1001 Albums You Must Hear (and Blog about) Before You Die

My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die

853. At San Quentin – Johnny Cash

The original release is embedded, for the extended and more complete 2000 release, use this link: http://rd.io/x/QVpb1yJb69k/

Brief Background: At San Quentin was recorded at San Quentin State Prison in California on  February 24, 1969 and was released in June of the same year. The album was released on the heels of the immensely popular At Folsom Prison.

What I think: At Folsom Prison is generally the more popular of the Cash’s two “Prison Albums”, but I’ve always preferred this one. This show is much more raw, wild and at times teeters on the edge of seeming dangerous. Cash’s ad-libs and comments, especially when directed towards the prison officials seem particularly brazen. Oh yea, and there is a little song written by Shel Silverstein on here titled “A Boy Named Sue”.

As a caveat to that praise, some of the song choices on the album are odd, why include both performances “San Quentin” and a really short version of “Folsom Prison Blues”? I suggest you give this version a listen and then check out the 2000 release for a more complete 31 track version.

Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do agree this should be here, it’s one of the best live recordings ever!

Rating (Out of 5): 4.5

Amazon Review (Out of 5): 3.5

Is this my first time hearing this album?No (36/149)

Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%


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