At Madison Square Garden

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
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.
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

  • Release Date: 8/27/2002
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998680821
  • Catalog Number: 86808
  • Sales rank: 89,277

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Johnny Cash Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
The 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
The 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
Johnny Cash Composer
Bob Johnston Producer
Alfred G. Aronowitz Liner Notes
Al Quaglieri Producer
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Darcy Proper Mastering
J.D. Cash Arranger
Lou Robin Liner Notes
Abe Vélez Package Manager
T.J. "Red" Arnall Composer
H. Howard Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a great choice for any Cash fan

    good selection of songs; neat to listen to him speak; live performance a good format

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic unreleased 1969 live show

    Having released live albums in 1968 ("At Folsom Prison") and 1969 ("At San Quentin"), this previously unreleased 1969 live show from New York¿s Madison Square Garden still manages to illuminate another side of Cash¿s performance. Given the pressure of the prison shows, not to mention their tailor-made set lists, this recording finds Cash less on-edge, providing a more accurate rendering of his then-current stage show. Everyone but a very pregnant June Carter Cash is on-board, including the Tennessee Three (Marshall Grant, W.S. Holland and Bob Wooten), Carl Perkins, Tommy Cash, The Statler Brothers and The Carter Family (including Mother Maybelle, and daughters Helen and Anita). The set list covers many of Cash¿s most beloved songs (including a quartet of prison tunes, and a barn-burning take of "Wreck of the Old 97"), plus a generous helping of historical and folk classics, including Jane Bowers "Remember the Alamo" (recorded throughout the ¿50s and ¿60s by The Kingston Trio, Donovan, Willie Nelson and others). He provides contemporary commentary about the Vietnam War ("when you watch the helicopters bringing in the wounded, that might make you a dove with claws") and sings Ed McCurdy¿s "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" (a standard of the ¿60s folk revival, sung by The Weavers, Chad Mitchell, and Simon & Garfunkel, among others). The ease and confidence with which Cash presents himself on stage is astounding, and more in evidence than in the live prison recordings. Spoken introductions to songs like "Five Feet High and Rising" pull everything together into a seamless presentation. Similarly, Cash¿s generous revue staging allows his compatriots -- each headliners in their own right -- to shine brightly. Carl Perkin¿s blazes through "Blue Suede Shoes," The Statler Brothers sing a lively version of their crossover hit "Flowers on the Wall," and the Carter Family performs a beautiful pair of songs from A.P. Carter¿s catalog ("Wildwood Flower" "Worried Man Blues"). Cash¿s sister-in-law, Helen Carter, provides a wonderfully warm introduction to the Carter Family segment. The closing medley provides each member of the troupe a chance to give their twist on a Cash landmark. Johnny and his brother Tommy sing "Do What You Do, Do Well," The Carter Family sings "I Walk the Line," The Statler Brothers take on "Ring of Fire," and Carl Perkins finds the rockabilly heart of "Folsom Prison Blues." Cash closes out the show with a snippet of "The Rebel - Johnny Yuma," and yet another reprise of "Folsom Prison Blues." The crowd¿s thunderous applause draws an encore of "Suppertime." This is a beautiful (and generous: 77 minute!) stereo recording of a stage master at the peak of his powers, singing and speaking to an enthusiastic sell-out crowd. It is at once incredibly intimate and incredibly grand. The only improvement would have been to release it 33 years ago!

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