Johnny Cash had had several brushes with the law across his career, mostly related to problems with drug addiction. He was also a musical outlaw, famous for his cool black outfits as well as crossing the boundaries dividing country and rock.
But Cash’s bad behavior never landed him in Folsom Prison. Like Paganini a hundred years earlier, Cash knew the commercial value of a “bad guy” mystique, and did little to contradict rumors about his checkered past.
This cold-blooded confessional blues first topped the country charts in the mid-fifties. More than a decade later it again climbed the charts again following a legendary concert at Folsom Prison.
This gig was such a success that a year later a second maximum security concert was mounted, resulting in another live album “Johnny Cash at San Quentin.”