When Johnny Cash Recorded a Live Concert at Folsom Prison

From The Writer’s Almanac:

On this day in 1968 country musician Johnny Cash recorded a live concert at Folsom Prison in California. Back in the early 1950s, while serving in the Air Force and stationed in Germany, Cash had seen a documentary on life inside the prison. This inspired him to write the song “Folsom Prison Blues,” with its haunting lines, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.” He included it on his debut album, With His Hot and Blue Guitar, in 1957 and began dreaming of some day playing the song live for the inmates there.

The Case for Johnny Cash as a Performer Deeply Engaged With the Issues of His Time

From a Washington Post book review by Jack Hamilton headlined “The case for Johnny Cash as a political artist”:

The greatest singers are magicians of intimacy, bonding themselves to listeners in ways that make us feel like we’ve been granted visitation into their psyches and souls. Johnny Cash, who died in 2003, was one of those singers, a man whose sumptuous baritone conveyed a singular mixture of warmth, gravitas and grace. That voice is the reason Cash ranks among the most storied and mythologized musical figures in modern American life, the subject of boxed sets, books, and movies….This density of lore around the Man in Black can make finding the “real” Cash a daunting proposition.