‘Any Old Wind That Blows’ was the title of Johnny Cash’s 44th album released in 1973, and it takes on the title of this live radio broadcast in 1986. There’s little information on this recording in the liner notes, but the show was recorded at the Wembley Country Festival in London on March 31, 1986.
The 1980s were particularly hard for Cash. His popularity from the early years had faded and of the six albums he recorded in that decade only two of them, 1981’s ‘The Baron (No. 24) and 1987’s Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town (No. 36), made the country charts. But that didn’t stop the Man in Black from touring to play for his fans, especially overseas where he was still in high demand.
This 20-song set sounds spectacular for a radio broadcast as Cash opens the night with three hits back to back to back: “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and Kris Kristofferson classic “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Cash plays the hits, a few new songs, and a couple rarities on the night. There is a touching dedication to his father Ray, who had recently passed, when he plays “These Hands,” and there is a bit of comedy when Waylon Jennings comes out to join Cash for “The Highwayman.”
Midway through the show is where the lesser known songs like “Fairweather Friends” and “Forty Shades of Green” take place, then they slide into a memorable version of “Ghost Riders in The Sky.” Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash comes out for the remainder of the set, singing a pair of lovely duets—the Tim Hardin-penned “If I Were a Carpenter” and “Jackson.” She takes the lead on “Wabash Cannonball” and plays the autoharp on the instrumental “San Antonio Rose.” The entire Carter family comes out for the Appalachian hymn “Foggy Mountain” and Cash sings lead with the Carter Family backing on “Thing Called Love.”
There are many highlights on ‘Any Old Wind That Blows: Live in Concert 1986,’ but one of the best is how gracious Cash is to his backing band. Nearly every time one of the members has a solo he will introduce them before they play. And play they do. The band, along with Cash, sound flawless here, and the crowd appreciates it. They run through a strong set of songs without missing a beat.