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Behind Prison Walls

Johnny Cash

Year: 1975

Runtime: 00:50:04

The late Man in Black headlines this 1976 televised concert, shot inside the Tennessee State Prison and featuring post-hippie chanteuse Linda Ronstadt, country picker Roy Clark, and, rather incongruously, tuxedo-ed comedian Foster Brooks, whose '70s drunk act was often funny on, say, Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast, but seems a little wrong for an audience of felons.
Ronstadt is surely appreciated for her short skirt and sweet pop-blues (her "Love Has No Pride" nears epic intensity), and Clark's showmanship works with kitsch like "Orange Blossom Special." But it's Cash's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," Folsom Prison Blues," and famously bloody "Boy Named Sue" that resonate most powerfully with his, uh, captive audience. There's a touch of condescension toward the prisoners in some stage patter and song choices: Sure, Ronstadt had a hit with "Desperado" at the time, but here it sounds like she's wagging her finger at the crowd.

Johnny Cash Available In:

Rock, Country, Blues, Singer Songwriter

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