The time Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash duetted with a Bob Dylan classic on TV

22 June 2021, 13:46

Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash
Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash. Picture: Getty/ Screen Gems

By Mayer Nissim

Joni Mitchell was a regular guest on The Johnny Cash Show and this was maybe her finest moment on it.

Joni Mitchell's classic Blue turns 50 today (June 22, 2021), which has had us revisiting her classic late 1960s and early 1970s era.

As well as releasing a clutch of perfect albums and performing live around the world, Joni also found the time to make not one, not two, but THREE performances on The Johnny Cash Show.

She appeared on the first episode on June 7, 1969, and impressed so much that Johnny invited her back the following month, and again for a performance on the second (and last) season, on October 7, 1970.

It was on that final appearance that she and Johnny duetted on one of Bob Dylan's most tender songs, 'Girl From The North Country'.

The song was originally written by Bob Dylan, of course, and first featured on his second studio album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in 1963.

Dylan re-recorded the song as a duet with Johnny Cash a few years later, and that version kicked off Dylan's 1969 country rock album Nashville Skyline.

Joni Mitchell in 1970
Joni Mitchell in 1970. Picture: Getty

To mark the 50th anniversary of Blue, The Joni Mitchell Archives have released some special demos and outtakes from the album.

Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes) features five special versions of songs that were recorded during the sessions for the album.

  1. A Case Of You (Demo)
  2. California (Demo)
  3. Hunter (Outtake)
  4. River (Outtake with French Horns)
  5. Urge For Going (Outtake with Strings)

You can hear them all now on Spotify, or below via YouTube.

The songs will also be included in the massive Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) box set, which is made up of nearly six hours of unreleased home, studio and live music leading up to the release of Blue.

It will be released digitally, as a 5CD and 10LP collection on October 29.

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