After a tumultuous 1967 for Johnny Cash, the year 1968 was bookended by what would become his two iconic, highest-grossing albums, At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin. But now, fifty-three years later, a lost chapter has emerged to enrich and complement the story of that very good year.
Johnny Cash At The Carousel Ballroom recorded on April 24th, 1968 in San Francisco, captures the man in black at the height of his charismatic powers. Confidently departing from the more formalised setlist he’d been doing, we hear him in playful and powerful dialogue with his new bride June Carter and his longtime musicians—guitarist Luther Perkins, bassist Marshall Grant and drummer W.S. Holland—connecting with an audience more accustomed to the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, who were among the collective of artists who had briefly operated the venue, which later became the Fillmore West.
On October 29th 2021, the entire historic concert recording ‘Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24th, 1968’ will be released by the Owsley Stanley Foundation and Renew Records/BMG.
What makes the performance even more significant is that it was recorded by the innovative sound wizard Owsley “Bear” Stanley in a verité style that startles with a clarity and dimension missing from the two more well-known releases. In 1968, it was just another entry in Bear’s continuing “sonic journal” of recorded shows, a means to keep improving his art. But thirty years later, Stanley would recognise it as one of a handful of the most significant performances he’d captured and there began its journey to a commercial release.
Considered a sonic pioneer and unconventional genius, Stanley’s mix captures Cash’s unadorned voice entirely on the right channel and the Tennessee Three all on the left; setting the listener right between Johnny and his band as if they were centre stage at the Carousel. It’s been deemed “probably the closest to what it actually sounded like to be in the audience for a Johnny Cash show in 1968” and proves once again why the avant garde techniques of Stanley (also the architect of The Grateful Dead’s “Wall of Sound”) are accepted as gospel today.
At The Carousel Ballroom will be released widely on all digital formats by Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, on October 29th. It will also be available on CD/2LP from Renew Records/BMG with new essays by Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son John Carter Cash, Starfinder Stanley, The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, and Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools, as well as new art by Susan Archie, and a reproduction of the original Carousel Ballroom concert poster by Steve Catron. This release marks the latest entry in the Owsley Stanley Foundation’s ‘Bear’s Sonic Journals’ series, which has previously included Stanley’s live recordings of The Allman Brothers Band, Tim Buckley, Doc & Merle Watson and many more.
1. Cocaine Blues
2. The Long Black Veil
3. Orange Blossom Special
4. I’m Going to Memphis
5. The Ballad of Ira Hayes
6. Rock Island Line
7. Guess Things Happen That Way
8. One Too Many Mornings
9. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
10. Give My Love to Rose
11. Green, Green Grass of Home
12. Old Apache Squaw
14. Forty Shades of Green
15. Bad News
17. Tall Lover Man
18. June’s Song Introduction
19. Wildwood Flower
20. Foggy Mountain Top
21. This Land Is Your Land
22. Wabash Cannonball
23. Worried Man Blues
24. Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man
25. Ring of Fire
26. Big River
27. Don’t Take Your Guns to Town
28. I Walk the Line
For more information, visit JohnnyCash.com