Ray Charles covers Johnny Cash

Here is Ray Charles doing a fantastic cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." It's from The Johnny Cash Show, a variety show that aired from 1969 to 1971. Other guests included Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, and Louis Armstrong. "The Best of the Johnny Cash Show" is available as a two-disc DVD. (Thanks, Gabe Adiv!)


  1. You’d think they’d up the piano in the mix a wee bit more? I can hardly hear him playing!

  2. I reviewed a couple of these discs a while ago (1978 and 1979) and I’m afraid they are pretty shoddy discs. I understand that the source material might not be up to much but the ’79 disc has really bad video glitches with no warning about the quality given on the packaging. Sound isn’t too bad though. Strangely, given the history of the shows, and the fact that they are put out by Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, they are bereft of extras. Hard to recommend unless you are a die-hard Cash collector.

  3. That’s funny, JT. I’ve watched this clip many times, but I never noticed you couldn’t hear the piano. It’s really all about that slinky guitar, and a little later, the organ. And don’t you just love the set design? So groovy.

  4. And…. I take it all back! The discs I saw were the complete show discs, one for each year, rather than the best of. A pity this one is missing the Andy Kaufman stuff – he did a pretty amazing Elvis in the ’79 show. I hope they worked on the video a bit more this time.

  5. To give due credit, Ray is covering ‘Ring of Fire’ by June Carter (wife of Cash) and Merle Kilgore, originally recorded by Anita Carter, and made hugely popular soon afterward by Johny Cash.

    I like Dwight Yoakam’s version from his first album, too – you either love or hate that voice.

  6. Out in front,there should always be a man in black….

    to remind them of the ones held back, the sick, the old, and the prisoners…

  7. Joni Mitchell was a guest, and they did some old Canadian folk song. Johnny kind of made it sound like Joni was from strange exotic foreign land.

  8. If you watch from about 2:20 – 2:35 you will clearly see that this is not a live performance.
    Milli Vanilli FTW!

  9. This song has been in regular rotation at my house for years. Ray Charles makes this the sexiest goddamn song ever.

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