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From the liner notes:
THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT offers singer-guitarist-composer Johnny Cash in a special kind of holiday album. Of course, Johnny has included traditional carols that sing of this Season of Season’s wonder, awe and promise of hope. But most of the songs in the collection are by Johnny himself and are concerned with giving — in the worshipful spirit that the Wise Men and shepherds felt long ago when they offered gifts to a Being they somehow knew was greater than themselves. “Christmas As I Knew It” tells us how as a youngster Johnny and his family helped celebrate their holiday in Dyess, Arkansas, by a simple but sincere act of good will toward across the-road neighbors. The Cash family, although disappointed by a failing cotton crop, felt blessed that they had one another, good health — and enough to share with others less fortunate than they.
“The Little Drummer Boy” and such Johnny Cash originals as “Ringing the Bells for Jim,” “We Are the Shepherds,” and “Who Kept the Sheep,” all capture the spirit of giving, whether it be the drummer boy’s humbling offering to the Child, the shepherds’ gift of a candle to light His stable, of God’s gift of protection to the shepherds’ abandoned flocks. Johnny concludes his album with a musical setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver.”
Christmas is a time when everyone enjoys hearing songs of joy and inspiration. THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT is Johnny Cash’s personal offering, in words and music.