Shout! Factory will be releasing two DVDs for the holiday season on November 13th. They are titled 'The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1976' and 'The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1977', with special permission from the Country Music Hall of Fame. The two DVDs will mark the first time in 30 years that these Christmas specials have been seen.
Johnny and June Carter Cash went to their homes in Bon Aqua, and Hendersonville, Tennessee to tape The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1976. After opening the show, Johnny takes guest Tony Orlando for a ride around his property, teasing him about country versus city life, and promising that June makes the best snake and potatoes around. In addition to several stellar performances, including Christmas As I Knew It, the special includes a medley of songs from Stephen Foster, a man from the North, Cash says, who wrote such great things about the South. The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1976, which originally aired December 6, 1976, on CBS, also features special guests Roy Clark, Merle Travis, Barbara Mandrell, and Billy Graham.
The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1977 includes an all-star tribute to Elvis Presley, who had passed away two months prior. Taped at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House, fellow Sun Records labelmates and rockabilly pioneers Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison join Cash on This Train Is Bound For Glory in memory of Presley, whose affinity for such sacred music was well known. In addition to a selection of Christmas songs, many hit singles are performed on this special, including Perkins's Blue Suede Shoes, Orbison's Oh, Pretty Woman, and Lewis's 1957 Sun smash Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On. Cash goes on to recall a life-changing holiday season he experienced while stationed in Germany in the early 1950s.
I was lonesome, homesick and had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, he explains. But one day I walked four miles through the snow to a little pawn shop where there was a guitar in the window with a five-dollar price tag.