How Johnny Cash’s Raw 1968 Performance at Folsom Prison Reinvigorated His Flailing Music Career

The very knowledgeable music essayist Polyphonic takes a look at the iconic Johnny Cash live album At Folson Prison, which was recorded live in 1968 at the prison itself. Cash’s performance at that show was so honest, real and raw that translated onto the album and played very well with his new audience. The album’s incredible popularity put Cash back on top of his game, after falling so low due to his ongoing drug and alcohol habit.

It’s a rare experience when you’re listening to at Folsom Prison. You are one of the prisoners, you’re locked behind impenetrable granite walls and Johnny is singing to you about your life experience. And that’s why at Folsom Prison is so important. It encouraged people to think outside of their own experience. At a time rife with counter cultural movements it gave a voice to one group that was truly on the fringes of society and by doing this Cash kicked off a whole new era in his career.Folsom was more successful than anyone could have possibly imagined.