armchair cultural observation since 1995

News and Notes: Recording of second Folsom Prison show to be released

It turns out Johnny Cash, his soon to be bride and the rest of his outlaw crew gave not one, but two shows at Folsom Prison on Jan. 13, 1968.

The recording of the first, of course, is well known. It’s even often credited with catapulting the “man in black” to stardom. The recording of the second show, however, was rarely known to even the most ardent fans until recently when it was discovered in the Cash archives in Tennessee. Of the 26 songs recorded in the longer second show at Folsom Prison, only two of the songs have even seen the light of day.

The other 24 songs from that second show and six unissued tunes from the first will be included on Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison: Legacy Edition. The three-disc (2 CD and DVD) set includes the 65-minute first show, expletives and all, on disc one and the entire 75-minute second show on disc two. The DVD includes a new documentary with footage from inside Folsom, unpublished photography and interviews with Merle Haggard, Rosanne Cash, Marty Stuart and former inmates who witnessed the concert.

The new set, the latest in a series of Legacy edition Cash recordings, will be released by Columbia/Legacy on Oct. 14.

From the press release:

“The broad popular acceptance of the original Folsom Prison – by country fans, hippies and hillbillies, the Rolling Stone and FM radio population, and liberal urbanites – turned Johnny Cash’s life around. Buoyed by its No. 1 country single title tune, the LP spent 92 weeks on the country chart (where it was No. 1 for 4 weeks) and 122 weeks on the pop side, was certified platinum, and chosen CMA Album of the Year. At the next Grammy Awards (in March 1969), “Folsom Prison Blues” won for Best Country Vocal, Male, and Johnny won Best Liner Notes. It set the stage (along with the follow-up success of Johnny Cash At San Quentin in 1969) for ABC television to offer him the prime time variety show series that catapulted him to superstar status. Over and above this recognition, for the next decade he was an outspoken advocate for prison reform.”

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