The Johnny Cash Infocenter is proud to bring the demo recording of Johnny Cash singing Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Name to all the Animals” to the light. The song originally appeared on the gospel-flavored 1978 Dylan album, Slow Train Coming. Johnny Cash recorded it for his 1981 CBS Christmas television special. While the version of the song featured in the Christmas special has surfaced on the internet, the demo recording presented has yet to be official unearthed. The program it was intended for, titled “Christmas in Scotland,” filmed Johnny Cash with his son John Carter-Cash walking around a zoo, and as the song played, elder Cash pointed out different animals.
The demo session took place on September 30, 1981 at Columbia’s Studio A in Nashville. Bill Walker produced. These are the actual Columbia safety reels - dubbed straight from the 2-inch master tapes. As you can see in the pictures, they are Ampex tapes and they did suffer from “sticky tape syndrome”. Ampex tapes in the late 70s and early 80s were prone to absorb humidity from the air, so part of the binder would stick to the tape heads when played. To fix the problem the tapes are dried in a sort of oven for many hours to remove the humidity, and can then be played without damaging the tapes.
There were probably three tapes altogether, but tape number one was given to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Tapes two and three are within close reach of The Infocenter. The tapes were transferred by a professional sound studio. The tapes came from Bill Walker’s personal file.
Vocals: Johnny Cash
Backing Vocals: Possibly June Carter-Cash, John Carter-Cash, Carlene Carter.
Musical Director: Bill Walker
Remaining musicians unknown