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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the whole San Quentin show!
The 2-CD Legacy Edition releases have taken a number of approaches to expanding classic releases, but none has been so holistically inviting as this deluxe reissue of Cash's classic live album. Columbia's 2000 CD reissue (subtitled "The Complete 1969 Concert") added eight Cash performances that had been shaved off the original vinyl release, but left four more sitting in...
Published on November 15, 2006 by hyperbolium

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A frustrating watch
First of all, the concert footage and music is great. That's what I bought the DVD for and I'm not disappointed.

However, the show cuts back and forth from the concert to interviews with guards and prisoners. Unfortunately, the sound quality of these interviews is TERRIBLE. Even struggling to listen, I could only make out a portion of what they were saying. I...
Published on January 3, 2007 by My Reviews


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the whole San Quentin show!, November 15, 2006
By 
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
The 2-CD Legacy Edition releases have taken a number of approaches to expanding classic releases, but none has been so holistically inviting as this deluxe reissue of Cash's classic live album. Columbia's 2000 CD reissue (subtitled "The Complete 1969 Concert") added eight Cash performances that had been shaved off the original vinyl release, but left four more sitting in the vault. This latest edition not only restores the four missing Cash performances, but adds the solo performances from Cash's troupe - Carl Perkins, The Statler Brothers, and The Carter Family - presenting the entire show from start to finish.

The restored material serves several purposes. First, the missing Cash tracks (both solo and with wife June) are as good as those originally released. Second, each of the three supporting acts was strong enough to have topped the bill, and so their individual tracks are welcome on purely musical grounds. Finally, presenting it all in sequence gives listeners the you-are-there experience, starting with the warm-up, Cash's arrival on stage, and the choreography with which the four acts intertwine their histories and catalogs.

As you play through the two discs it's clear that Cash was not only a gifted singer, songwriter and performer, but a talented showman, skillfully weaving himself into the exchanges with his troupe. Though he's clearly the focal point, he gives his fellow performers plenty of limelight. He sings seven songs on his own, a pair of duets with June, and then trades solo spots with the Carters, Perkins and the Statlers. Cash joins the Carters for June's "Ring of Fire," and brings the Statlers and Perkins up for a trio of songs. The show closes with a rousing medley of "Folsom Prison Blues" "I Walk the Line" "Ring of Fire" and "The Rebel - Johnny Yuma."

As on the 2000 reissue, many of the concert's best moments are Cash's dialog with the audience. Though not a prisoner, he clearly identifies with their confinement and rebel spirit, noting that the British film crew had tried to influence his song list, and he was having none of it. The comfort with which he holds the stage is reflected in the ease through which his songs and adlibs tumble forth. Surrounded by friends, family and his longtime backing band (W.S. Holland, Marshall Grant and then-new guitarist Bob Wooten), Cash's performance is as natural as his breathing.

New to this release are tracks from Cash ("The Long Black Veil/Give My Love to Rose," "Orange Blossom Special," "Blistered," and a duet with June Carter on "Jackson"), Carl Perkins ("Blue Suede Shoes," his then-current single, "Restless" and the instrumental "The Outside Looking In"), The Statler Brothers ("Flowers on the Wall" and a cover of Glen Campbell's "Less of Me") and The Carter Family ("The Last Thing on My Mind" "Wildwood Flower" and "Break My Mind"), all superb.

The CDs are augmented by a DVD that includes an hour-long 1969 documentary produced in the UK by Granada Television. The transfer's a bit dull (and the audio is mono), with some scratches and jumps, but overall it's quite watchable. The program intercuts performance footage with prisoner and guard interviews. And though this is more a documentary about San Quentin and prison life than a concert film, it still provides visual evidence of Cash's comfort with his captive audience. Not only does he seem at ease, but he shares the feeling with his fellow performers. June Carter - one of only four women in a room full of male convicts - seems surprisingly happy (though perhaps not completely relaxed) during their duet performances.

