At Folsom Prison is a live album by Johnny Cash at Folsom prison, released on Columbia Records in May 1968. After his 1955 song “Folsom Prison Blues”, Cash had been interested in recording a performance at a prison. His idea was put on hold until 1967, when personnel changes at Columbia Records put Bob Johnston in charge of producing Cash’s material.
Johnny Cash became interested in Folsom State Prison, California, while serving in the United States Air Force Security Service. In 1953, his unit watched Crane Wilbur’s 1951 film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison. The film inspired Cash to write a song that reflected his perception of prison life. The result was “Folsom Prison Blues”, Cash’s second single on Sun Records. The song became popular among inmates, who would write to Cash, requesting him to perform at their prisons. Cash’s first prison performance was at Huntsville State Prison in 1957.
Cash decided to hold two performances on January 13, one at 9:40 AM and one at 12:40 PM, in case the first performance was unsatisfactory. After an introduction by MC Hugh Cherry, who encouraged the prisoners to “respond” to Cash’s performance, Carl Perkins took the stage and performed his hit song “Blue Suede Shoes”. Following this song, the Statler Brothers sang their hit “Flowers on the Wall” and the country standard “This Old House”. Cherry returned to the stage and instructed the inmates not to cheer for Cash until he introduced himself; they obliged.
Cash opened both shows with a rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues”, followed by many songs about prison, including “The Wall”, “Green, Green Grass of Home”, and the gallows humor song “25 Minutes to Go”.
You can listen to more music from Johnny Cash on the radio station: Johhny Cash Radio