Rosanne Cash was on tour recently on a west coast tour, one of her stops was in Folsom, California. While there, she made a stop to the prison where her famous father recorded one of his most famous albums 44 years earlier.
She played a few songs in the lunchroom, just as he once did. Many times I think about concerts and say “I wish I were there.” This is one that hearing a tape would be just as fine, thank you.
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison almost did not happen. It was in the works for some time and then some major changes hit at Columbia Records. The new regime was not sure about the project.
You have to remember that this wasn’t the best of times for Johnny. He hadn’t really been tearing up the charts for some time. His career wasn’t doing all that well. There was also a period of well-known drug use and hard times from John.
He had turned his life around when he decided to do these two shows at Folsom Prison. He had cleaned up and was looking for a new run at it. This album was what really put his career, and his life, back in the right direction.
The opening number was his hit from 1955 that of course would be the great “Folsom Prison Blues.” He would eventually run through sixteen total tracks that would make the album. He was joined on stage by Carl Perkins on guitar and his future wife, June Carter. The Statler Brothers were also part of the show. They joined them on stage for a couple songs as well.
The albums success would be better than anyone could have hoped. It now resides in the Library of Congress. When Rolling Stone Magazine announced its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of all time it would be found there as well, and in the top 100 at #88.
- “Folsom Prison Blues” (Cash)
- “Dark as a Dungeon” (Merle Travis)
- “I Still Miss Someone” (Johnny Cash, Roy Cash)
- “Cocaine Blues” (T. J. Arnall)
- “25 Minutes to Go” (Shel Silverstein)
- “Orange Blossom Special” (Ervin T. Rouse)
- “The Long Black Veil” (Marijohn Wilkin, Danny Dill)
- “Send a Picture of Mother” (Cash)
- “The Wall” (Harlan Howard)
- “Dirty Old Egg-Suckin’ Dog” (Jack H. Clement)
- “Flushed From The Bathroom of Your Heart” (Jack H. Clement)
- “Jackson” (with June Carter; Billy Edd Wheeler, J. Lieber)
- “Give My Love to Rose” (with June Carter; Cash)
- “I Got Stripes” (Cash, Charlie Williams)
- “Green, Green Grass of Home” (Curly Putman)
- “Greystone Chapel” (Glen Sherley)
- Johnny Cash – vocal, guitar, harmonica
- June Carter – vocal
- Marshall Grant – bass guitar
- W.S. Holland – drums
- Carl Perkins – electric guitar
- Luther Perkins – electric guitar
- The Statler Brothers (Lew DeWitt, Don Reid, Harold Reid, Phil Balsley) – vocals
Listen to it in its entirety below