Man In Black: Live In Denmark 1971
Columbia Legacy 2016
Review by David Bowling
Johnny Cash is one of the corner stones of American country music. From his early days with the legendary Sun label until his death close to five decades later, he was a pillar of country music and a part of American culture.
He had a popular television show and his tours the last 30 years of his life reflected the format of that show. His concerts consisted of his solo songs interspersed among performances by his guests.
A number of Cash concerts have been released since his death. Man In Black: Live In Denmark was issued in 2006 as a DVD. Now it comes to CD for the first time.
It is a representative Johnny Cash concert, which makes it so enjoyable. There are no special bells and whistles; just a musician plying his craft.
Cash performs a number of his most recognizable hits including “A Boy Named Sue,” “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “I Walk The Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “and “Man In Black,” which are all presented traditionally. Cash was a straight forward performer with little improvisation but if you want the hit versions of songs, then Cash is a performer for you.
Carl Perkins was the lead guitarist for Cash’s road bands for decades and always performed a few songs. Here it is his old Sun hits “Blue Suede Shows” and “Match Box.” His approach is perfunctionary but the songs are classics.
The Statler Brothers perform “Bed Of Roses” and “Flowers On The Wall,” Again, there is nothing spectacular but just a presentation of the familiar. Three duets with his wife June, including their hit “If I Were A Carpenter,” and then the whole Carter Family bring a personal touch to the concert. The concert ends with all the performers taking the stage. They have a gospel feel including an emotional traditional “Rock Of Ages.”
Man In Black” Live In Denmark 1971 is a performance frozen in time. It is one of thousands of typical performances by an extraordinary musician.