The original edited release of this concert still provides a wonderfully visceral anthology of Johnny Cash, but this documentary form of the original adds another dimension. The extra performances are all worth hearing, and the restoration of the show's original pacing and interplay between the acts are critical to reproducing the show's original emotional tenor. This is a true essential among the vast riches of the Cash catalog. [©2006 hyperbolium dot com]
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "San Quentin, you've been livin' hell to me." Amazing., November 18, 2006
By 
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
First off, I'd like to say that I am not a Country music fan. Having said that, I am a huge Johnny Cash fan. He transcends the genre that turned its back on him in his later years but here the man can do no wrong. Now I bought the 2000 "expansion" release of this concert, which at the time was dubbed the "complete concert recording". It was misleading because I had seen the British documentary on television (the DVD of this show is included in this set)in which Johnny & friends were performing songs I never knew existed from this legendary event since they were absent on CD. Now this box set is the full sha-bang, complete with amazing packaging, the concert spread over two CDs, and the DVD mentioned above. If you bought the previous CD like I did, let me tell you, this is worth the upgrade as it seems this is the "definitive end to all release" of Johnny singing to the prisoners at San Quentin.

For new fans, the single CD release might be the best place to start since it has at least 85% of what Johnny sang that night at San Quentin. The rest of the legacy tracks feature The Carter Family, Carl Perkins, and The Statler Bros.

So if you're looking for a "Johnny Cash" solo concert, then get the single CD version. If you want the absolute complete version in a great package, 40 page booklet, and the breathtaking British Documentary of this concert for the first time on DVD, then the Legacy Edition of this memorable night is the way to go.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had doubts, but this is superb., November 22, 2006
By 
Dan Plankton (Somerville, MA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
I'm a longtime Cash fan who has owned every edition of this album. I held off on this one, perhaps in part due to resentment at Sony for releasing the falsely advertised "Complete San Quentin Concert" only six years ago. But after watching the DVD of the original Granada TV (UK) program, I recommend this set without reservation. Despite some comments I read, the DVD has plenty of performance footage (it's 54 minutes long and about two-thirds onstage footage and one-third San Quentin documentary, and that one-third is also quite interesting to watch). You see the complete performance of A Boy Named Sue and several songs that weren't on the original album and CD issues, like Orange Blossom Special (great to watch Johnny playing the "harmonic-i") and Jackson. It appears that the video and sound have not been enhanced at all--there's lots of grain, and the mono sound distorted slightly at high volume. I got used to it and still thoroughly enjoyed viewing it.

One interesting note: Watching the video, it appears that June Carter's vocal on Darling Companion must have been overdubbed in-studio for the original album. Her vocal is different in the live footage -- and still good, so I don't know why they overdubbed. I didn't spot any other differences between the live footage and the album recording.

My one minor complaint: At this price Sony could have included a disc of the original 10-song "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" album, for historical interest and for times when you want to listen to a classic 40-minute Cash album instead of a full 100-minute concert.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Cash: An American Treasure, April 1, 2008
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This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
Johnny Cash is undoubtedly as essential to American music as Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, and Hank Williams. His contributions are admired by both country aficionados and rockers alike. On none of his releases is the reason why as apparent as with his "Live At San Quentin" release.

Here, we're treated to rousing renditions of early Cash classics "Big River," "I Still Miss Somone," and "I Walk The Line" alongside revamped versions of "Folsom Prison Blues," "Ring Of Fire," and "Wreck Of The Old 97." Needless to say, the addition of Carl Perkins to the list of backing musicians has a great deal to do with the musical quality of this show! However, the musical highlights don't stop there:

At San Quentin, Cash introduces new numbers / soon to be hits such as "A Boy Named Sue" and "Jackson," as well as the biting "San Quentin" and "Starkville City Jail." On the double-disc boxed set, Cash also welcomes upcoming act The Statler Brothers and bluegrass favorites The Carter Family (now consisting of Mother Maybelle and her daughters). No longer limited to merely country or gospel numbers, modern era folk and rock covers include the eclectic and often-covered "Break My Mind," the Lovin' Spoonful's "Darlin' Companion," Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing On My Mind," and Carl Perkins' classic "Blue Suede Shoes" (performed by the master himself)!

Cash's passing would leave an empty space in American music, but the legacy of recordings he left behind and the artists he inspired (and continues to inspire) will deservedly live on as a true American treasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must - Have Collection, January 9, 2007
By 
BLaufman (Hamilton, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
Finally, the entire concert presented - not edited as in previous releases. While there are a couple of added Johnny Cash songs, there are excellent performanced by the Carter Family, Carl Perkins, and The Statler Brothers.

As an added bonus, you get the DVD of the concert that was recorded for Granada TV in England. Unfortunately, it's a little grainy and not alot of effort has been made to clean it up (as we've seen with other DVDs), but it's still a "Must Have" for any Johnny Cash fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always be a good boy and don't ever play with guns, June 2, 2007
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
Content and Performance - Unlike many other "complete" versions of classic recordings, even the stuff that was left in the vault is pure gold. There is absolutely no filler here. And Johnny's banter with both the other acts and the audience recall a bygone era of ENTERTAINERS.

