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Cash and 'Easy Rider' Hopper Print-ready version

New Musical Express
October 17, 1970
Original article: PDF

Johnny Cash looked extremely fit and dapper in his frock coat and blue ruffled shirt. "I've never felt better in all my life," said Johnny at the season's first taping of The Johnny Cash Show at the Opryhouse.

"I've been runnin' around tourin' and all, but I've got rested up . . . and I stopped smoking too, which is kinda hard to do if you've been smokin' since you're twelve years old. But I'm ready and rarin' to go!"

So was Carl Perkins, dancing and picking his famous "Blue Suede Shoes." Also on hand with Johnny was Mother Maybelle and the great Carter family along with Cash's beautiful wife, June Carter.

After the show, Dennis "Easy Rider" Hopper brought guitars, Cash's producer Stan Jacobson, Joni Mitchell, and an array of music personalities to a Spanish restaurant for a mellifluous eve of drink and song.

In levi jacket, jeans and boots, Hopper - like an easy going director - kept the party hoping . . . first by giving the guitar to Bucky Wilkin (who with Kris Kristopherson [sic] wrote the score for Hoppers' new Peruvian flick "The Last Movie") and Bucky sang a song from his new Liberty release.

Hopper then asked Chris Gantry to sing "Pentagon By-gone" from Chris's Monument LP - a song inspired by Hopper's last film with Peter Fonda. More sangria and scotchs [sic] served, the guitar moved to Hopper's lovely old lady, Mamma Michelle Phillips, and we all joined her in another Kristopherson classic, "Me and Bobby McGhee." [sic] Jumping up from his table applauding, Hopper thrust the guitar merrily into the hands of writer/singer Mickey Newberry ("Condition My Condition Is In") who played and sang "23rd of August" in a lonesome voice.

It was now three in the morning. Hopper stood up and warmly thanked two people not present for bringing us all together -- Kris Kristopherson and Johnny Cash . . . and then he passed the guitar down the L-shaped table to miss lady-Donnovan[sic], Joni Mitchell, whose dulcimer and feminine aura earlier on the Cash show completely captivated her audience when she sang her newly written single, "California."

At the party, in her pure, sweet voice, Joni sang about her old man, a rock and roll star who sings in the park . . . and so the night went until dawn when all shouted for Hopper himself to sing, but he declined laughing, "Come on - I don't even sing in the shower."

Dennis did, however, sing with Cash earlier. "That was the first time I've ever sung." Dennis declared. "and the first time I was ever nervous. I mean you can understand - singing with my all-time hero, Johnny, really man!"

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