After years of dwindling sales, Johnny Cash walked into California's Folsom Prison on January 13th, 1968, and reinvigorated his career: At Folsom Prison, the live album he cut that day, went platinum and shored up Cash's outlaw image with jailbird anthems that vividly evoked prison life with a country-folk sound that became roughly as enduring as the Bible. This two-CD, one-DVD reissue includes the set that followed the original recording, plus songs from openers Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers and three previously unreleased Cash performances from the first set — the standout is a cover of Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman," a hard-driving duet with soon-to-be-wife June Carter. Though the second set mostly repeats the original, the expanded edition makes for an excellent historical document, highlighting Cash's rapport with prison folk: He warns them that, since the concert was going on wax, "you can't say 'hell' or 'shit.' " And as Cash watches a filmed thank-you message from Folsom inmate and songwriter Glen Sherley — whose "Greystone Chapel" Cash covered — he tears up.
(Posted: Oct 16, 2008)