Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3: Johnny Cash, "At Folsom Prison"

Artist: Johnny Cash
Album: At Folsom Prison
Year: 1968
Label: Columbia/Legacy

Four of the most famous words ever spoken lead off At Folsom Prison..."Hello...I'm Johnny Cash." When it comes to legends of music, there is only one badass of the country/western scene, one Man In Black, the one and only, Johnny Cash.

Though they may not admit it, at some point in their career, every male singer wants to be Johnny Cash. Combining bare-bones orchestrations, a bit of witty banter, songs that everyone can relate to, along with his unmistakable baritone vocals, At Folsom Prison truly captures Cash at the top of his game and truly in his element.

After opening appropriately enough with "Folsom Prison Blues," Cash plays a flawless set of nearly an hour, playing his songs which have now become "American standards." Future wife, June Carter (Johnny proposed on stage 5 weeks after the recording) joins the band on stage for a new numbers including a scorching rendition of their Grammy winning song, "Jackson."

Every aspect of Johnny Cash is quite evident throughout the recording. From his ability to write and deliver amazing ballads to his rebellious nature (Cash drops a handful of "four letter words" throughout, which were censored from the original pressing of the record) he shows what it truly means to be an entertainer.

While many people have a stereotype of what country music "is," ANY and EVERY fan of music should know At Folsom Prison through and through as it is arguably the finest live recording ever.

Standout Tracks: "Jackson," "The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer," and "25 Minutes To Go."

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