At Folsom Prison
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At Folsom Prison (Legacy Edition)
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The legendary 1968 live concert, complete and uncensored! Johnny's at his best playing a gritty set of songs to the very appreciative, and very vocal, Folsom Prison inmates.
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. This set is all about atmosphere. Live at the Grand Ole Opry this ain't. The 1999 version drops the San Quentin portion of the original CD reissue, instead adding three cuts to complete the full and uncensored Folsom show. --Colin Escott
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In some ways it was horrifying. Really, really, dark humor like singing about hanging to a group of guys who at least know people who were or are going to be executed, and joking about hanging innocent guys when you know there really were some cases that went that way.
In some ways it was inspiring. I liked the part where he took poems/songs from inmates and set them to music. He was given the song "Greysont Chapel the night before and launched the music career of inmate Glen Sherley with it.
What really hits me on this album is its concept. I've heard most of these songs many times, but I never really appreciated what the context of the album meant and how much the songs belong in that context. Amazing! His bond with the audience is palpable and his emotional intensity is only stronger than when you hear the songs individually. For instance, his version of John Henry, a song everyone covers at some point in their career, is unmatched when he's singing in front of a bunch of prisoners.
In the social context, I also appreciate this album. If you think of the great prison movies and books of the era (Papillon, Cool Hand Luke, Gulag Archipelago, Midnight Express, Discipline and Punishment, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the Great Escape, etc.) Johnny Cash's contribution to the genre is significant.
OK. Don't buy this. Go ahead and spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been. Or do buy the album and get yourself just a little closer to self-actualization.
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It is not the Beatles, or the Stones, or the Who, or Led Zeppelin, or ... anybody else. It is this album by Johnny Cash.Read more