Tag Archives: Louis Armstrong

50 Years Ago on the Johnny Cash Show: Louis Armstrong, Kenny Rogers

The sixth episode of the final season of the Johnny Cash Show aired 50 years ago today on October 28, 1970, from Music City USA, Nashville, Tennessee. It featured guests Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and the great Louis Armstrong along with the usual regulars: June Carter and the Carter Family, the Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins, and the Tennessee Three.

Unfortunately, this is another episode that has not aired on GetTV. We can derive how the show went down based on the detailed notes from the Country Music Hall of Fame and some help from the friendly uploaders of YouTube.

The best part about this episode, of course, is Louis Armstrong. We wrote about this before, inspired by a great article in the Oxford American by Charles Wolfe in 2007. Armstrong and Cash cover Jimmie Rodgers’s “Blue Yodel #9,” which Rodgers first recorded forty years earlier, in 1930, with none other than Louis Armstrong on trumpet. You can see how excited Cash is to play it with him.

So here we are 90 years after the original recording, watching a fifty year old performance of a historical summit of American genres.

• Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire”

Tennessee Ernie Ford, June Carter and Johnny Cash – “Nobody’s Business By My Own”

First Edition “Heed the Call”

Louis Armstrong – “Crystal Chandeliers” / “Ramblin’ Rose”

Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash – “Blue Yodel No. 9”

• Johnny Cash – Come Along and Ride This Train: Outlaws

Tennessee Ernie Ford – “Nine Pound Hammer”

• Johnny Cash – “Children Go Where I Send Thee”

Tennessee Ernie Ford and ensemble – “I’ll Have a New Life”

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Louis Armstrong on the Johnny Cash Show

I read about this 1970 clip in the most recent music issue of the Oxford American in a great article by Charles Wolfe called Country Music in Black and White:

Then Cash himself, cracking a rare grin, moved in and sat and talked with him about Jimmie Rodgers, one of Cash’s heroes. Yes, Satchmo remembered backing him on “Blue Yodel No. 9,” and yes, it would be fun to try to recreate it. So with Cash playing Rodgers and Armstrong playing—well, himself—the pair brought the audience back to 1930. Cash and Armstrong swapped choruses on the old blues standard—Cash doing a swaggering vocal, Armstrong playing a dynamic, elegant series of trumpet breaks, in spite of the fact that his doctors in New York had told him to stop playing for good.

In a sense, this was one of those unique cultural cusps that seems to occur only in American music—the kind that gave rise to Western swing, rock & roll, and rhythm & blues, one of the better nights at the Ryman, a place, Lord knows, that has seen its share.

I finally got around to searching for it, and of course it’s up on YouTube (thanks to user opurkert). Check out this amazing historical artifact after the jump…

Continue reading Louis Armstrong on the Johnny Cash Show