At Folsom Prison / At San Quentin (Remastered / Expanded) (2CD) Live, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
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Two-disc set features the complete recordings At San Quentin and At Folsom Prison. Johnny Cash had been breaking new ground for a decade when At Folsom Prison suddenly made the world at large take notice. The interaction of a volatile prison population starved for entertainment and a desperately on-form Johnny Cash was electrifying. His somber machismo finally found a home. The songs, which included every prison song Cash knew ("I Got Stripes", "The Wall", "25 Minutes to Go", "Cocaine Blues", plus his own "Folsom Prison Blues") were tailored to galvanize the crowd. As with Folsom, the San Quentin LP had to be edited due to space limitations. Now, 31 years after the fact, the show can at last be heard in true perspective. All the original performances hold up, including the album's hit single: Shel Silverstein's "A Boy Named Sue".
Top Customer Reviews
"At Folsom Prison" is the more raw of the two and "At San Quentin" more polished. Both together are two of the best live albums ever created.
In "Folsom", Johnny Cash is completely relaxed and on form, joking with the inmates between and even during songs, singing angry prison songs ("Cocaine Blues" with its line "I can't forget the day I shot that bad b**tch down!"), humorous faux-love songs ("Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart"), old folk songs ("Dark as the Dungeon", "Legend of John Henry's Hammer") plus his own classics ("Folsom Prison Blues", "I Still Miss Someone" and "Jackson" in an absolutely blistering duet with soon-to-be wife June Carter). It's a brilliant album that truly showcases Johnny Cash's talents, his charismatic personality and his connection with this audience of convicted felons.
"At San Quentin" is more polished while at the same time less relaxed than "Folsom". San Quentin itself is a tougher prison with more serious offenders. Johnny Cash and others who were there later said the atmosphere was unusually tense and menacing that day. Guards armed with machine guns were pacing catwalks above the prisoners. Cash had to walk a tightrope of emotions with his audience. Playing the new song "San Quentin", which he plays twice at the request of the crowd ("San Quentin, may you rot and burn in hell..."), sends the prisoners into a frenzy and Cash later noted that all he would have had to do at that point was yell "Break!Read more ›
A major theme of the songs performed at both concerts is the plight of the blue-collar man who has fallen on to the wrong side of the law, sometimes but not always under circumstances beyond his control. Not surprisingly, the prison audience relate well to such sentiments yet it is Cash's between song banter and the sense that he has been there which strike the biggest artist-audience bond. Only Bruce Springsteen and Christy Moore come close in displaying such genuine empathy with the working man.
Despite the albums being recorded only months apart, there is virtually no track overlap and highlights a plenty. The Folsom Prison LP begins appropriately enough with Folsom Prison Blues with other highpoints including the intense 25 Minutes To Go, Orange Blossom Special and a duet of the brilliant Jackson with Cash's soon to be wife June Carter. There is also welcome humour with the daft Dirty Old Egg Suckin' Dog and increasingly ridiculous metaphors of Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart.Read more ›