JOHNNY CASH – AT SAN QUENTIN:
DELUXE 3-DISC DISPLAY BOOK BOX SET WITH COMPLETE UNCUT HISTORIC 1969 PRISON CONCERT ON TWO CDs, PLUS DVD OF 60-MINUTE U.K. DOCUMENTARY BY GRANADA TV
STARRING: JOHNNY CASH, JUNE CARTER CASH, THE TENNESSEE THREE, CARL PERKINS, THE STATLER BROTHERS, AND THE CARTER FAMILY (MOTHER MAYBELLE, JUNE’S SISTERS ANITA AND HELEN)
31-track show – longest Cash concert on record – contains 13 previously unissued tracks, four of them by Johnny: medley of “The Long Black Veil/ Give My Love To Rose,” “Orange Blossom Special,” “Jackson” (with June), “Blistered”
Johnny also sings: “Big River,” “I Still Miss Someone,” “Wreck Of The Old 97,” “I Walk The Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “San Quentin” (twice), Bob Dylan’s “Wanted Man,” #1 Shel Silverstein hit “A Boy Named Sue,” and more
Highlights by Carl Perkins (“Blue Suede Shoes”), Statler Brothers (“Flowers On The Wall”), Carter Family ( “The Last Thing On My Mind,” “Break My Mind”), June Carter Cash (“Wildwood Flower”), and much more
40-page full color booklet includes liner notes by Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Marty Stuart (with Merle Haggard interview), manager Lou Robin,
and journalist Sylvie Simmons, plus numerous unpublished photos by Jim Marshall
Top Country Album of the ’60s joins prestigious multi-disc Legacy Edition series, arriving in stores November 14, 2006, on Columbia/Legacy
“San Quentin, I hate every inch of you
You’ve cut me and you’ve scarred me thru and thru…
You bent my heart and mind and you warp my soul
Your stone walls turn my blood a little cold.
San Quentin, may you rot and burn in hell
May your walls fall and may I live to tell
May all the world forget you ever stood
And the whole world will regret you did no good.”
– Johnny Cash, “San Quentin”
“‘How do you like San Quentin, Cash?’ a young man called from the front of the Grey Stone Chapel. ‘San Quentin is a hell-hole,’ John whispered to me. ‘It ought to rot and burn in hell for all the good it does.’ ‘So write it,’ I said. Surely we’re here for some reason. There ought to be some way for redemption for these men.”
– June Carter Cash, from her liner notes to At San Quentin expanded edition (2000)
“God, I’ve never seen anything like it. When Cash sang ‘San Quentin may you rot and burn in hell,’ they were on the tables yelling. A lot of the guards were up on the runways with loaded guns, backing up the doors, and I’m backed up to the door with all of these guards with guns, and I’m thinking, ‘Man! I should have brought Tammy Wynette and George Jones—anybody but Johnny Cash!’”
– Bob Johnston, producer, as told to Sylvie Simmons, from
the liner notes to AT SAN QUENTIN: LEGACY EDITION
“I asked the Chief of Security if we didn’t need more guards to protect the stage area. He pointed out that if he were to use 100 guards that night and the situation got out of control, those 100 guards or even another 100 wouldn’t be able to do much. Not very reassuring for me, but he said that most of the prisoners didn’t want any problems and not to worry. Small solace!”
– Lou Robin, manager, from his liner notes to At San Quentin
expanded edition (2000)
“I welcome the re-release of this classic recording, complete with its lost chapters. Locked away in a vault for so long, it showcases Cash at his zenith—a master communicator, interpreter and missionary, who sang songs for the souls locked away, inside one of hell’s most famous waiting rooms.”
– Marty Stuart, from his liner notes to At San Quentin expanded edition (2000)
“When Johnny Cash didn’t even show up with a voice, I thought, ‘how’s he going to pull this off?’ I don’t know how he did it, but he did. He captured the entire prison. I don’t think there was a guy in the entire joint who didn’t like Johnny Cash when that show was over.”
