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JOHNNY CASH, "AT FULSOM PRISON"

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The Man in Black ... back when he was a real bad ass. "At Folsom Prison" was recorded on January 13, 1968 and originally released later that year, then again on CD in 1996 coupled with the '69 "San Quentin" live album.
The Man in Black ... back when he was a real bad ass. "At Folsom Prison" was recorded on January 13, 1968 and originally released later that year, then again on CD in 1996 coupled with the '69 "San Quentin" live album. A quick, possibly little known fact: Cash was so big by the fall of '69 those two albums were outselling the Beatles at around 250,000 copies per month. This re-release gives "Folsom" the royal treatment it deserves: 20-bit digitally remastering, restored and uncensored original song order with 3 previously unreleased bonus tracks and a nice new booklet. Cash is backed here by the Tennessee Three (including Carl "Blue Suede Shoes" Perkins), the Statler Brothers and wife June Carter on a few numbers. The sound is the classic Cash two-beat in varying tempos and moods with a few by Cash solo. It's not really country music persay but more a blend of American roots, folk and gospel musics. And of course there's the one and only haunting baritone that deeply resonates throughout the hall. The 19 song set list is custom made for the captive (haha) audience of 2000 with serious and humorous songs filled with tales of prison, drugs, crime, murder, death, mother, love, hope and spirituality. There is an amazing tension in the air but Cash distills it with his songs and talk in-between and during songs. The prisoners loved it and so do I.
The 24 page booklet is nicely done with the original "Folsom Prison Blues" letter by Cash, brief liner notes by Cash and Steve Earle and numerous photos from throughout the day of the show. What's really interesting for me is listening to this album and looking at the pictures to get a small sense of what it was like to be there. If you've never given this sort of music a real try, "At Folsom Prison" is one of the best possible places to start. Cash is currently working with Rick Rubin on his 4th album for American Records due out later this spring ...

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Last Updated on Friday, 15 July 2005 12:50  


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