At Madison Square Garden

At Madison Square Garden

4.5 2
by Johnny Cash

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Recorded December 5, 1969, but unreleased until now, At Madison Square Garden captures Johnny Cash and his traveling troupe -- which included Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers, the Carter Family, and Cash's brother Tommy -- on a peak night. The set spotlights Cash'sSee more details below


Recorded December 5, 1969, but unreleased until now, At Madison Square Garden captures Johnny Cash and his traveling troupe -- which included Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers, the Carter Family, and Cash's brother Tommy -- on a peak night. The set spotlights Cash's finest attributes -- not only in his authoritative performances but also in the sculpting of a show that's a sweeping history of American roots music. Much of the essential Cash canon is performed -- "Folsom Prison Blues," "Big River," "A Boy Named Sue," "Ring of Fire," "I Walk the Line," et al. -- and Cash is never less than captivating, whether he's singing or talking to the audience with a singular ease and intimacy. Cash isn't the whole story, though. Perkins offers up a fierce take on his "Blue Suede Shoes"; the Statlers chime in with the fanciful "Flowers on the Wall"; and the Carter Family, with Mother Maybelle singing a weathered lead, bring chills with their renditions of "Wildwood Flower" and "Worried Man Blues." The gospel interlude -- featuring "He Turned the Water into Wine," "Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)," and the joyous finale on Perkins' "Daddy Sang Bass" -- is deep and moving. And in a touching tribute, Cash performs a new song in honor of its composer, Kenny Jones, Helen Carter's 16-year-old son who had recently perished in a car accident. Jones had written the poignant "Sing a Traveling Song" when he was 14, and Cash gives it an emotional reading worthy of a wistful lyric about a rootless man. At Madison Square Garden doesn't have the intense performer-audience interaction of Cash's San Quentin and Folsom Prison albums, but in its own way, it's a more memorable outing. Mark it essential.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Not released until 2002, all 26 of these songs -- adding up to a generous 77 minutes -- were recorded at Cash's successful show at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 5, 1969. Two best-selling live late-'60s Cash albums, At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin, have long been available, and it will be pretty difficult for this to dislodge those in prominence among those scouting for live material in the Cash catalog. Still, it's a good document of Cash as he reached the apex of his mainstream popularity. Also, its setting in a large, popular venue by itself guaranteed that the ambience would be somewhat different than it would be on the two aforementioned live albums, both recorded in prisons. While Cash has a full band (including Carl Perkins on electric guitar and his longtime associate Marshall Grant on bass), the sound, to its credit, remains spare. The sound is not amazingly top-of-the-line, but it's pretty good, and the repertoire is extremely varied, taking in oldies like "Big River," "I Still Miss Someone," "Long Black Veil," and "Folsom Prison"; his then-recent smashes "Boy Named Sue" and "Daddy Sang Bass"; the Americana and Native American advocacy of songs like "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" and "Remember the Alamo"; the spiritual "Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord"); and Ed McCurdy's anti-war folk revival tune "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream." There are also guest star turns for Carl Perkins (who does "Blue Suede Shoes"), the Statler Brothers (who do their hit "Flowers on the Wall"), and the Carter Family, whose two songs are actually vivacious highlights of the disc, and a good change of pace from Cash's customary low chug. Between-song raps on the Vietnam War, prison, and other topics testify to Cash's ability to reach out to all stripes of his constituency, though the finale medley (and the bits near the end announcing the renewal of his TV show and explaining pregnant June Carter's absence) are a tad showbizzy.

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Product Details

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Related Subjects


  1. Big River  - Johnny Cash
  2. I Still Miss Someone  - Johnny Cash
  3. Five Feet High and Rising  - Johnny Cash
  4. Pickin' Time  - Johnny Cash
  5. Remember the Alamo  - Johnny Cash
  6. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream  - Johnny Cash
  7. Wreck of the Old '97  - Johnny Cash
  8. Long Black Veil  - Johnny Cash
  9. The Wall  - Johnny Cash
  10. Send a Picture of Mother  - Johnny Cash
  11. Folsom Prison Blues  - Johnny Cash
  12. Blue Suede Shoes  - Carl Perkins
  13. Flowers on the Wall  -  Statler Brothers
  14. Wildwood Flower  - Johnny Cash
  15. Worried Man Blues  - Johnny Cash
  16. A Boy Named Sue  - Johnny Cash
  17. Cocaine Blues  - Johnny Cash
  18. Jesus Was a Carpenter  - Johnny Cash
  19. The Ballad of Ira Hayes  - Johnny Cash
  20. As Long as the Grass Shall Grow  - Johnny Cash
  21. Sing a Traveling Song  - Anita Carter
  22. He Turned the Water into Wine  - Anita Carter
  23. Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?  - Johnny Cash
  24. Daddy Sang Bass  - Johnny Cash
  25. Finale Medley: Do What You Do, Do Well/I Walk the Line/Ring of Fire  -  Statler Brothers
  26. Suppertime  - Johnny Cash

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Cash   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Carter Family   Guitar,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Carl Perkins   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Lew DeWitt   Vocals
Anita Carter   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Tommy Cash   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Announcer,Guest Appearance
Mother Maybelle Carter   Guitar,Vocals
Statler Brothers   Vocals
Marshall Grant   Bass
Don Reed   Vocals
Bob Wootton   Electric Guitar
W.S. Holland   Drums
Helen Carter   Guitar,Vocals
Philip Balsley   Vocals
Robbie Harden   Guitar,Vocals
Harold Reid   Vocals
Bob Wooton   Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Norman Blake   Composer
Johnny Cash   Composer
Ed McCurdy   Composer
Shel Silverstein   Composer
Carl Perkins   Composer
Bob Johnson   Composer
Peter La Farge   Composer
Lew DeWitt   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Bob Johnston   Producer
Marijohn Wilkin   Composer
Alfred G. Aronowitz   Liner Notes
Quaglieri   Producer
Danny Dill   Composer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Ira F. Stanphill   Composer
J.D. Cash   Arranger
Roy Cash   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Lou Robin   Liner Notes
Abe Vélez   Package Manager
T.J. "Red" Arnall   Composer

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