January 13, 1968 ~ Backed by June, Carl Perkins and The Tennessee Three, Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison before 2000 inmates.
The Man In Black plays two shows for inmates at Folsom Prison in California. Unlike his previous prison concerts, they are recorded and packaged into his acclaimed live album “At Folsom Prison.”
Cash had been playing prisons since 1957 and had become an advocate for reform. He had never recorded one of his penitentiary shows, as his label, Columbia Records, didn’t like the idea of their artist being associated with a jail.
“At Folsom Prison” lands at #1 on the Country chart and got Cash his own TV series the following year. He cites it as one of his greatest accomplishments, as it helps draw attention to the plight of prisoners.
Released on January 12, 1976 …
Wanted! The Outlaws is a compilation album by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser consists entirely of previously released material. It’s also the first “country” album I ever bought. Apparently, I wasn’t alone — it earned its place in music history by becoming the first country album to be platinum-certified, reaching sales of one million.
Roger Miller. b. January 2, 1936
The Hagg releases his fifth album on January 2, 1968. The title track has quite the story.
“Sing Me Back Home” was actually written while Merle was waiting to get out of San Quintin Prison. He and his cellmate Jimmy “Rabbit” Kenrick shared one thing in common. Their love for freedom and how often the two had escaped from prison. As Merle told the story in his ’81 autobiography, Merle Haggard: Sing Me Back Home, Rabbit devised a brilliant escape and asked The Hagg to join him. After some discussion both decided it was best for Merle to stay put. Rabbit was captured two weeks later and eventually executed for the murder of a state trooper. Haggard, the “guitar playing friend”, wrote the song as a tribute.
At 73, the enigmatic country star is captivating a whole new generation and riding high as the subject of a podcast and the inspiration behind a Netflix series.
October 15, 1960 … Loretta Lynn made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry, singing “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.”
Born on September 17, 1923, Hiram King “Hank” Williams Sr. scored his first hit in 1947 with “Move It On Over.” Although his career in the spotlight only lasted 4 years, in that 4 years he forever changed the face of popular music. His songs would be recorded by everyone from Perry Como to Isaac Hayes to the Melvins to Social Distortion.
Very few artists have transcended the genres like Hank and certainly no one has ever put words to paper quite like him. His nickname, “Hillbilly Shakespeare,” only speaks to his greatness.
Patsy Cline. b. September 8, 1932