Saturday, August 23, 2014

Record #0562: Folsom Prison Blues / The Folk SInger – JOHNNY CASH

Columbia 4-44513 (original) USA, Apr. 30, 1968
Words & Music bySide AJohnny Cash; Side B – Charles Daniels, Cash
Musicians: Side A - Johnny Cash (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Carl Perkins (guitar), Luther Perkins (guitar), Al Casey (guitar), Marshall Grant (bass), W.S. Holland (drums); Side B - Johnny Cash (lead vocals), Luther Perkins (guitar), Norman Blake (dobro), Marshall Grant (bass), W.S. Holland (drums), Carter Family (b-vocals)
Recording sessions: Produced by Bob Johnston, Side A - Live at Folsom Prison, Folsom, CA, Jan. 13, 1968; Side B - at Columbia Recording Studio, Nashville, TN, Mar. 6, 1968
Highest chart positions:  US #32, US Country #1, US AC #39, UK #52

Just like his black outfit, "Folsom Prison Blues" became one of Cash's trademarks. The original release in 1956 became his first Top 10 hit (US Country #4). This 1968 live cover did even better than the original and gave Cash a #1 hit after a break of 4 years.

Cash did two shows in Folsom Prison on Jan. 13, 1968 and selected tracks were released on this single and album "At Folsom Prison" (US Album #13, US Country Album #1, UK Album #7, Norway Album #7).

The single hit the charts in late May and early June, but the assasination of Robert F. Kennedy on 5th of June stalled the record as the radio stations refused to play it due to the line "I shot a man in Reno ...". Despite the opposition from Cash, Columbia edited that line out and quickly re-released the single and it then continued climbing the charts.

Cash once said he wrote the line "I shot a man in Reno - just to watch him die," while he was "trying to think of the worst reason . . . for killing another person." He added, "It did come to mind quite easily, though."

"Folsom Prison Blues" sits at #163 in Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time"

Luther Perkins, who had played with Cash since 1954, died on August 3 that year. He fell asleep on his sofa with a lit cigarrette. Need I say more ...
His final recording session with Cash took place on July 31 and included songs "He Turned Water Into Wine" and "Come To the Wailing Wall".

List price
:  Very Good+ is $3, Near Mint is $6

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