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October 4, 2023

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Johnny Cash
At Madison Square Garden (Sony Legacy)

By: Alex Steininger

"It was a magic night! The air was electric and felt good. The audience responded beautifully," says Johnny Cash of December 5, 1969, the night he and his band played in front of 19,342 people - a sold out crowd - at Madison Square Garden.

With a hit TV show, the top two country songs of the year ("Daddy Sang Bass" and "A Boy Named Sue"), and an unprecedented seven albums on Billboard's Country & Western album chart (including the #1 album), 1969 was the year of Johnny Cash.

Finishing off the banner year with a show in front of a record crowd at Madison Square Garden, Cash played all his classics, including "Five Feet High and Rising", "Wreck of the Old 97", "Folsom Prison Blues", "A Boy Named Sue", and "Cocaine Blues", to name a few.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Legendary songwriter Carl Perkins hits the stage and leads Cash and his band through "Blue Suede Shoes", and "Folsom Prison Blues" during the finale medley. The Carter Family also joins the stage, performing "Wildwood Flower" and "Worried Man Blues" with the band. Also enriching the show is the Statler Brothers.

The show, much like other legendary Cash live recordings, is a piece of history, a memorable moment of time that will not soon be forgotten, as all those that were present will attest too. And for those that couldn't attend for whatever reason - not born yet, they were sick, they didn't like Cash at the time - the record stands as a testament to the power and timelessness of Cash and his performances. Each song is flawlessly executed and delivered with emotion and prowess that is lacking from modern country and modern music in general.

Further ensuring this to be a must-have for any Cash collection is the extensive liner notes, including an excerpt from The New York Post's Monday, December 8, 1969 review of Cash's performance.

Showcasing the brilliance and stellar showmanship of Cash, At Madison Square Garden never lets you down. I'll give it an A+.

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