Oddly enough, Johnny Cash wanted to do a live session. No problem, but…in a prison?
Having said that, Johnny Cash was a legendary Country musician and a great performer. Despite what one may think about this whole idea of a bizarre musical set up, this is often seen as a classic live album, one of both Country music and of music in general. Let’s see if this is the case today.
We kick off with Folsom Prison Blues which begins with a short intro before the piece gets kicking. It is an excellent rendition of a Johnny Cash classic. A wonderful and excellent listen, regardless of any misgivings of performing in a prison. The crowd here definitely approve, and the performance is of great quality. Great start to the recording.
Next is the acoustically driven Dark As The Dungeon which is quite good to hear. It is a slower, more melancholy piece that is about a dark place. In the middle, Johnny Cash makes an excellent joke about being recorded laughing, and the crowd cheers approvingly. A dark and lonely sounding sort of song, but wonderfully delivered by Johnny Cash, this is top. Once the song has finished, Johnny Cash jokes around further on the microphone. Brilliant stuff.
I Still Miss Someone comes next, which is a lovely acoustic driven piece about missing one who is long gone out of one’s life. A fantastic, yet short and sad piece. Wonderfully performed and delivered, a great listen here.
Cocaine Blues comes along next. It is an interesting piece about drugs and guns and is very humourous. Needless to say, it is so far away from the politically correct music of today, that Johnny Cash sounds wonderfully and refreshingly different. A must-listen for those who need a laugh in a Country music set and a great song indeed that this is.
Following is 25 Minutes To Go which is another song about being a prisoner, on death row. A fantastic rendition of another emotional song, this has a very Bob Dylan sort of feel to it. You can hear the crowd cheer at various parts of the song, and this is a wonderful listen, with an emotional delivery from Johnny Cash throughout. Great live performance. Johnny Cash talks to the audience upon finishing and gets his harmonica ready.
Next is Orange Blossom Special which is an excellent song with harmonica to boot, with very fast and uptempo delivery. The drumming is superb here, keeping an excellent pace whilst Johnny Cash plays the harmonica in an awesome way. Johnny Cash advises the crowd he needs to change harmonica halfway throughout, as a joke. This is a brilliant piece of music, and Johnny Cash comes across as a brilliant entertainer. Which he is. Brilliant effort, mentioning many locations across the USA. Top stuff.
The Long Black Veil comes next, which has Johnny Cash doing a good quality acoustic-driven performance and it sounds really deeply and wonderfully delivered. If you are lonesome and blue, this is a great album to relate to. Singing about being in the arms of his best friend’s wife, and being murdered as a result, this is rather dark lyrical matter here. Great stuff though. He then proceeds to chat with the audience for a bit and jokes around some more. Brilliant.
Send A Picture Of Mother comes along next, and it is another acoustically and touching piece. Even if you have never broken the law in your life, this is a great album to listen to. Singing about missing old times with family, it is a really lovely piece of music. An excellent song.
After that is The Wall. Nope, not Pink Floyd, but Johnny Cash singing about desiring to leave the prison one is incarcerated in. Johnny Cash delivers a wonderful piece of music here. The ending is really dark and scary lyrically. Not bad for a one and a half minute song. Johnny Cash proceeds to introduce the next two songs, which are love songs, according to him.
The first love song here is Dirty Old Egg-Suckin’ Dog which is about a dog, who is a man’s best friend. A brilliant piece of humourous musicality. Very well done, a nice song about the annoyances pets can be.
Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart is another excellent song about being rejected in a love-based situation. The audience really digs this music and this song in particular. Johnny Cash comes across as a brilliant and wonderfully humourous Country musician. A highlight from this album for sure. Johnny Cash brings the band back on for the set after this song.
Jackson comes next, which has Johnny Cash doing a duet with his wife June. It is a good match, and this song comes across as being a wonderful and well-thought piece. An excellent song that is both catchy and entertaining, this is really great. A superb listen, short and sweet. It gets frenetic in the last section of this song, nice.
Following is Give My Love To Rose which begins with a beautiful opening with Johnny Cash singing about rather dark events. It is a really sad sort of piece about the love that one can give to others, even in the worst of times. He sings a very sad piece of music, and another great listen.
Next is I Got Stripes which is another song about prison-based events, and working in a chain gang doing hard labour. It is a great listen and sounds excellent. Short and excellent, it is less than two minutes long.
Green, Green Grass Of Home comes next and is a wonderful lyrical piece about tasting home life and freedom that comes along with it. The backing vocals here are awesome and wonderful. A very emotionally deep and lovely piece about dreaming of a better life outside of prison, this is moving. Nice tune. A great performance. Johnny Cash introduces the final song as written by a prisoner in Folsom Prison, to much approval.
Greystone Chapel is the last and longest piece on this album, being nearly six minutes long. It has some wonderful lyrics and is quite upbeat and decent listening. It talks about how belief in God can save one from eternal misery. A great song about how such a positive place can arise in a world of negativity. It ends briefly, before launching into an odd jam. Afterwards, some kind things are said and done, along with some further talking. Before long, this is over and we wrap up this album.
This is a true classic album by one of the greatest stars of Country music ever, Johnny Cash. Although, yes, he is performing in a prison, and yes, all the songs are crime-related, this should not stop you from taking a good listen to this wonderful album. It is a great and very flawless performance. If you like this sort of thing, definitely check this album out.