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Johnny Cash - At San Quentin (2000) Retail CD
At San Quentin was released as a single-disc expanded edition in 2000 bearing the subtitle "The Complete Concert," so the appearance of the triple-disc Legacy Edition of the album a mere six years later brings up one simple question: if the 2000 edition was complete at a single disc, how is this set more complete? The answer is both complicated and simple. First, one disc of this three-disc set is a DVD containing the hour-long documentary about this concert shot for Granada TV in the U.K. and originally aired in 1969. Second, the 2000 CD more or less contained the entirety of Johnny Cash's portionmore… of the concert, but this contains the entire concert, which means that it has performances from the other three acts on the tour: Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers, and the Carter Family. This, along with some extended audience chatter, accounts for the great majority of the previously unreleased material on these two discs: nine of the 13 previously unreleased cuts fall into this category, leaving only four Johnny Cash tracks that didn't show up on the previous reissue. All four songs are at the same level of excellence as the previously released At San Quentin music: there's a seamless medley of "The Long Black Veil" and "Give My Love to Rose," a rampaging "Orange Blossom Special," an excellent duet between Johnny and June Carter on "Jackson," and the very funny, very quick bawdy "Blistered." But Cash wasn't the only act on fire at San Quentin that night; his touring partners all turned in great moments, as they functioned as opening acts, intermissions, and support for Cash. The Carter Family sings both traditional ("Wildwood Flower") and new ("Break My Mind") tunes, the Statler Brothers serve up their hit "Flowers on the Wall" and Glen Campbell's "Less of Me" with equal aplomb, and Carl Perkins is in prime form, tearing up "Restless" and the instrumental "The Outside Looking In" with some wild, ragged guitar. It's all great music, but in this incarnation, At San Quentin doesn't have the pace of a record album, the way that both the original ten-track 1969 album and the 2000 CD did. With all this additional material -- including a bunch of stage patter -- this version of At San Quentin does feel like a re-creation of the original concert, so it ebbs and flows in its momentum as musicians circle on and off the stage, and it isn't quite as grabbing as the judiciously edited albums, which cut out the filler this CD purposely puts back. It makes for an interesting historical document; it's easy to forget that Cash toured with this kind of revue and it's a bit of a revelation to hear him as a ringmaster to this revolving-door country music carnival, and his offhand, sometimes off-color jokes about the water, the prison, and his backstage stash of pills are all welcome reminders of his sense of humor, something that can be overshadowed by the mythos of the Man in Black. But this At San Quentin, like the two previous At San Quentin albums, illustrates just what a complex, dynamic personality Johnny Cash was, while being a hell of a lot of fun. The 2000 CD is still the choice for those who just want the best of Cash himself, but for listeners who want to immerse themselves within the total experience of the concert -- from reliving it via the CDs or through the documentary -- this is certainly worth buying again.
|1||Big River [#][*]|
|2||I Still Miss Someone [#][*]|
|3||Wreck of the Old '97|
|4||I Walk the Line|
|6||I Don't Know Where I'm Bound [#][*]|
|7||Starkville City Jail|
|11||Boy Named Sue|
|12||Peace in the Valley|
|13||Folsom Prison Blues [#][*]|
|14||Ring of Fire [#][*]|
|15||He Turned the Water into Wine [#][*]|
|16||Daddy Sang Bass [#][*]|
|17||Old Account Was Settled Long Ago [#][*]|
|18||Closing Medley: Folsom Prison Blues/I Walk the Line/Ring of Fire/The R|
- Johnny Cash - At San Quentin (2000) Retail CD
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- 26/04/07 by Menta
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