did in the old show? No, not really.

  4. She must've been high or something!

    And you (and Retrohound) have hit on a great point: music stars don't act like normal friendly people around each other anymore--it's always competitive or sexy or something.

  5. i realize this in an old post, but just wanted to point out the the lovely organ player is Waylon Jennings' wife, the super talented Jesse Colter :)