Friday, 14 April 2017

Records You Must Have In Your Collection: #1

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. 

I have a tendency to profess my love for Johnny Cash in just about every situation in which his name arises. Some call it an obsession? I like to call it devotion.

Before sitting down and listening to Johnny Cash, my musical interests lay far from the realms of country music. But Mr Cash wasn't just about the music, he captured the ideas of a nation in a wholly mesmerising way - separating himself from the tailgate sitting, whiskey drinking, female objectifying country singers of the current day. He is integral to the rich history of the powerhouse that was Sun Records. Frontiering the seminal Memphis music scene, he (slowly, but surely) gained his place as one of the four founding fathers of rockabilly music - the others being Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis...but they're a story for another time. 

Having taken interest in Folsom Prison during his US military career, the Man in Black based this titular track purely on his perception of the jailhouse; although he idealised himself as the country music outlaw, he never actually served a prison sentence for the entire duration of his career. That being said, when his music career began to wane - partly due to his ongoing addiction with prescription drugs - he decided that performing in a prison was the best way to restore his somewhat dwindling fanbase. The most badass comeback in music history? You can be the judge. 

This is undoubtedly Mr Cash's best album. Stripped back to the bare bones of his outlaw roots, he dismisses all of his vulnerabilities and provides the listener with everything that they could possibly want to hear; raw passion. Knowing that the cheering screams in the background came from a room packed with Folsom inmates just adds to the energy of the track. He never once backs down, nor emanates any signs of trepidation. In fact, what puts this album above the rest is Cash's shining personality which underpins almost every track. 

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