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Ghost Canyon

Title - Johnny Cash - At the Carousel Ballroom [2LP]
Artist - Johnny Cash

For those unaware, 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, captures the Man in Black at the height of his charismatic powers.

Confidently departing from the more formalized 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.

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 recognize it as one of a handful of the most significant performances he’d captured.

Side A:
1. Cocaine Blues
2. Long Black Veil
3. Going To Memphis
4. The Ballad Of Ira Hayes
5. Rock Island Line

The first side opens on the gently buoyant Cocaine Blues and the mournful Long Black Veil (which he actually performed on the very first episode of The Johnny Cash Show in 1969), and then we get melodious storytelling of Going To Memphis, Side A rounding out on the Peter LaFarge-written The Ballad Of Ira Hayes and Lead Belly’s rambunctious Rock Island Line.

Side B:
6. Guess Things Happen That Way
7. One Too Many Mornings
8. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
9. Give My Love To Rose
10. Green, Green Grass Of Home
11. Old Apache Squaw
12. Lorena

The flip side of this newly-created double vinyl LP set opens on the foot-tapping Guess Things Happen That Way and then we get a couple Bob Dylan-written cuts in the form of One Too Many Mornings and Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right which are in turn backed by the prisoner’s love story within Give My Love To Rose, the second side closing on the Claude “Curly” Putman Jr.-written Green, Green Grass Of Home and the upbeat Old Apache Squaw and then the antebellum song Lorena.

Side C:
1. Forty Shades Of Green
2. Bad News
3. Jackson (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
4. Tall Lover Man (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
5. June Carter Medley

The next vinyl LP from the double set now on the turntable, and things kick off with Cash’s song about Ireland, Forty Shades Of Green and devilishly fun Bad News, and then the tempo is cranked right up for a song written in 1963 by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Leiber, and sung here by both Johnny and June, Jackson, with this third side rounding out on the primarily June-sung Tall Lover Man and then a truly delightful, albeit short selection of June’s tracks, simply entitled June Carter Medley.

Side D:
6. Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
7. Ring Of Fire
8. Big River
9. Don’t Take Your Guns To Town
10. I Walk The Line

Flipping the vinyl over and we next get a track written by Johnny Cash’s bass player Marshall Grant, Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man (again sung with June), before Johnny goes solo for the wondrous run in of Ring Of Fire (although, weirdly, it was actually written by June and Merle Kilgore), the early days, rockabilly hit Big River (released as a single by Sun Records in 1958), the brilliantly informative Don’t Take Your Guns To Town (from the 1962 TV pilot ’Night Rider’ - in which Johnny stars as Johnny Laredo), the whole collection coming to a righteous close on I Walk The Line (which was written as Johnny’s promise to remain faithful to his first wife, Vivian, while he was on the road).

This previously-unheard concert from the Carousel Ballroom in 1968 features Johnny Cash along with his wife, June and the Tennessee Three (Luther Perkins-guitar, Marshall Grant-bass, W.S. Holland-drums) playing for the Hippies in the heart of the Haight-Ashbury.

“I don’t think there are any live recordings of Johnny that weren’t originally intended to be an album. So to be able to stumble across such a live recording during such a golden era for him, and find that it was recorded in such a dynamic way, is incredible.”

“It’s an opportunity to show Johnny in a new light. When John Carter Cash heard the first fifteen seconds of this recording, he recognized it as something significant. It has a three-dimensional, dynamic quality that a lot of live music from that era does not have.” - Josh Matas, on behalf of the John R. Cash Trust.

Available in CD, all analog Double LP Vinyl, and Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set featuring: a vintage Johnny Cash Comic Book, colored vinyl, original concert poster and more.

Extensive liner notes include musings on Johnny Cash from contributors Bob Weir, John Carter Cash, and Dave Schools.

Original artwork by 3x Grammy-winner Susan Archie and Digital master by Jeffrey Norman, long-time collaborator with the Grateful Dead and Owsley Stanley.

For vinyl, all analog master by Bear’s collaborator Paul Stubblebine.

“A masterpiece. Dad gave what I believe to be one of the most intimate and connected shows I have ever heard.” – John Carter Cash.

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