Soundtrack Of A Photograph, The Christmas Editions, Part 12

Song- That Christmasy Feeling

Artist- Tommy and Johnny Cash

A few weeks ago my wife asked me if I remembered those old variety shows and specials that used to be on TV back in the 1970’s and 80’s. Though most of them would be a little painful to watch these days in terms of the kitsch factor, with glittery costumes and sets decorated to look like a cozy home and guest stars who were hot commodities at that moment but who soon faded into obscurity, it would be easy to dismiss them completely as cringe inducing. However, in between the bad jokes and glitz, there was some actual great music on display sometimes. When I was thinking about those variety shows a few weeks ago, my mind drifted back to some that I remember seeing in passing, or at least remembered them being advertised back in the days when there were only four or five channels on TV. Of course one such performer who had his own variety show, and several specials back in the day was Johnny Cash.

In my regular blogs, I have discussed Johnny Cash and trains (Part 11) and Rosanne Cash’s The River And The Thread album (part 13) earlier this year. I had a feeling that I would be touching on the Cash family one more time this year as part of these Christmas blogs, because included in that Columbia Records box set of Johnny Cash I bought earlier this year were three Christmas albums by Johnny- 1963’s The Christmas Spirit, 1972’s The Johnny Cash Family Christmas, and 1980’s Classic Christmas. They are all slightly different in approach, but the one I have been playing more of is the Family Christmas album, in part because I think it reminds me of those variety shows. A whole cast of characters is present sitting around and swapping stories and recollections of Christmas interspersed with songs. The Tennessee Three, The Carter Family, Carl Perkins, Tommy Cash and of course Johnny and June. Everyone gets a turn telling a story, and they are equally funny and heartwarming to hear. One of the songs on that album is That Chrstmasy Feeling which was co-written by Tommy Cash and sung by him and his older brother Johnny. A few years later in 1976, they performed the song again on the Johnny Cash & Family Christmas show. Though there were some of those hokey moments on this show (Johnny Cash and….Tony Orlando?), there was also Barbara Mandrell showcasing how good she is on the lap steel and Merle Travis doing some fine guitar picking, along with The Carter Family harmonizing the same way they had been doing for decades before. I think my favorite clip however is this one, with older and younger brothers singing together. Though overshadowed by his more famous brother, Tommy Cash wrote some great songs over the years, and is still out there playing to this very day.

That Christmasy Feeling is a song that may not sound memorable the first time you hear it. But playing it again yesterday I realized why I wanted to include it today. Just like with the stockings I discussed yesterday, and the decorations, everyone does things differently this time of year. Though the Christmas season does in fact seem to come earlier and earlier each year, I don’t feel like it is Christmas until our own apartment is decorated for it. Garlands and candles, wreaths and the nativity, Nutcracker figurines and Advent calendars, white branches and Christmas card holders, not to mention the tree with all the lights and ornaments. Until all of those are in place it only feels “sort of” like Christmas to me. So the other night after my wife and I decorated the tree I took this photo of the little room where we hang our stockings, and have the tree standing (all of which necessitate careful maneuvering around) I finally felt a true sense of it being Christmas and could say I had “That Christmasy Feeling.” Now if anyone can figure out how to get a TV crew and cameras in to that tiny space we can do our own Christmas variety special to complete the mood, replete with bad jokes, glittery costumes and questionable guest stars. Tommy Cash singing this song will be very welcome to join in!


That Christmasy Feeling-Written by Tommy Cash and Jimmy Peppers

All photographs by Robert P Doyle All images in this blog are available in limited supply for purchase as unframed prints. Sizes may vary. Contact via for details.

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