By 1968, Cash was still a star, but he was a man with sometime to prove as he sought to rise from a career slump brought on by a battle with drugs that took a toll on his body and spirit. That year, Cash performed a concert for the inmates of California's Folsom Prison, and the show was recorded for a live album. Cash delivered one of the greatest performances of his life that day, stark and heartfelt and full of empathy for the broken souls listening to his music, and the album that resulted was a surprise hit, reestablishing Cash as one of country music's most powerful and respected artists. Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
I like the music of Johnny Cash, but I can't help but feel that since his death, there's been something of a tendency to over-lionise him. The story of his album recorded at Folsom prison, told in this documentary, is a case in point. Cash had started playing in prisons - he clearly sympathised with those behind bars - on one occasion he recorded his show - and that's really the whole story. It nay have been a great performance, but it's still hard to see what the narrative is really supposed to be, and this documentary doesn't help by being loaded up with talking heads who assert that (but don't illustrate how) Cash was a great but troubled man. The story of a prisoner he tried to help is a better (though more tragic) story, but feels like a side-track in the overall film. Best thing is to sit back and enjoy the music; but don't expect too much insight.
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