Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
At Folsom Prison & At San Quentin
Genres: Country, Blues, Pop, Rock
Import only 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 i... more »
Import only 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'. 37-tracks in all. BMG. 2006.
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The Man in Black at his best
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 10/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Both the Folsom Prison and San Quentin live recordings from the late 1960s have recently been reissued with a number of extra tracks included for the first time, but this CD contains some of the best tracks from each recording and has long been a favorite of mine. The songs are great, but the banter between Cash and the audience is most interesting, proving to be straight-laced and even somewhat eye-opening at times. Cash's affinity with those behind bars is apparent as he relishes the response to his more audacious lyrics and makes a few snide comments about prison life and the men who oversee it. I actually am not in favor of entertaining the types of hardcore prisoners found at Folsom and San Quentin, but I enjoy this album immensely nonetheless. Several songs surely made the guards wince, such as Cocaine Blues, with its reference to shooting cocaine and then shooting your woman down, and San Quentin, in which Cash loudly proclaims that a prison such as San Quentin does its inmates little good. In contrast, though, Cash also offers up a few songs with a religious bent to them, such as Peace in the Valley. I especially enjoy the inspirational Greystone Chapel, which was actually written by one of the inmates at Folsom. It is clearly the audience that drives Cash's selected song choices. There are a number of classic prison songs: Folsom Prison Blues, 25 Minutes to Go, I Got Stripes, Wall, San Quentin, and Starkville County Jail being the most prominent. There are also a few laughter-generating ditties such as Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog and Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart. In contrast, Dark as a Dungeon, Long Black Veil, Send a Picture of Mother, and Green, Green Grass of Home convey a somber, reflective mood. Naturally, Cash also includes hits such as Jackson (with wife June Carter Cash), A Boy Named Sue, and the Cash staple I Walk the Line. Wanted Man, a song written by Bob Dylan, is another standout track that really gets the crowd of prisoners excited.Clearly, the newly reissued recordings featuring a number of extra tracks from each prison performance make this CD less desirable than it used to be, but these original releases are still well worth the money and served over a quarter of a century as the most desirable Cash recordings available. The audience is obviously enthusiastic, and the man in black is in fine form. By all means, buy the reissued albums separately in order to get the "complete" prison concerts, but appreciate this 2-in-1 CD for all the great music it has provided for us over the years."
Hello, I'm Johnny Cash
Johnny Heering | Bethel, CT United States | 02/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD features Johnny Cash's two classic live from prison albums on one CD. These albums are indeed classics, as most people know. However, one song was left off of the CD so that both albums will fit on the CD. The original San Quentin album featured two versions of "San Quentin", and there is only one version of it featured here. I would recommend getting the individual Folsom Prison and San Quentin CDs instead of this one. Those CD feature bonus tracks, plus uncensored swearing."
Johnny Cash at this best, singing to captive audiences
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Johnny Cash was a legendary figure of American music who often seemed the embodiment of an prophet from the Old Testament (and not one of the happier ones at that). With his passing there is a natural impulse to want to listen to the man and his music, but we really should resist the impulse to take the easy way out and listen to one of the greatest hits collections of The Man in Black (after all, the first Johnny Cash hits album came out forty years ago). Instead you track done one of the superb albums that he put out during his music career. From that perspective "At Folsom Prison" and "At San Quentin" are the two quintessential Johnny Cash albums from what ended up being the "early" part of one of the great careers in American music. Both albums were recorded live in front of eager audiences of prison inmates in the late 1960s and provide ample proof of why Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in country music. This CD presents 25 of the 37 tracks from those two albums and unless you know where one album ends and the next begins you would not think these concerts were recorded three years apart.
Part of the reason these were great albums was because Cash clearly plays to his audience, singing songs about prison, crime and murder, loss and regret, mother and God, and most importantly loneliness. There is no sugarcoating of the harsh realities of prison life in these songs as Cash sings the songs of the gospel of darkness and rage. Cash's singing is truly authentic (you can feel him feeding off of his audience) and the result is compelling cathartic. This is not an album filled with hits although there are certainly several recognizable songs: "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Still Miss Someone," and a duet of "Jackson" with June Carter Cash. But it will be the ones you might never have heard before, such as "I Got Stripes," that stand out in your mind after listening to the album.
What remains constant on both of these albums 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 like "Starkville City Jail" and "San Quentin" along with old hits like "I Walk the Line." 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).
These have both been legendary albums for decades and overall this is a nice collection of the best of both. Everyone will have an omission to complain about (e.g., no "Ring of Fire"?), but then true fans of the Man in Black and his music will already own both of these albums and the remastered versions with the additional tracks at that. But getting this many tracks from both albums on one CD is still both a treat and a tribute, and if you were going to only pick one classic Johnny Cash album to have in your music library, at least this one keeps you from having to flip a coin to choose between "At Folsom Prison" and "At San Quentin" (FYI: the former is just a shade better)."