– Merle Haggard, as prisoner in 1st row at San Quentin show
of January 1, 1958, as told to Marty Stuart
It comes as no surprise that the #1 top-charting album of Johnny Cash’s entire career was recorded live in concert at a maximum security prison, in front of a “captive crowd” of all-men, behind bars “for armed robbery, rape, pedophilia, arson, murder,” June Carter Cash told herself, as well as “a few innocent men.” Surrounded by tense, armed guards, this was an audience, Johnny’s manager Lou Robin understood, where “the most powerful inmates sat in the front row in their tailored uniforms with their ‘assistants’ coming over to light their cigarettes and bring them drinks.”
It was a grim setting that rocked with dark humor, nostalgia, touches of regret for those left back home, grounded by a spiritual yearning for hope and redemption that was provided by the performing troupe who came to the prison that day in February 1969: Johnny (two days before his 37th birthday) and his wife June Carter Cash with the Tennessee Three, Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers, and the Carter Family (Mother Maybelle and June’s sisters Anita and Helen).
After nearly four decades, their full-length, unedited hour-and-a-half concert is now officially available over-the-counter, as JOHNNY CASH – AT SAN QUENTIN: LEGACY EDITION, a deluxe three-disc display book box set package (a la the recent Bruce Springsteen Born To Run 30th Anniversary Edition) arrives in stores November 14th on Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. The complete 31-track concert, the longest Johnny Cash live performance on record – containing 13 previously unissued tracks, four of them featuring Johnny – will be complemented by Johnny Cash – In San Quentin. This one-hour DVD documentary film, produced by England’s Granada TV, chronicled the event with numerous performances as well as graphic one-on-one interviews with prison guards and inmates discussing their experiences behind bars.
Johnny Cash At San Quentin was the follow-up to June 1968’s Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison, the enormously successful #1 country LP (for four weeks), his first major pop crossover success (#13), which went on to spend 92 weeks on the pop chart and 122 weeks on the country chart. The LP (recorded January 1968) included his remake of the 1955 Grammy Hall Of Famer “Folsom Prison Blues” – the ’68 version hit #1 on the country chart (for four weeks), Top 40 pop, and won the Best Country Male Vocal Grammy. It was followed by “Daddy Sang Bass” (written by Carl Perkins, with the Statler Brothers and the Carter Family on background vocals), a second #1 country (for six weeks) and Top 40 pop hit,. All the attention set the stage for Johnny’s ABC-TV variety series that premiered on June 7, 1969. In every way, it was Folsom Prison, his first CMA Album of the Year and first RIAA double-platinum LP that set off three and a half decades of iconic worldwide superstardom for Johnny Cash.
Johnny started performing at prisons in the ’50s, and always wanted to record a live LP at one of those dates, but Columbia would not hear of it. It was not until he hooked up with staff producer Bob Johnston that he found a sympathizer. But could it have gone another way? “I picked up the phone and called Folsom and San Quentin,” the producer relates. “The reason the Folsom album was made first is because the Folsom warden answered first, simple as that. I got the warden, Duffy, and I handed Johnny the telephone and left.”
Building upon the success of Folsom, San Quentin was released the last week of June 1969, just a few weeks into Johnny’s TV series. Where the former took five weeks to reach #1 on the country chart, the latter did it in four – and made #1 on the pop side three weeks later. San Quentin spun off an adventurous live single, Shel Silverstein’s “A Boy Named Sue” (#1 country for 5 weeks, #2 pop) – radio stations showed their mettle by playing the un- bleeped “sonuvabitch” version, or by toeing the line and airing the bleeped version. No matter, it won the Best Country Song Grammy for Shel, and Johnny’s second consecutive Best Country Male Vocal Grammy. The double-platinum LP stayed at #1 country for a record-setting 20 weeks, which made it the Top Country Album of the decade. In all, Johnny’s second CMA Album of the Year charted for 55 weeks at country and 70 weeks pop – which meant that for the better part of a year, he had two prison LPs selling tonnage off the shelf together.
