Johnny Cash - At San Quentin (The Complete 1969 Concert)
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At San Quentin (The Complete 1969 Concert) (Sony Legacy, 2000)

Johnny Cash

Reviewed by Ken Burke

This spate of repackaged material (with more to come) smartly underscores Johnny Cash's irreplaceable value and brings fresh focus to songs both familiar and forgotten.

The refurbished 1969 San Quentin LP contains 8 remarkable previously unreleased tracks, which fans have waited too long to hear. Moreover, this release documents the precise moment when the Man In Black became a bona fide American icon. Alternating off-the-cuff profanity with gospel sincerity, Cash identifies with his audience's dark thirsts while trying to point them towards salvation in song. No other artist has ever worked this type of balancing act with such understanding and authority.

Cash charges through some Sun era rockabilly, reprises a few Columbia hits and even tests out some new material, most notably one of his classic hits Shel Silverstein's "A Boy Named Sue." Fresh from the "Nashville Skyline" sessions, Bob Dylan contributes the brazen "Wanted Man," which is topped by convict Tim Cuttie's soul-searing ballad "I Don't Know Where I'm Bound." The execution is not always perfect, but a strong thread of rebel spirit and anti-authoritarian humor runs through the entire show.

If looking for the one set which truly personifies his talents and appeal, the San Quentin set is the best introduction to the world of Johnny Cash.

CDs by Johnny Cash

Koncert v Praze (In Prague-Live), 2016 Man In Black: Live in Denmark 1971, 2015 Out Among the Stars, 2014 Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth, 2012 From Memphis To Hollywood, 2011 American VI: Ain't No Grave, 2010 Johnny Cash's America CD/DVD, 2008 At Folsom Prison: Legacy Edition, 2008 The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1978 DVD, 2008 The Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1979 DVD, 2008 At San Quentin, 2006 American V: A Hundred Highways, 2006 Personal File, 2006 The Johnny Cash Children's Album, 2006 The Legend, 2005

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