Derek + the Dominos Play The Johnny Cash Show

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Carl Perkins and "Derek" performing "Matchbox" on The Johnny Cash Show

Carl Perkins and “Derek” performing “Matchbox” on The Johnny Cash Show

We’re always on the lookout for great candidates for our Classic Video section… particularly clips that we weren’t previously aware of from some of the all-time greats. While doing research for another story, we stumbled upon a clip of Derek and the Dominos performing on the U.S. TV series, The Johnny Cash Show.

The legend’s variety program started as a ABC TV summer replacement series in June 1969 and ultimately ran for 58 episodes, ending in March 1971. During its run, Cash‘s musical guests included such classic rock figures as Linda Ronstadt, Gordon Lightfoot, The Monkees, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Ray Charles, among many others. Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were guests on the very first episode. Cash began each episode with his familiar “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”

Derek and the Dominos released what would be their lone studio album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in November 1970. On a U.S. tour to promote the ambitious 2-LP set, they taped an appearance on the Cash show and performed “It’s Too Late,” an unlikely choice given that it wasn’t a single. (It was a cover of a song by the blues musician Chuck Willis.)

In the episode that originally ran on January 6, 1971, Cash introduces the number: “Hey, if you detect some country blues pickin’ in the song you’re about to hear, you’re right. Played by one of the finest musical groups in the world…”

As they finish the performance, Cash comes onstage for a brief interview about the blues with “Derek.” They’re then joined by none other than Carl Perkins for a riveting performance of Perkins’ “Matchbox.” The smile on the 25-year-old Clapton’s face says it all.

Our Classic Video features Bobby Whitlock on keyboards, Jim Gordon on drums, Carl Radle on bass and Eric Clapton on guitar with two legendary figures of country music.

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In 1971, the networks abruptly cancelled many of their rural-oriented shows – among them CBS’ Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies – even though many were still riding high in the ratings. The Johnny Cash Show was among the victims.

Cash was born on February 26, 1932. He died on September 12, 2003 at age 71.

Related: Our interview with the Dominos’ Bobby Whitlock

Best Classic Bands Staff

Best Classic Bands Staff

The BCB team brings you the latest Breaking News, Contests, On This Day rock history stories, Classic Videos, retro-Charts and more.
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