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Ride That Train: Johnny Cash “Bootleg III” Takes the Live Route

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“Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day/And tell the world that everything’s okay.  But I’ll try to carry a little darkness on my back/Till things are brighter, I’m the Man in Black.”

And though Johnny Cash appeared as that Man in Black, immortalized in his song, he was in reality a man of many colors.  His music reflected a crucial empathy that guided his career as he embraced the various strains of America itself, both its people and its music.  Records preserve Cash walking with superstars and prisoners, each one just a man to Johnny.  Kicking off the CASH 80 birthday celebration – the singer would have hit that milestone on February 26, 2012 – Legacy Recordings is collecting 50 rare and unreleased performances as Bootleg Volume 3: Live Around the World, due on October 11.

These recordings, 39 of which have never been released before, capture a tireless musician with a social conscience.  Whether playing for the inmates of Sweden’s Osteraker Prison, the American troops stationed during an unpopular war in Vietnam, or even at the White House at the request of President Richard M. Nixon (an invite that’s easy to dismiss with irony today, but which speaks to Cash’s all-encompassing humanism and love of country), Cash gave his all.  There are other colors on display, too: the family man (The Carter Family Fold in 1976), the working recording artist (CBS Records’ 1973 convention) and the genre-blurring trailblazer (the 1964 Newport Folk Festival).  Bootleg 3 is a reminder of an artist who transcended and defied expectation and description. 

Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing!

The release of Bootleg Volume 3 precedes the October 18 publication date of House Of Cash: The Life, Legacy and Archives of The Man In Black (Insight Editions) written by Johnny’s son, John Carter Cash.  House Of Cash is part memoir, part biography and part personal remembrance of the man himself, including color and black and white photos, and numerous facsimile documents from the Cash archives.  The third Bootleg volume follows May 2006’s Personal File (Bootleg Volume 1) which introduced 49 privately-recorded solo tracks to the singer’s catalogue, and 2010’s From Memphis to Hollywood: Bootleg Volume 2, covering a star in the ascendant, via studio performances from 1954 to 1969 at both Sun and Columbia Records. 

Bootleg 3 offers performances at the following venues:

  • New River Ranch, a country hoe-down in rural Rising Sun, Maryland (1962);
  • Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island (July 1964);
  • Annex 14 NCO Club, Long Binh, Vietnam (USO tour, January 1969);
  • The White House, at President Nixon’s invitation (April 1970);
  • Osteraker Prison in Sweden (October 1972);
  • CBS Records Convention in Nashville (1973);
  • The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia (1976); and
  • Wheeling Jamboree in Wheeling, West Virginia (October 1976).

The longest set comes from the White House performance, with twelve songs showcasing Cash’s entire touring entourage.  All sides of Cash the performer are presented over these two discs, with performances nodding to contemporary singer/songwriters (Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down”) and folk favorites (Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” “Rock Island Line,” “Cotton Fields”).  There’s the delightful June Carter Cash duet on “Jackson” and dips into Cash’s own imitable songbook on “Hey Porter,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and of course, “I Walk the Line.” 

Gregg Geller and Steve Berkowitz produce the new set, while historian Dave Marsh contributes the liner notes to put the performances in perspective.  Tracing the live history of a performer whose music still continues to inspire generations of musicians in both the rock and country worlds alike, Bootleg 3 arrives in stores from Columbia and Legacy Recordings on October 11.

Johnny Cash, Bootleg Volume 3: Live Around the World (Columbia/Legacy 88697 93033 2, 2011)

CD 1:

  1. So Doggone Lonesome
  2. I Walk The Line
  3. Get Rhythm
  4. Country Boy
  5. I Still Miss Someone
  6. Cotton Fields
  7. I Walk the Line
  8. Luther’s Boogie
  9. Impersonations
  10. Rock Island Line
  11. The Rebel – Johnny Yuma
  12. Introduction – Pete Seeger
  13. Big River
  14. Folsom Prison Blues
  15. I Still Miss Someone
  16. Rock Island Line
  17. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
  18. I Walk The Line
  19. Ballad Of Ira Hayes
  20. Keep On The Sunny Side
  21. Big River
  22. Wreck Of The Old ’97
  23. Tennessee Flat Top Box
  24. Remember The Alamo
  25. Cocaine Blues
  26. Jackson – duet with June Carter Cash
  27. Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man – duet with June Carter Cash
  28. Ring Of Fire
  29. Daddy Sang Bass

