At Folsom Prison, one of the strongest musical statements in a cache of them by the legendary Johnny Cash, is now available on MP3 format from Amazon this month for only $5.00. (The CD is currently $5.99 and is an AutoRip, which means with the CD purchase you’ll also get a FREE MP3 download of the entire album.)
Raw, unpolished, almost aurally voyeuristic in its approach, this record definitely has a fly on the wall sense to it. Recorded live at Folsom Prison, with an audience of inmates hanging and saluting every musical move Johnny makes with robust cheers, asides, and whoops, it’s not only a classic live album, but a great record recorded in the late 1960s and shows just how masterful Cash’s presence and musical acumen was at this point, even when singing songs that are charmingly primitive in their arrangements and makeup. No matter, Cash inflates each of them with a pained, aching sense; when he sings about being scorned (“Cocaine Blues”) or waiting to be hanged at the gallows (“25 Minutes To Go”) or the almost singalong quality to some of the songs (“Folsom Prison Blues”), he puts every shred and ounce of heart, muscle, blood, sweat, tears, and especially soul into it. There’s a reason why, even though he’s been gone for over ten years now, Johnny Cash is still highly revered as the bonafide legendary Man in Black that he is, and why he’s still a blindingly supernova figure in the past, present, and future of music. At Folsom Prison is one of the key records that affirms and reaffirms just why that is.
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