Wednesday, October 11, 2006

115. Johnny Cash - Live At Folsom Prison (1968)

Track Listing

1. Folsom Prison Blues
2. Busted*
3. Dark As The Dungeon
4. I Still Miss Someone
5. Cocaine Blues
6. 25 Minutes To Go
7. Orange Blossom Special
8. The Long Black Veil
9. Send A Picture Of Mother
10. The Wall
11. Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog
12. Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart
13. Joe Bean*
14. Jackson (with June Carter)
15. Give My Love To Rose (with June Carter)
16. I Got Stripes
17. The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer*
18. Green, Green Grass Of Home
19. Greystone Chapel

(* not part of original album, but part of the restored full concert CD)


This has been a good crop in the last few days. Three great artists in three days and all in very different registers. Cash is not behind Cohen or Hendrix in his own style, and this is probably one of his best albums. The live performance at Folsom prison is at the same time very funny, very harrowing, very good and very exciting.

There probably is no greater interpreter of country music than Johnny Cash, and here you get that. You also get his empathy for his audience and the way in which he feeds of their excitement in order to feed it back to the audience. His choice of songs is inspired, probably not the most PC songs to play at a jail, but the perfect ones to get the crowd going.

From the beggining with "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" jumping onto Folsom Prison Blues the album never lets down. And that is why the CD restored version is better than the 1968 release, with the addition of three tracks you get the full concert. Johnny Cash is a God, he was so here and after a lull in his career was a God again with American Recordings. And from this album it is not hard to see why this Country singer from Arkansas became such an alternative music phenomenon. His themes, and his delivery are simply amazing, the sparseness of his arrangements ditto. And the band plays an important part here, in some of the previous Country albums reviewed here the intrumentation is overly baroque, this is perfect. Buy it at Amazon UK or US, or stream it from Napster.

Track Highlights

1. Folsom Prison Blues
2. Cocaine Blues
3. Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart
4. The Long Black Veil

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

From his early days as a pioneer of rockabilly and rock and roll in the 1950s, to his decades as an international representative of country music, to his resurgence to fame as both a living legend and an alternative country icon in the 1990s, Cash has influenced countless artists and left a body of work matched only by the greatest artists of his time. Upon his death, Cash was revered by many of the greatest popular musicians of his time.

But he was also valued outside his genre. According to the (extensive) liner notes for Unearthed:

Cash, to his amusement had been declared "The Godfather of Gangsta Rap." Bob Johnston, Johnny's old friend and legendary producer who also came by to visit, recalls "one of the rap guys telling me, 'You're talking about us being bad? I grew up on Johnny Cash singing 'I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die!'"

Cash nurtured and defended artists on the fringes of what was acceptable in country music, even while serving as the country music establishment's most visible symbol. At an all-star concert in 1999, a diverse group of artists paid him tribute, including Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak, Wyclef Jean, Norah Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and U2. Two tribute albums were released shortly before his death; Kindred Spirits contains works from established artists, while Dressed In Black contains works from many lesser-known artists.

In total, he wrote over a thousand songs and released dozens of albums, a box set, titled Unearthed, was issued posthumously. It included four CDs of unreleased material recorded with Rubin, as well as a "Best of Cash on American" retrospective CD.

In recognition of his lifelong support of SOS Children's Villages, his family invited friends and fans to donate to that charity in his memory. He had a personal link with the SOS village in Diessen, at the Ammersee-Lake in Southern Germany, near where he was stationed as a GI, and also with the SOS village in Barrett Town, by Montego Bay near his holiday home in Jamaica.

In tribute of Cash's passing, country music superstar Gary Allan included the song Nickajack Cave (Johnny Cash's Redemption) on his 2005 album entitled Tough All Over. The song chronicles Cash hitting rock bottom, and subsequently resurrecting his life and career.

For a period of time, there was a museum called the "House of Cash", but it is no longer in operation. Highway 31E, Hendersonville's Main Street, is known as "Johnny Cash Parkway".

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