CD 2:

  1. Introduction – President Richard M. Nixon
  2. A Boy Named Sue
  3. Five Feet High And Rising
  4. Pickin’ Time
  5. Wreck Of The Old ’97
  6. Lumberjack
  7. Jesus Was A Carpenter
  8. What Is Truth
  9. (There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)
  10. He Turned The Water Into Wine
  11. Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)
  12. Daddy Sang Bass
  13. The Old Account
  14. Sunday Morning Comin’ Down
  15. The Prisoner’s Song
  16. That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine
  17. City Of New Orleans
  18. Ragged Old Flag
  19. One Piece at a Time
  20. Hey Porter
  21. There You Go
  22. Give My Love to Rose
  23. (Ghost) Riders in the Sky
  24. I’m Just An Old Chunk Of Coal

Disc 1, Tracks 1-3 from Big “D” Jamboree, Dallas, Texas, 1956
Disc 1, Tracks 4-11 from New River Ranch, Rising Sun, Maryland, 1962
Disc 1, Tracks 12-20 from Newport Folk Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, July 26, 1964
Disc 1, Tracks 21-29 from Annex 14 NCO Club, Long Binh, Vietnam, January 1969
Disc 2, Tracks 1-13 from The White House, Washington, D.C., April 17, 1970
Disc 2, Tracks 14-16 from Osteraker Prison, Sweden, October 3, 1972
Disc 2, Track 17 from CBS Records Convention, Nashville, Tennessee, 1973
Disc 2, Tracks 18-19 from The Carter Fold, Hiltons, Virginia, 1976
Disc 2, Tracks 20-22 from Wheeling Jamboree, Wheeling, West Virginia, October 2, 1976
Disc 2, Tracks 23-24 from Exit Inn, Nashville, Tennessee, December 10, 1979

All tracks are previously unreleased except CD 1, Tracks 12-20; and CD 2, Tracks 8, 14-16

Written by Joe Marchese

August 17, 2011 at 13:08

7 Responses

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  1. As soon as I read this, I immediately thought they should include the entire “Pa Ostraker” concert that was re-released on CD in Europe only, and is the un-sung (and virtually unknown) third and final prison concert album of his career.

    So instead we get 3 tracks.


    August 17, 2011 at 14:40

    • I agree with Royal Scam. Ever since I discovered the existence of the Pa Osteraker album and how effective a performance it was, I have always been puzzled as to why the album has never been given a proper release here in the domestic U.S. market.


      August 17, 2011 at 16:52

      • It’s readily available for $12 on CD on Amazon. Are you morally opposed to imports?

        Cisco Pike

        August 17, 2011 at 17:02

  2. I agree with Cisco. The soundboard is available. There is no critical need to do it again.

    It is better to applaud this release, buy it and keep more sets coming from the vaults


    August 18, 2011 at 07:54

    • You can even get Johnny Cash at Osteraker Prison [Legacy/Columbia 2008 release] new for around $9 or less including shipping from Amazon traders!


      August 18, 2011 at 11:20

  3. @Cisco…I’m not morally opposed to anything involving the obtaining of music 😉

    But I didn’t know it was that available or that cheap. And likely the rest of America wouldn’t either, and would benefit from a proper US release.


    August 18, 2011 at 09:33

  4. But in today’s US marketplace, there are very few “proper stores” to find “proper releases”. Sure there are independent stores, but extremely few.

    It’s not like 30 years ago, when you might walk into a store in just about any town, and see all of the most recent “proper USA releases” on the wall display.

    The predominant display now is Amazon, and it does not distinguish between USA or UK releases.

    Anyway, for myself, the best proper release for any new Johnny Cash would be a Bear Family boxset from Germany. Now that is PROPER!!


    August 18, 2011 at 10:34

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