Sunday, February 24, 2013

Johnny Cash At San Quentin (2-24-69)

On February 24, 1969 Johnny Cash recorded another LIVE album at another prison: JOHNNY CASH AT SAN QUENTIN. Because his previous album, JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON, had done so well the year before, he and his label (Columbia) decided to again record his concert. It was the absolutely right decision.  

During this concert, Johnny performed the novelty song, "A Boy Named Sue" for the first time in concert. It was written by Shel Silverstein (of A Giving Tree fame) and Johnny had only heard of it at a recent jam session with Silverstein and other guitarists. According to Silverstein, the song idea came from one of his friends whose name was "Jean." Johnny included it in his set to see what the reaction would be; you can see in the video below that he continually references the notes on this band stand because he had not memorized it yet. When the reaction to the song proved good, the decision was made to release it as a single. It eventually became the biggest pop hit of Johnny Cash's career and helped jump-start his career going into the Seventies.

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