Special Programming

The Johnny Otis Show – December 29, 2007

this episode is no longer available

One-hour music intensive documentary looks back on Johnny Cash’s historic 1969 concert at San Quentin State Prison. It took Johnny Cash 12 years to record one of his live prison shows, but it wasn’t easy. He was threatened against doing it, warned it would ruin his career, but Cash’s instincts were dead on. He just went ahead and recorded at Folsom Prison in 1968 and never sounded so raw and alive. The live album was a huge hit, and followed by the even bigger "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" – his first #1 album on the pop charts.

In this hour we explore how Cash’s concert at San Quentin came about, went down and the wake it left behind. We hear Johnny Cash on the edge, plowing through well-known songs and premiering new ones that stated, "San Quentin, I hope you rot and burn in hell." Needless to say, he almost started a riot in a room full of very bad men. The program also features a few songs from the show not included on the original live album.

For an inside view, we’ll hear about prison life from the prisoners and prison guards, taken from the documentary "Johnny Cash in San Quentin." The original producer, Bob Johnston, speaks about the excitement and fear, as does Jim Marshall, photographer of the famous "Johnny flipping the bird at San Quentin" photo. We’ll also hear about Johnny Cash’s views on the lock-up from bassist Marshall Grant, son John Carter Cash, singer/songwriter Larry Gatlin and music writer Anthony DeCurtis.

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