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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A legendary album is now twice as great with bonus tracks
The 1969 live album "At San Quentin" is unquestionably the definitive recording of Johnny Cash during his "wild" years, although I have to admit a personal preference for the songs and performances captured the year before on "At Folsom Prison." That album had made Cash a recognizable star even to people who did not listen to Country music and "At San Quentin" catapulted...
Published on 16 Sep 2003 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear!!!
I think this album does the legend that is Johnny cash little credit. Too much clapping and cheering and talking, not enough of one of the greatest singers that ever was.

Just my opinion for what it's worth.

Die hard Johnny fans must own it all the same as I do. The casual listener should stick to his other releases which includes the Folsom Prison...
Published on 17 May 2011 by Keiran McAllister


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A legendary album is now twice as great with bonus tracks, 16 Sep 2003
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
The 1969 live album "At San Quentin" is unquestionably the definitive recording of Johnny Cash during his "wild" years, although I have to admit a personal preference for the songs and performances captured the year before on "At Folsom Prison." That album had made Cash a recognizable star even to people who did not listen to Country music and "At San Quentin" catapulted him to the highest level as a recording artist. What remains constant is Cash's ability to feed off of his captive audience. When he plays to these prisoners you do not doubt for a second that he is one of them, a larger than life outlaw, even though the only time he spent behind bars was in a drunk tank. Cash is clearly on the edge as he rips his way through jailhouse ballads ("Starkville City Jail," "San Quentin"), rockabilly songs ("Big River"), and old hits ("I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire"). But it is when Cash sings "A Boy Named Sue," a song written by Shel Silverstein, that he shows his absolutely mastery (the rest of us were just shocked by a hit record with a "bleep" on it).
This was a legendary album for decades and now this 2000 reissue literally doubles its length, from nine to eighteen tracks providing, as the cover proudly proclaims, the complete February 1969 concert. One of the "new" tracks is the other hit single that came off the album, "Daddy Sang Bass." But it is still totally amazing that you can take a definitive album by a major figure in modern American music and make it twice as long (imagine that being the case with any other great album from "Sgt. Pepper" to "Nevermind"; it blows your mind). There are a handful of albums that you should be checking out, if you do not already own them, to appreciate the Man in Black and his music and "At San Quentin" has to be one of the fingers you would tick off on the first hand you used. Johnny Cash, with his resonant baritone and distinctive sound, was one of the most imposing figures in country music in our lifetime and it is nice to know that when he died this past week that he was appreciated by even the most recent generation of music lovers.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A man called Johnny..., 13 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
It is hard to categorize Johnny Cash's music. Although Johnny Cash is often regarded as a country music artist, it needs to be said that about half of his chart music has been in the pop listings. "Johnny Cash At San Quentin" is The Man In Black at his best. Fully remastered, unedited and complete for the first time. Featuring 9 unreleased bonus tracks and a full colour booklet. The album features a wide range of different songs , from the hilarious "A Boy Named Sue" to the spiritual "Peace In The Valley". Many different feelings will flow through a person when listening to the different stories in each song and the way Johnny Cash interacts with the prison crowd. This album will appeal to almost anyone. "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" is a classic. An album that stood the test of time and will for many years to come. A must have!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Live Album, 10 Mar 2006
This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
Most people know about this album and rightly so, as Cash really delivers somthing special here. Throughout the recording not only does Cash perform his songs exactly as you would expect but his personality really shines as he banters with the prison inmates. It is clear from this album alone why Johnny Cash was so popular with all sorts of people. In between songs he jokes around, tells brief stories and, most importantly, connects with his audience. You can tell he has their full support all the way as they cheer and clap during just about every song.
Standout songs are Boy Named Sue, Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, the Closing Medley and of course San Quentin. The latter song being performed twice in a row to the request of the inmates who immediately love the song. You can feel the prison guards anxiety as the song causes the inmates to get lively to the lyrics cursing everything about the walls that hold them in.
If you have never heard much Cash before then this isnt a bad place to start as it has a few of his more famous tracks. If you have not heard Cash playing live then this is the perfect place to start. For me this is better than Folsom Prison, thugh that is mainly due to tracklisting. I would think most people would like some aspect of this album, you dont have to be a fan of country music in general (I am not) and nor do you have to know much about Johnny Cash. You never know, if this is your first taste you may end up being a Johnny Cash fan for life.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another in-mate success..., 13 Feb 2006
By 
Mr. J. WARE "wolvieware" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
If you own Cash's other, famous prison album at Folsom Prison, then this is a must. It follows the same kind of atmosphere as that - electric, lively and enjoyable.
San Quentin might be more enjoyable to the newer Cash fan thanks to its inclusion of more well known songs like Walk The Line and Ring of Fire.
But what was slightly disappointing is that, although his wife, June Carter, was there, the country duo didn't do a duet. Not a big negative, but it would have made this album stellar if they did.
Instead, you get plenty of Cash at his humourous best. He interacts with the crowd - you can hear them request for songs, and he sings them off the cuff - and provides witty banter between songs.
He showcases a couple of new songs, most notable A boy Named Sue, and even sings a song that a prison inmate had written. He even performs the song San Quentin twice, because it was so good the first time, the crowd wanted it again! Also great is the band sing-a-long finale medley, that was different and entertaining.
Especially funny was when his guitar wasn't in tune, and because this is the complete live concert, we listened to him chat to the inmates while we waited for it to be re-tuned.
In fact, this CD is so immersive, that you feel like you were there, and have to try and stop yourself from applauding after every song!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My first Cash album..., 2 July 2003
This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
This was my first Johnny Cash purchase, opting for it having heard others rave about it. I'm not a country music fan, and was familiar with classic Cash tracks only through the radio - but after Live at San Quentin things will never be the same again! I'm can't wait to get my hands on the debut "Johnny Cash and his Hot Blue Guitar" and I'm looking forward to a journey similar to my late discovery of the music of Elvis Presley. These are guys who stand in the background for fans of contemporary music like myself, but take it from me - forget the latest thing for a minute: like Elvis, Cash is well worth exploring!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be free, man, in your mind, 4 Sep 2011
By 
This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
Johnny Cash is a voice from along time ago for me, a voice I heard and enjoyed for the first time in North Carolina in the late 60s, yes after Woodstock that occupied my musical conscience a lot too. What attracts me, and many other people, in this music?

