Uncut - p.1184 stars out of 5
-- "At Folsom, he found his most captive audience. He reached perilously deep inside, playing off the taut atmosphere in the prison hall to deliver one of his most electrifying and empathetic performances."
2 LPs on 1 CD: AT FOLSOM PRISON (1968)/AT SAN QUENTIN (1969).
Combined here on one disc are both of Cash's famous live "prison albums" of the '60s. Cash has always been a champion of the underdog, as well as cultivating a bit of a badass image (a veneer not harmed by some well-publicized troubles with the law), so these live performances for the prisoners of the Folsom and San Quentin penitentiaries seem more like a preacher delivering a sermon to a faithful parish than a do-gooder slumming in the prison system.
Each concert includes a song tailor-made for the event. "San Quentin" is sung from the point of view of a long-time inmate who bears the psychic scars of incarceration. "Folsom Prison Blues," one of Cash's signature songs, is Cash's most cold-eyed examination of the sociopathic criminal mind, containing the famous line "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." Tunes like these naturally endear Cash to his captive audience, but the prisoners are equally enthused by the humorous, Shel Silverstein-penned "A Boy Named Sue," the sad, romantic "I Still Miss Someone" and the uproarious, Best Country Song Title of All Time-award winner "Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart."