Stephen Chapman

The second incarnation of my blog

Rolling Stone top 100 albums: #88 Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

Based on the top 100 albums in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500, I have set myself the challenge of hearing and appraising each album. I hope to be surprised and educated along the way.

At number 88 is by the late Johnny Cash. At Folsom Prison was recorded live in the prison and was Cash’s 27th album.  Two shows were recorded on January 13th 1968 and the resulting album consisted of 15 tracks from the first show and 2 tracks from the second.

This is the second true country album in the top 100 after Hank Willliams at number 94.

The opening track Folsom Prison Blues features the line “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” which I find a bit unnecessary and included to get a reaction. After the first few tracks, you get a good idea how the album will pan out. It’s a fine example of well recorded and performed live country music, but should it really be in the list of the best albums? The audience love the music and especially the lyrics which are well constructed and mainly tell stories about lost love, being a criminal or both. There’s also an obsession with men being hanged.

I had heard only a couple of the songs before, but it feels like you’ve heard them all before.  After a while the bom-ching-ching-bom-ching-ching rhythm becomes a bit boring. There are no surprises here other than the banter between (and sometimes during) songs with the audience.  It’s not bad, it’s just not very interesting!

My rating: 5/10

Listen to the album via Spotify here.

See the Top 100 here.

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This entry was posted on January 7, 2014 by in music and tagged , , .

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