The next volume of the Bear’s Sonic Journals archival series won’t feature a vintage concert by the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, or Quicksilver Messenger Service. It won’t boast primal recordings by any members of the San Francisco countercultural movement at all. Instead, the next edition of Bear’s Sonic Journals will feature an April 24th, 1968 concert by Johnny Cash at San Francisco’s Carousel Ballroom as recorded by Owsley “Bear” Stanley III.
Out on September 23rd, Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24 1968 captures worlds colliding as outlaw country meets countercultural psychedelia. In a way, the worlds of The Man In Black and the hippie movement were destined to collide, as they both existed on the fringes of a society pre-determined to marginalize their existence and trivialize them down to an emphasis on drug use and overindulgence.
The timing of Cash’s Haight-Ashbury appearance came barely two weeks before the release of the singer-songwriter’s defining live document, At Folsom Prison. Six months later would see the release of the equally revered At San Quentin, and At The Carousel Ballroom completes a trifecta that defined Cash’s return to prominence. Whether playing for a room full of prisoners or a room full of flower children (some of which more than likely later became prisoners) showed Cash’s versatility in being able to connect with the common folk of the United States.
Along with Thursday’s announcement, The Owsley Stanley Foundation, in conjunction with Renew Records/BMG, has shared a preview of At The Carousel Ballroom with a live cut of “I’m Going To Memphis”. The tracklist hosts a flurry of Cash staples including the show-opening “Cocaine Blues”, “Orange Blossom Special”, “Big River”, a “Jackson” duet alongside his then-new bride June Carter Cash, and many more. Johnny also dug deep with covers of Bob Dylan including “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and his earliest known version of “One Too Many Mornings”. Listen to the track below.
Johnny Cash – “I’m Going To Memphis” – San Francisco, CA – 4/24/68
[Video: Johnny Cash]
The live album, which will be released on CD/2LP, features new essays by Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son John Carter Cash, Owsley Stanley’s son Starfinder Stanley, Bob Weir, and Dave Schools, as well as new art by Susan Archie, and a reproduction of the original Carousel Ballroom concert poster by Steve Catron. The release will also be widely available in all digital formats by Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment.
“When you hear this, you feel like you are on the stage with the band,” Starfinder said in a statement echoed by John Carter Cash, who described At The Carousel Ballroom as “what I believe to be one of the most intimate and connected shows I have ever heard.”
Scroll down to see a complete tracklist and album art for Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24th, 1968. The live album is available here for pre-order.
Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24th, 1968 Tracklist
1. Cocaine Blues
2. Long Black Veil
3. Orange Blossom Special (CD and Digital only)
4. Going to Memphis
5. The Ballad of Ira Hayes
6. Rock Island Line
7. Guess Things Happen That Way
8. One Too Many Mornings
9. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
10. Give My Love to Rose
11. Green, Green Grass of Home
12. Old Apache Squaw
14. Forty Shades of Green
15. Bad News
17. Tall Lover Man
18. June’s Song Introduction
19. Wildwood Flower
20. Foggy Mountain Top
21. This Land Is Your Land
22. Wabash Cannonball
23. Worried Man Blues
24. Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man
25. Ring of Fire
26. Big River
27. Don’t Take Your Guns to Town
28. I Walk the Line