Johnny Cash at the Carousel Ballroom: Not an Average Archive Release
It’s not uncommon for news to come down the pike about the release of some archival audio footage by a bygone musical icon, usually comprised of songs we’ve already heard many versions of before, and from an era that has already been well-covered. But the case if this upcoming release of a previously-unheard 1968 Johnny Cash concert is anything but ordinary; it’s certainly something to get excited about.
On April 24th, 1968, Johnny Cash, new wife June Carter, and the Tennessee Three showed up in the heart and at the height of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury for a performance at The Carousel Ballroom operated by none other than The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. On site at the time was the reclusive and highly-regarded recording engineer Owsley “Bear” Stanley to capture the 28-song set.
Owsley Stanley is the guy responsible for many of The Grateful Dead’s most legendary live recordings. He also was the chemist that supplied LSD to The Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, The Beatles, and others, and financed the Dead through his LSD business. Jerry Garcia may have been known as “Captain Trips,” but Stanley was known as “The King of Acid.” He also was the Dead’s sound engineer for years, and orchestrated their legendary “Wall of Sound” that made them such a massive concert draw for decades.
On September 24th, Owsley Stanley’s recordings of Johnny Cash at the Carousel Ballroom will finally make it to the public on a CD/2LP set that features new essays by John Carter Cash, Owsley Stanley’s son Starfinder Stanley, the Dead’s Bob Weir, and Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools, as well as new art by Susan Archie, and a reproduction of the original gig poster by Steve Catron. It will also be available on all digital services.
What’s especially exciting about this unearthed recording is the time period from when it comes. It was recorded only three months after Johnny Cash’s iconic At Folsom Prison, and between that set an Cash’s next prison album At San Quentin. In other words, these recordings come from the era that many consider to be Cash’s most important, at least live. Johnny’s prison albums were responsible for revitalizing his career.
Along with featuring Tennessee Three members guitarist Luther Perkins, bassist Marshall Grant and drummer W.S. Holland, the 28-song set features the Bob Dylan compositions “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” and Cash’s earliest known recording of “One Too Many Mornings.”
Owsley Stanley’s approach to recording live music was legendary, and John Carter Cash calls the set, “what I believe to be one of the most intimate and connected shows I have ever heard.” You can hear that intimacy in the first track that’s been made available, “I’m Going to Memphis.” This 28-song release truly is the crossroads of two cultures at a critical time in the formation of popular music.
The full set’s out September 24th.
- Cocaine Blues
- Long Black Veil
- Orange Blossom Special
- Going to Memphis
- The Ballad of Ira Hayes
- Rock Island Line
- Guess Things Happen That Way
- One Too Many Mornings
- Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
- Give My Love to Rose
- Green, Green Grass of Home
- Old Apache Squaw
- Forty Shades of Green
- Bad News
- Tall Lover Man
- June’s Song Introduction
- Wildwood Flower
- Foggy Mountain Top
- This Land Is Your Land
- Wabash Cannonball
- Worried Man Blues
- Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man
- Ring of Fire
- Big River
- Don’t Take Your Guns to Town
- I Walk the Line
June 26, 2021 @ 11:01 am
I emailed the CMA two days ago on Thursday asking them when will they be announcing the 2021 Hall of Fame inductees and in their reply back to me, they said:
We haven’t yet announced the date for revealing the new class. Stay tuned to CMAworld.com or our social platforms for the latest.
What do you think?.
June 26, 2021 @ 12:42 pm
I think we continue to wait until they’re ready to make their announcement.
June 26, 2021 @ 1:00 pm
Set list twice as long as you kitties play today. Y’all have no marbles.
June 26, 2021 @ 1:18 pm
Can we blame the panning on the LSD or no?
June 26, 2021 @ 4:26 pm
I will own this. It’s bound to be everybody’s Album Of The Year. I mean EVERYBODY’S.
June 26, 2021 @ 4:33 pm
This period in Johnny’s career perhaps encapsulates why the Man In Black was such an important ambassador for country music at a time when the youth of the world regarded the genre as reactionary and, for lack of a better term, Establishment. The fact that he would get such an enthusiastic crowd (even if some were more loaded than a two-dollar pistol) for this recording, in the heart of hippiedom no less, speaks to his ability to appeal to all ages and demographics in a way that few others in the genre had done before, or would do after (IMHO).
June 27, 2021 @ 1:13 am
This is one to look forward to.
June 27, 2021 @ 5:53 am
Another Million seller?
June 27, 2021 @ 6:11 am
I wonder it was never released before?
June 27, 2021 @ 11:51 am
Johnny Cash is just as important to American music as God is to biology..
June 30, 2021 @ 5:01 am
Im definitely looking forward to this. I listened to I’m going to Memphis and it really sounds great for what I would call an average song.
February 15, 2023 @ 10:24 pm
A great album that belongs in everyone’s classic rock collection.
Most of the songs are from his previous studio albums of the 60’s & you can feel the connection,
but without Carl Perkins, The Statler Brothers, the trumpets(his song on the radio @ the time reaching #2 on the country charts “Rosanna’s Going Wild”)
& others like “Put The Sugar To Bed” & “You Beat
All I Ever Saw” and of course “Jackson”
The reputation of the place was keep an eye on your beverage cause you might get something dropped in it.
I think Stanley dosed them & let the tapes roll resulting in a great Johnny Cash record making it three live albums recorded in California in one year.