Between 1969 and 1971, Johnny Cash was the host of a weekly television series where he presented some of the most notable figures in American popular music, and Sony/BMG's Legacy imprint has finally made highlights from the show's archives available on DVD. Legacy has released two versions of The Best Of The Johnny Cash TV Show on DVD; the two-disc "Deluxe Edition" features narration by Will Lyman, reminiscences from host Kris Kristofferson and interviews with friends, family members and colleagues who talk about Cash on disc one along with musical highlights from the show, while disc two simply presents material from the show's archives (though the order of the selections makes both discs decidedly different from the single DVD edition of this package that's also available). The images have been transferred to disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and while the passage of time has not always been kind to the archival video, the image is generally sharp and always colorful, and looks as good as one would expect from the period. The audio has been remixed for this release in both PCM Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1, and while the source tapes once again show their age on occasion (especially on Creedence Clearwater Revival's run through "Bad Moon Rising"), the new audio is surprisingly crisp and present on this disc, and given the rarity of these performances, which include Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe and many other acts rarely seen on television, the fact they're available at all is a reason to celebrate, let alone in good to excellent quality. The interviews and performances are in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options. The "Deluxe Edition" includes a booklet with rare photos and an essay on the show by Rich Kienzle and archival press coverage of the series, as well as forty-two performances that don't appear on the single-disc edition. This package is a treasure trove of great songs presented by one of the truly great figures of American music, and while the narration sometimes goes a bit overboard in making a case for the importance of The Johnny Cash Show, watching this set makes clear this was a very special moment in television history which has thankfully been preserved on DVD at last.
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