"Far from Folsom Prison that's where I long to stay Then I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away"
A powerful portrait of a legendary musician by a legendary photographer. Carefully curated with full access to the Jim Marshall Archive, this handsome oversized volume offers the definitive view of Johnny Cash's legendary prison concerts at Folsom in 1968 and San Quentin in 1969. Cash had been interested in recording a live album at a prison since his 1955 hit, "Folsom Prison Blues." The idea was put on hold for a few years until 1968, when Cash visited one of California's oldest maximum-security prisons to record his At Folsom Prison album. Cash had known Jim Marshall since the early 1960s and personally requested him to record the prison concert. Marshall was the only official photographer present, and was granted unlimited access.
Backed by June Carter, Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three, Cash performed two shows at Folsom. The resulting album was a hit in the United States, and reached Number One on the country charts and the top 15 of the national album chart. Its popularity revitalised Cash's career and led to a follow up album, At San Quentin, the following year. Again, Marshall was personally invited to document the concert. San Quentin became Cash's first album to hit Number One on the pop charts and both it and its predecessor remain two of the biggest selling live albums of all time.
From arriving off the bus outside the imposing prison walls, to shaking hands with prisoners (including Glen Sherley, who wrote the song "Greystone Chapel" sung by Cash), and performing until sweat dripped down his forehead, Marshall captured the passion, authority and intimacy of Cash's performances. His "JC Flippin' the Bird at San Quentin Prison" has become one of the most iconic and most-copied photographs of the 20th century and came about when Marshall asked Cash to express what he thought about the prison authorities: "John, let's do a shot for the warden."
Johnny Cash was one of Jim Marshall's favourite subjects and you can see this in his Folsom and San Quentin photographs. This body of work showcases some of the most arresting photographs of the country music star ever taken.