37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
A legendary album is now twice as great with bonus tracks,
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.