The other acts, legends in their own right, shine as well. For example, I've always read how underrated Carl Perkins was as a guitarist. His old Sun recordings and even the recently released "Carl Perkins & Friends" with Eric Clapton, George & Ringo, and Dave Edmunds never really let his playing shine through. However, throughout this set, but especially on "Blue Suede Shoes," the arrangement and Carl's guitar are ***SMOKING***. You can hear the missing link between early rock and roll and hard rock in the solo breaks in this one track. Indeed, this one track alone was worth paying for the upgrade of the 2000 disc.

Packaging/Presentation - I absolutely love the decision to put no verbiage at all on the cover of this box. The iconic image says it all. The high-gloss, rigid box with it's fully-printed inside and enjoyable booklet are also a welcome change from a bunch of jewel cases inside a box with a plain black background and a jewel-case-sized booklet requiring a microscope to read it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Razor-Sharp Pictures We Can't Escape, December 5, 2006
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
The Legacy edition of At San Quuetin finally gives this legendary moment in country and rock music the treatment it deserved. With all the Legend and Legacy editions out there Johnny Cash was sorely missing one. Though San Quentin is the follow up to the successful Live At Folsom Prison it seems like the obvious choice for such an edition. Not only was there more material in the vault to flesh it out, it also gives a more well rounded view of Cash. At Folsom brought us a monumental live album of Cash the outlaw and Johnny the junky. The Folsom show focussed on that persona through out the concert.

At San Quentin gives us a more complete picture of the man Johnny Cash. Though here recovered from his pills habit we still get Cash the outlaw but we also get the Cash who symbolizes the power of redemption through his faith in God and humanity. Especially with the full show as it is restored here. Not only do we get the full Cash performance, the Legacy edition also recovered a lot of the extra entertainment of that evening. It places Johnny Cash firmly in his family setting. Despite his many falls he was a family man first and fore most. The full restoration of the show reflects that. Anyone who wants to try and understand Cash would do well to start here. Not only do we get Cash in his prime, we also get the full spectrum of what he represented. Needless to say with a persona as complex as Cash, that is a lot.

Many of us will find common ground here. Cash, like no other, knew how to portray humanity. He showed us our failures and our ability to redeem. That quality is probably why he got such warm welcome in prisons as San Quentin. Cash didn't judge, he knew there is just a fine line between him, us and the inmates. He also made it felt that line wasn't always that clear. The DVD featured here, an old BBC documentary on the show, underscores that. Very little performers will ever rise to the levels Cash had, even though his music is as he himself called basic "Boom-Chicka-Boom". The songs paint razor-sharp pictures we can't escape. This release should be in the collection of anybody who owned the original recording or one of its many re-releases, anyone serious about music or poetry, just anyone with a feeling of what it means to be alive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A frustrating watch, January 3, 2007
By 
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
First of all, the concert footage and music is great. That's what I bought the DVD for and I'm not disappointed.

However, the show cuts back and forth from the concert to interviews with guards and prisoners. Unfortunately, the sound quality of these interviews is TERRIBLE. Even struggling to listen, I could only make out a portion of what they were saying. I wish the DVD manufacturer had somehow enhanced the sound or at least provided subtitles. It's very frustrating to "almost" be able to tell what someone is saying.

You could skip forward past the interviews (and you probably will have to) but they are so intermixed with the music that you'll have to watch this DVD with remote in hand the entire time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, February 24, 2009
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
this is great, it has great energy with the live audience. It is at a prison so there is prison humor...just a warning. Johnny appeals to the hardships of being in prison, which should be of no shock to true fans of Johnny Cash. With that said, it has wonderful music. The DVD was interesting, I didn't think the sound or visual was that bad, some reviews have been negative. It has live full song coverage of some of the songs, then interviews of some of the prisoners and the gaurds, they talk about prison and how they got there. Keep in mind it was the death row prison... just thought this may help.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Cash Live at San Quentin (Legacy Edition), January 11, 2007
This review is from: At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
This is a brilliant CD/DVD. Johnny Cash live at San Quentin. This is the concert in full. Loads of new stuff. Cd's and one DVD of the concert recorded for the UK. This is a must have, Cash fan or not.
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At San Quentin (Legacy Edition)
At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) by Johnny Cash (Audio CD - 2006)
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