Presents: A Concert Behind Prison Walls
Johnny Cash is well-known for, some would say defined by, his two classic prison albums – but when he went to seed for a while there across the 1970s and 1980s he continued on with prison concerts, doing a good deed even if he was in permanent cruise-control mode.
Here his is the big name on the marquee but this concert also includes Linda Ronstadt (a very big deal at the time, and so easy to see – and hear – why) and Roy Clark as well as a comedy monologue from the wonderful Foster Brooks.
It’s hardly a show of surprises, though it was cool to see Brooks turn from his comedy-drunk to handing in a more than decent version of the song Half As Much.
Ronstadt is the real star, arguably. Singing The Eagles’ Desperado (her version being far easier to take) and her big hit You’re No Good. She also returns for a great Silver Threads And Golden Needles. And Roy Clark entertains with Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, That Honeymoon Feeling and Shuckin’ The Corn.
But the Man in Black still has something – a huge star value, his mythology tucked in the back pocket always, even if just needed to wipe his brow with on occasion.. And he opens the show with his Folsom Prison Blues, Kristofferson’s Sunday Morning Coming Down and a rarer gem in the song Jacob Green. He returns to bookend the show with Hey Porter, Orange Blossom Special and the closer, A Boy Named Sue.
I like that these old videos are available again – looking and sounding as good as possible on DVD. But then, I can say that. I didn’t have to pay for it. (Paying only with my time). This only lasts 60 minutes. But fans will figure it worth the punt. And they’d be right I reckon.