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Staying tuned in

October 20, 2002|Robert Hilburn

Nothing has underscored Johnny Cash's role in raising the artistic aspirations of country music more than his national TV show, which ran from 1969 to 1971 on ABC. Rather than load the program with mainstream faces, Cash recruited performers he admired regardless of field. His first guests: Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Later guests ranged from Neil Young and Ray Charles to Merle Haggard and Odetta. Cash has never lost this adventurism. If the TV show were back, the first guests might be Bono and Beck.

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