San Quentin was an historic 10-song LP when it was first released in 1969 – and it was an historic occasion 31 years later when it was first remastered as an expanded edition CD. As part of Columbia/Legacy’s American Milestones country music series, the 2000 configuration included eight bonus tracks previously unreleased at the time, all of them featuring Johnny: “Big River,” “I Still Miss Someone,” “I Don’t Know Where I’m Bound,” “Ring Of Fire” (with the Carter Family), and the final four with the whole company – “He Turned the Water Into Wine,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “This Old Account Was Settled Long Ago,” and the closing medley with the full company, “Folsom Prison Blues/ I Walk the Line/ Ring Of Fire/ The Rebel – Johnny Yuma.” The 2000 CD also resequenced the program according to the original show’s running order.
JOHNNY CASH – AT SAN QUENTIN: LEGACY EDITION ups the ante with another 13 previously unissued tracks that now complete the show in its entirety, starting with the first five tracks that introduced each of the show’s stars – Carl Perkins (“Blue Suede Shoes”), the Statler Brothers (“Flowers On The Wall”), the Carter Family (Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing On My Mind), and June Carter Cash (who talked to the audience and then sang “Wildwood Flower”) – before Johnny took the stage with “Big River” and “I Still Miss Someone.”
During the course of this LEGACY EDITION, there are two more previously unissued tracks by Carl Perkins (“Restless,” “The Outside Looking In”), one more previously unissued track by the Carter Family (John D. Loudermilk’s “Break My Mind,” via George Hamilton IV), and one more previously unissued track by the Statler Brothers (Glen Campbell’s “Less Of Me”). The four previously unissued tracks by Johnny Cash comprise (in order of appearance) his medley of “The Long Black Veil/ Give My Love To Rose,” “Orange Blossom Special,” “Jackson” (with June), and Billy Edd Wheeler’s “Blistered.”
In 2000, the Johnny Cash At San Quentin CD booklet contained several liner notes: former Cash band member Marty Stuart introduced the record, and then segued to an insightful interview with Merle Haggard, who was famously sitting in the first row of San Quentin as a 21-year old inmate when Johnny Cash played there on New Year’s Day 1958, a music performance that changed Hag’s life.
Johnny provided an interlude: the true story of Jim Marshall’s notorious photograph of Cash flipping “The Bird” to one of the Granada cameraman who was standing between him and the San Quentin audience. The liner notes’ longest section was penned by June, whose emotions ran from fear to compassion as she inspired her husband (of 11 months) to compose the four verses of “San Quentin” on the spot. The final section of liner notes were written by Johnny’s long-time manager, Lou Robin.
For the JOHNNY CASH – AT SAN QUENTIN: LEGACY EDITION’s full color 40-page booklet, those five sections of notes are restored, and preceded by a brand new 2,500-word historic essay written by Sylvie Simmons. A charter member of the MOJO staff (for whom she’s written cover stories on Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and many others), the London journalist, has also written for Q, Rolling Stone, Sounds, Blender, Creem, and Kerrang! to name a few. She is the author of books on Neil Young (Reflections in Broken Glass), Serge Gainsbourg (A Fistful of Gitanes), Motley Crüe (Lewd, Crude and Rude), Kiss, and the rock novel Too Weird for Ziggy.
“If the first concert, at Folsom, has become the better known,” Simmons writes, “particularly now that Hollywood has chosen it as a metaphor for his life in Walk The Line – San Quentin might well be the better album. Like Johnston, who produced both albums, says – it’s dangerous. Exultant too, thrilling in its edginess. And there’s a humanity and an honesty you rarely hear on record – even more remarkable to see in the 1969 TV documentary on the accompanying DVD … As Bono of U2 wrote in his liner notes to a later Johnny Cash compilation, God, ‘Johnny Cash doesn’t sing to the damned, he sings with the damned. Sometimes you feel he might prefer their company.’”
