The Owsley Stanley Foundation offered another preview of the upcoming Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom live album on Thursday with “Cocaine Blues”. The song comes from The Man In Black’s April 24th, 1968 concert at the famous San Francisco venue, taped in full by Owsley “Bear” Stanley III. The next installment in the Bear’s Sonic Journals series is out on October 29th via The Owsley Stanley Foundation, Renew Records/BMG, and Legacy Recordings.
Ahead of Cash’s rendition of the song, he offhandedly said, “here’s another song from the show we did at Folsom prison. It’s in the album that’s out next week.” Nobody in the audience—nor anyone onstage be it Cash or the Tennessee Three—could have known that Cash was referring to what would become one of the most enduring live albums in popular music. His concert at the Carousel—which was operated in part by San Francisco rock royalty the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & The Holding Company, and more—came just two weeks before the seminal At Folsom Prison live album.
The historical significance of Cash’s performance aside, Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom is a unique musical document for Bear’s audio mixing techniques. The tapes feature Cash coming entirely out of the right speaker while the rest of the Tennessee Three emit fully from the left. This decision, while unorthodox, provides the closest audio experience to actually standing front and center in the Carousel 53 years ago and watching Cash perform.
Listen to the never-before-heard audio of Johnny Cash performing “Cocaine Blues” at the Carousel Ballroom on April 24th, 1968 via the player below or on your preferred streaming platform. Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24th, 1968 is available now to pre-order here. Vinyl and CD copies of the album, out October 29th, host new essays from 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.
Johnny Cash – “Cocaine Blues” – San Francisco, CA – 4/24/68
[Video: Johnny Cash]