Johnny Cash At San Quentin (Legacy Edition) – Pitchfork Review

The fine folks at Pitchfork have posted a really nice review of the Legacy 2-CD 1-DVD release of Johnny Cash’s performance at California’s oldest state prison, San Quentin.

An excerpt: Cash’s decision to strum up a jail probably had as much to do with his own burgeoning mythology– the Man in Black, the cold-blooded killer, the anti-Nashville rebel– than any desire to remedy the U.S. prison system (although Cash did eventually actively advocate prison reform, meeting with President Richard Nixon in July 1972). All the ethical snafus inherent to the deed– it’s easy to argue that Cash exploited the convicts’ plight to buoy his own rep, or to sympathize with the families of the prisoners’ victims, who might not want to see their loved ones’ killer clapping his hands to “A Boy Named Sue”– are hard to dismiss, but At San Quentin is still a spectacular musical performance, one of the most mesmerizing live records in American history.

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