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 joined Derek and the Dominos to perform “Matchbox” on The Johnny Cash Show

We’re always on the lookout for great candidates for our Classic Videos 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.

Perkins was born April 9, 1932. He died at age 65 on January 19, 1998.

Clapton has many concerts planned, with tickets available here and here. The Layla album received a deluxe anniversary edition in 2020.

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

10 Comments so far

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  1. Mike L
    #1 Mike L 7 January, 2018, 01:15

    Wow…that’s really such a gem of a video. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply this comment
  2. Michael P.
    #2 Michael P. 6 January, 2020, 13:31

    Now THAT is a mood lifter! Great guitar solos all around.

    Reply this comment
    • Cosmo
      Cosmo 7 January, 2020, 03:29

      Classic, enjoyed that so much. They have so much respect for one another. Brilliant.

      Reply this comment
  3. Waranga
    #3 Waranga 7 January, 2020, 11:07

    That was so good especially the jam at the end

    Reply this comment
    • LowPlainsGrifter
      LowPlainsGrifter 7 January, 2024, 04:07

      Wow! Words escape me on this one.
      Wonderful to see this,
      and that goes for
      “It’s too late” also.
      The film looks fantastic,
      they all look and sound great…

      Reply this comment
  4. PaulD
    #4 PaulD 28 February, 2020, 17:37

    Wonder what Eric was talking to Carl about after song was over. Apparently something about the arrangement maybe?

    Reply this comment
  5. David Willis
    #5 David Willis 7 January, 2021, 13:54

    I recently saw this on that TV station Get TV which shows old series. They have the Johnny Cash Show and it’s exciting to see these performers back then.

    Reply this comment
    • Helene
      Helene 16 January, 2021, 23:07

      David, yes, it’s on tonight’s GetTv second hour show. I watch this show weekly with my father.

      Reply this comment
  6. Bluestime
    #6 Bluestime 7 January, 2024, 00:35

    Derek and the Dominoes without Duane Allman.

    Reply this comment
  7. BMac
    #7 BMac 8 January, 2024, 12:53

    What a great video, and great quality on it, too. And yes, I was kind of wondering how far back Carl Perkins’ toupee went, and now I know the answer is at LEAST to early 1971.

    Reply this comment

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