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  • Johnny Cash - Ridin' the Rails: The Great American Train Story
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Johnny Cash - Ridin' the Rails: The Great American Train Story


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Editorial Reviews

Originally filmed and aired in 1974, Ridin' the Rails is a nostalgic look at the history of the American railroad through the song and story of the legendary Johnny Cash. Reenactments of historic railroading moments are movingly narrated by Cash and superbyly embellished by his inimitable music. Track Listings: Ridin' The Rails, Tom Thum, Collage of Yesterday, Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Legend of John Henry's Hammer, Shave And A Hot Bath, Train Robbers, Satirical Aire, Casey Jones, Crystal Chandeliers and Burgundy, Doesn't Anybody Know My Name, City of New Orleans, The L&N Don't Stop Here, Anymore, These Hands

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Cash
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rhino
  • DVD Release Date: June 7, 2005
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007PLL1A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,539 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By The Delite Rancher VINE VOICE on October 9, 2005
Format: DVD
In "Ridin' the Rails: The Great American Train Story," Johnny Cash tells the story of America's railroads doing what he does best. Cash fans will revel in the music and anyone with a general interest in history will appreciate the documental aspects. Indeed, the film is not intended for railroad buffs, but rather to introduce the allure and significance of trains to the uninitiated. The program is mostly composed of historical reenactments, with Johnny Cash narrating and singing songs that commemorate the ethos. The production is surprisingly good for something from 1974 and holds up well when compared to today's made-for-PBS type programs. Considering that cheesy symphony orchestras ruined most Country sounds of the day, the music of "Ridin' the Rails" has held up well. Cash keeps most of the songs stripped down to solo acoustic and therefore the music will always be timeless Americana. The DVD's picture quality is much cleaner when compared to the original and it features outtakes. As song writing imagery, Cash has always employed trains - just listen to Folsom Prison Blues. In "Ridin' the Rails," the viewer gets into the mind of Cash to appreciate on his level, what he loved about railroads. It is in this regard that "Ridin' the Rails" is not just a railroad documentary but a means to better understand and appreciate 'the Man in Black.'
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James J. Gorski on October 26, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ridin' the Rails: The Great American Train Story is vintage Cash at his best. Includes great footage of great railroad lines that have disappeared from the American landscape. Evokes memories of the heyday of the railroads and vintage Americana, long before the internet and cell phone. A time when the railroad was the fabric that kept this country together. Johnny sings from the heart and soul when singing about the great railroad lines of times past.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bt on April 20, 2005
Format: DVD
This 1974 T.V. program is an interesting look at life on the rails. As the previous reviewer stated, this disc is certainly worth purchasing. The re-enactments are not cheesy, and Johnny brings an element to this topic that you won't see anywhere else. Whether you're a fan of Johnny Cash, or the railroad, it's a must. The issue right now has Rhino working with the Cash family estate trying to work out a deal to release this. Apparently, both sides want this done, & the aim right now is a June 7/2005 target date. Whether that happens remains to be seen.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul L. Kalka on August 11, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rhino deserves two thumbs up for reissuing this excellent video on DVD. Johnny Cash is at his peak in this historically accurate depiction of American rail. A perfect combination for both railfans and music aficionados.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By WILLIAM H FULLER on June 20, 2005
Format: DVD
Before the advent of computers, before typewriters, before printing presses, and before history textbooks in the hands of classroom pedants, the story of a culture was passed along from generation to generation orally, either in the form of tales or in the lyrics of epic poetry. Set to music, of course, poetry becomes song. It is this timeless tradition of passing a people's history to succeeding generations by story and song that underlies the fascination, effectiveness, and appeal of "Ridin' the Rails."

This recording is itself historical and also addresses the cultural history of railroading in a nation. As a singer, Cash has been described as having created his own genre, so we cannot pigeonhole him in any particular category other than his own. Nevertheless, I'm willing to edge out on that limb and call Cash a folksigner, and I'm willing to call this collection of railroad songs folk as well, although, like Cash himself, the collection defies neat categorization. Whatever we call it, however, this collection conveys something of the inestimable impact that railroads have had on the history, the economic development, the culture, the technological development, and, yes, the spirit of our nation and her people.

Anyone who proclaims an interest in American cultural history, in balladry, in the oral tradition of teaching, in Johnny Cash's music, or in railroading is bound to enjoy "Ridin' the Rails." It deserves a place in everyone's collection of Americana. And, when it's on that shelf instead of in our DVD players, its presence will help remind us of what a great balladeer was lost when Johnny Cash passed from this earth.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cuthbert J. Twiddle on July 16, 2005
Format: DVD
Johnny Cash loved the railroads and songs of the railroads. These are some of the best train songs ever written as only Johnny Cash can perform them. I loved this program when it was first syndicated to TV stations in 1974. I recorded it on my Betamax and later bought the Sony Beta commercial release and almost wore it out. It's been out of print in video for years and this new DVD release is most welcome. The color is much richer than on any prior version, even though it was apparently shot on high speed (grainy) 16mm film. The sound has also been substantially improved. If you love Cash and/or trains, this one is for you! Come along and ride this train!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Howard Wolkow on May 3, 2005
Format: DVD
What a delight! Just got a copy of this from Netflix! Wow, does this bring back memories!!! As a child my father made a tape recording of the audio from this show and we would listen to it again and again...

Johnny Cash brings to musical life the rise and fall of the American Railroad Experience. Each vigniette is framed by the Man in Black singing his own classics like, "John Henry" and (of course) "Ridin' The Rails" and covers such as "The Night We Drove Old Dixie Down" and "City of New Orleans" At over 30 years old, it's pacing feels a bit strange and rushed compared to modern documentataries - but viewed as an extended music video, it is great fun.

Can't wait for Amazon to have it in stock and own a copy.
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