First it is the country style, and I should say his country style which is very distinctive by the voice and the systematic, too systematic some would say, opening chords. We can recognize his songs because of that trait. It is not in every song, for sure, but quite present.

Second the themes are often dealing with crime, outlaw-ness, prison, the death penalty, the loss of freedom and the dream of freedom. Of course his concerts in prisons are famous and the songs he wrote to these prisons are well-known but he sings in prisons and about prisons to celebrate freedom, a sort of compensation for the inmates, a sort of relief for the ex-con he may have been, the demonstration that no matter what a man is free everywhere, even where he is locked up and tied up and humiliated. Freedom is in the head and not in the hands and guns of judges that gavel things away and prison wardens that ring their sticks on all the bars of the gates.

The third interest is his singing about love. For him love is simple: I am yours and you are mine, hence I keep on the line. That means love is a way to live with someone else and to share duties and chores, to live under common choices and with common objectives. He does not elaborate on the subject more than that.

The fourth element is America and its rebellious history. It is amazing how he rewrites the history of the United States in that simple perspective that the constitution is to be improved all the time to keep the promise of a government from the people, for the people and by the people. At times he speaks like Obama spoke in his campaign. But he does not deal with the serious dramas of modern history that we know. These dramas were divisive and he looks for unity, the unity of the United States after Gettysburg.

Then he wrote some songs that were absolutely luminously brilliant and my favorite in that line is the Boy Named Sue. It portrays the relation between a father and a son in the most loving and moving terms. I think that it is probably one of the best songs ever written in the world about that subject, the recognition of the enormous debt a son has towards his father, and the acknowledgement of the tremendous responsibility a father has towards his son. And what's more this is contradictory and that contradiction is expressed entirely in a name. No love is lost here but there is a lot of love there anyway, but certainly not wasted.

The song about his ending up in prison because he was picking a dandelion flower after midnight in a city that had a curfew to prevent the roaming around of bad guys is also very funny and original, and yes I have experienced that in a small city in North Carolina. I did not end up in prison and with a ticket but I had to prove my identity because I was too close to some flowers in the street late at night.

That's what is most moving in Johnny Cash. He is speaking to us of a world that we have encountered, visited, liked and feared, disliked and jeered, and the night when I was more or less "kidnapped" for a few hours by some frantic students who pretended to be the Ku Klux Klan is one episode that goes in that direction: a deep love-fear relation with the deeper layers of the American society.

And yet I defended peace in Vietnam under Nixon, including in the press and no one ever said anything against the right to do so, even if they were in full disagreement with the content. My best recollection in that line is when I was asked, by a local newspaper, my opinion on Davis California in 1974 or so and I answered that I loved the extreme quiet working atmosphere of this campus city but that it was cut from the rest of the world like an intellectual ghetto. Some did not like the "ghetto".

That's what Johnny Cash is for me and He is not aging that much altogether.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent & expanded, 15 Mar 2010
This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
I remember the original television broadcast of this concert and we have the record. This is a very good CD with more material on it than the record. It conveys a real sense of occasion and all the favourites are included.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Rise Death Row Spirits. Amazing, Brilliant, Beautiful., 28 Feb 2012
By 
Laura Daly (Dublin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
Johnny goes into the famous San Quentin and makes one of the greatest albums ever. The Songs, the banter with the prisoners, the audience garbing some happiness and the haunting brilliant Cash is superb. He said and I quote " I try to put myself in your place" and breaks into San Quentin. He sings it for them and they love it, Wanted Man is for them and Peace in The Valley is it seems to give them hope. For one night only I am sure they loved every inch of San Quentin when Johnny and his band came to their big house.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johny Cash Prison Albums, 20 July 2010
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This review is from: At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert] (Audio CD)
Many years ago I bought San Quentin & Folsom Prison on vinyl and played them both until they were both unplayable.
In the past I bought the B.B.C. film of San Quentin which was fine but the accommpioning C.D. contained all the crackles and sctatches of the original plastic. So you would not believe my delight to find that both concerts had been remastered onto C.D. Both disks are highly recommended to any Johny Cash fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!, 29 April 2010
By 
Big Bry "Big Bry" (Peterborough United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Johnny Cash in his prime. Excellent tracks such as Folsom Prison Blues, San Quentin (I Hate Every Inch Of You), Boy Named Sue and many more. A cracker!
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At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert]
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