JOHNNY CASH – AT SAN QUENTIN: LEGACY EDITION
(Columbia/Legacy 82876 75914 2)
(recorded Feb. 24, 1969; originally issued June 1969, as Columbia 9827)
1. * Blue Suede Shoes (C. Perkins)
The Statler Brothers
2. * Flowers On The Wall (L. DeWitt)
The Carter Family
3. * The Last Thing On My Mind (T. Paxton)
June Carter Cash
4. * June Carter Cash talks to the audience
5. * Wildwood Flower (A.P. Carter)
6. # Big River (J. Cash)
7. # I Still Miss Someone (J. Cash-R. Cash, Jr.)
8. Wreck Of The Old 97 (arr: J. Cash-B. Johnson-N. Blake)
9. I Walk The Line (J. Cash)
10. * Medley: The Long Black Veil (M. Wilkin-D. Danny)/Give My Love To Rose
11. Folsom Prison Blues (J. Cash)
12. * Orange Blossom Special (E.T. Rouse)
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
13. * Jackson (G. Rodgers-B. Wheeler)
14. Darlin’ Companion (J. Sebastian)
The Carter Family
15. * Break My Mind (J.D. Loudermilk)
16. # I Don’t Know Where I’m Bound (T. Cuttie)
17. Starkville City Jail (J. Cash)
1. San Quentin (J. Cash)
2. San Quentin (J. Cash)
3. Wanted Man (B. Dylan)
4. * Restless (C. Perkins)
5. A Boy Named Sue (S. Silverstein)
6. * Blistered (Billy Edd Wheeler)
7. (There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley (T. Dorsey)
8. * The Outside Looking In (C. Perkins)
The Statler Brothers
9. * Less Of Me (G. Campbell)
Johnny Cash with the Carter Family
10. # Ring Of Fire (J. Carter-M. Kilgore)
Johnny Cash with the Carter Family, the Statler Brothers, and Carl Perkins
11. # He Turned The Water Into Wine (J. Cash)
12. # Daddy Sang Bass (C. Perkins)
13. # The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago (L.R. Dalton)
14. # Closing medley: Folsom Prison Blues (J. Cash)/I Walk The Line (J. Cash)/Ring
Of Fire (J. Carter-M. Kilgore)/The Rebel-Johnny Yuma (R. Markowitz-A. Fenady)
# indicates track restored on 2000 expanded edition.
* indicates previously unissued track.
Disc Three (DVD): Johnny Cash – In San Quentin
Original 1969 documentary produced by Granada TV in the U.K. Running time: approx. 60 minutes. Produced for reissue by Michael B. Borofsky.
Johnny Cash – vocal, guitar
June Carter Cash – vocal
Marshall Grant – bass
W.S. Holland – drums
Carl Perkins – electric guitar, vocal
Bob Wootton – electric guitar
The Carter Family (Mother Maybelle, Helen and Anita) – vocals, guitars
The Statler Brothers (Harold Reid, Don Reed, Phil Balsley, Lew Dewitt) – vocals
About Johnny Cash and Legacy Recordings
With the sincere cooperation and input of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash during their lifetimes, Legacy Recordings was able to delve far and wide into their archives, digitally remastering material – some of which had not seen light of day for decades – and developing exciting new packages. The campaign to celebrate Johnny Cash’s 70th birthday (on February 26, 2002) continued a focus on his catalog that actually began in 1999, in the inaugural set of five releases in the American Milestones series. As part of that inaugural set, Columbia/Legacy issued an expanded edition of 1968’s double-platinum Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison in which the 16-song album was augmented by three bonus tracks; the reissue was later certified RIAA gold.
