Friday Five: “Folsom Prison Blues”

Ken Morton, Jr. | January 13th, 2012

On this day back in 1968, Johnny Cash reignited his career by doing a live recording of two shows at Folsom State Prison. Cash’s career had nearly flamed out with drug abuse problems. His song, “Folsom Prison Blues,” was 13 years old at the time of the concert and was the inspiration for the album recording in the first place. Already popular, that song became one of Cash’s signature songs. It would go on to be recorded by numerous different artists from Waylon Jennings to Everlast. And that brings us to today’s Friday Five: a playlist of all things “Folsom Prison Blues.”

5. Brooks and Dunn – “Folsom Prison Blues”

Brooks & Dunn covered the song on the 1994 album Red Hot + Country and brought an old familiar voice in at the end for a recitation.

 

4. Ernest Tubb – “Folsom Prison Blues”

Ernest Tubb covered the song on his 1969 album Saturday Satan Sunday Saint.

 

3. Merle Haggard – “Folsom Prison Blues”

Merle Haggard recorded the song on his 1968 Album Mama Tried. As a young man, the Hag saw Cash perform while he was in prison back in 1959.

 

2. Lester Flatt – “Folsom Prison Blues”

The dobro certainly adds a different touch to the classic. Lester and Earl Scruggs covered the song on their Nashville Airplane LP in 1968, and Flatt recorded his version of the song in ’71.

 

1. Bob Dylan – “Folsom Prison Blues”

Dylan performed the song first in 1967 and during the Nashville Skyline sessions in May 1969 but it has never been released commercially.

  1. Joe Roberts
    January 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    here’s a take of rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers doin his take of this tune

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF8xWzvBuIE

    well worth watching

  2. Joe Roberts
    January 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    or listening rather.. heh heh

  3. Paul W Dennis
    January 14, 2012 at 9:07 am

    There are many decent versions of the song. Charley Pride recorded the song in 1966 – two years before the song was revived by the JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON album. Conway Twitty did a decent version on his NEXT IN LINE album and Tommy Cash has recorded the song to excellent effect.

    Of the dozens of versions I’ve heard the worst is that Bob Dylan version you have posted above

  4. Rick
    January 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Sunny Sweeney loves to perform that song at her concerts these days because its badass like her. She explains first that she has a few relatives in jail, so it fits right in with her family history! (lol)

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