Johnny Cash: never-before-heard 1968 live album!

We hate to break it to you but Christmas is coming – five weeks left and counting! That means it’s time to start thinking about gifts. At least you can cross one off your list for the music fan in your life. That’s because a never-before-heard 1968 Johnny Cash live album is available now.

Johnny Cash live album cover

This elusive recording was made at San Francisco’s Carousel Ballroom in April 1968. It was just days before Cash’s legendary live album, At Folson Prison, was released and six months before the seminal At San Quentin live recording. It captures a performer at his peak, when Cash was in the midst of his transition from country stalwart to outlaw icon.

The concert was recorded by Owsley “Bear” Stanley. This sonic and counterculture pioneer was The Grateful Dead’s iconic sound engineer.

This incredible find from the archives is the latest release in the Owsley Stanley Foundation’s Bear’s Sonic Journals series. Stanley’s live recordings of The Allman Brothers Band and Tim Buckley are also part of the series, along with many more.

Rolling Stone praised Stanley for giving the recordings “a character unique from Folsom and San Quentin…the album creates a sensation of the listener being placed at center stage.”

John Carter Cash, Starfinder Stanley, and The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir wrote essays for the CD booklet. It also has new art by Susan Archie, and a reproduction of the original concert poster by Steve Catron.

Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At the Carousel Ballroom, April 24, 1968 is out now on CD. The vinyl record is available for pre-order (released on December 3, 2021).

Check out for more music news and reviews!