On July 4, 2000, the second batch of American Milestones included 1969’s Johnny Cash Complete Live At San Quentin. The contents of the original double-platinum 10-song LP were not only nearly doubled (with 9 previously unreleased tracks), but also completely resequenced according to the original tapes of the show.
The “70th birthday campaign” carried on with the May 2000 release of the critically acclaimed three-CD box set, Love•God•Murder. The thematic CDs explored the elemental forces of Cash’s music, illuminated by his own liner notes as well as those of June (Love), Bono of U2 (God) and Quentin Tarantino (Murder). Moreover, the box set represented Johnny’s first project as a working artist back with the Columbia Records family after an absence of some 17 years.
In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001, a decision was made to return Johnny’s first two patriotic-themed albums to the catalog in December: Johnny Cash: America (A 200-Year Salute In Story And Song) from 1972, and Ragged Old Flag from 1974, the latter representing the first LP of his 45-year recording career for which Johnny Cash wrote every song. On February 12, 2002, two weeks before his 70th birthday, The Essential Johnny Cash was issued on Columbia/Legacy. The 36-song package marked the first time that his four decades of recordings on the Sun, Columbia and Mercury labels were ever presented in one comprehensive double-CD/cassette edition. The closing track was his historic lead vocal on “The Wanderer,” backed by U2, from their 1993 Zooropa album (Island). The Essential Johnny Cash is near double-platinum as of this writing.
Two weeks after the birthday, Legacy’s American Milestones series issued expanded editions of five vintage albums from Johnny Cash’s vast Columbia archive, which numbers some 80 albums recorded between 1958 and 1993: The Fabulous Johnny Cash, his first Columbia LP (January 1959); Hymns By Johnny Cash, his second Columbia LP (May 1959); Ride This Train (subtitled “A Stirring Travelogue of America in Song and Story,” September 1960); Orange Blossom Special (April 1965), containing the title track and three Bob Dylan songs; and Carryin’ On With Johnny Cash and June Carter (also known as Jackson, September 1967). Each album included contemporaneous bonus tracks from the time of the original recording sessions and original liner notes (where available) as well as newly commissioned notes.
Five months later in August came four more titles: Johnny Cash At Madison Square Garden, a newly discovered groundbreaking 1969 concert with Carl Perkins, the Carter Family, and the Statler Brothers, 77 minutes, 26 tracks, the entire program previously unreleased; Songs Of Our Soil (1959); Johnny Cash Sings Ballads Of The True West (1965); and Silver (1979).
In March 2004, Columbia/Legacy issued Life, the long-awaited sequel to Love•God•Murder. This fourth volume touched on people, events, feelings, predicaments, and hard knocks that were as much a part of Johnny Cash’s experience as they are part of everyone’s. June had passed away back on May 15, 2003, and Johnny was working on Life hands-on until four days before his death on September 12, 2003.
The RIAA gold, Grammy Award-winning six-disc Columbia/Legacy box set, Johnny Cash – The Legend and the deluxe two-CD set Keep On The Sunny Side: June Carter Cash – Her Life In Music (the first major anthology ever compiled on her in the U.S.) were both issued in June 2005. They anticipated the excitement of a new movie on the way: Walk The Line (20th Century-Fox) starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June, which opened in November. In January, the movie won Golden Globe Awards for both actors, as well as Best Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy; and in March, Reese Witherspoon went on to win the Oscar for her portrayal.
In May 2006, Columbia/Legacy issued Johnny Cash: Personal File, a two-CD collection of 49 previously unreleased intimate solo performances recorded at his home studio in Hendersonville between 1973 and 1982. In July came the long-awaited commercial debut on DVD of The Man In Black: Live In Denmark 1971, a previously unreleased no-frills studio concert broadcast on Danish television that coincided with the release of his autobiographical single “The Man In Black,” starring Johnny and June, the Tennessee Three, Carl Perkins, the Carter Family (Mother Maybelle, Anita, Helen), and the Statler Brothers.