One of my photos

San Quentin I hate every inch of you

August 18th, 2010 · Posted by Skuds in Life/Music · 4 Comments · Life, Music

This evening I watched the film of Johnny Cash playing at San Quentin prison.  It is a remarkable film of a remarkable concert and a reminder of why Johnny Cash is the country singer that even people who don’t like country music can appreciate.

At one point he sings a song called San Quentin I hate every inch of you, which must be the epitome of a crowd-pleaser.  Never has a song been as well-targetted I think.

Apart from the music there was a little banter, including a fantastic put-down for a heckler which I shall remember in case I return to public speaking at any point, or unexpectedly branch into standup comedy:

I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said. I was talking.

The music was interspersed with documentary elements and interviews with staff and inmates.  The total acceptance of the death penalty was chilling, as was one prisoner’s story of how he strangled a woman and her son without really knowing why he did it.

Fascinating film, which I only saw because it was on straight after the Specials reunion concert in Coventry on Sky Arts.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Nils Boray

    A favourite documentary of mine.

    There’s a classic bit where one of the inmates shouts out “Where’s Luther Johnny ?” (Luther Perkins) – and the man in black responds “Well sad to say Luther passed away some years ago now …” which clearly the prisoner had had no knowledge of, being banged up for some years now.

    Johnny Cash was never given a jail sentence, but was apparently locked up over night a few times – most famously at Starkville City Jail after being arrested for picking flowers – which he sings in the San Quentin gig.

  • skud's sister

    And I can remember when we only had 3 albums in the house – a Julie Felix and two Johhny Cash albums. As I recall they were ‘Ring of Fire’ and something about orange blossoms and Mary and I knew all the words. You may have been busy with Radio Caroline at the time?

  • Skuds

    Probably still on Radio Luxembourg at that time – but I’m sure there was also at least one Joan Baez and a Bob Dylan.

    Of course, we had to go round Grandad’s for the good stuff… Pinky & Perky, Wally Whyton and the now-legendary Tiger Rag.

  • skud's sister

    I still sometimes sing the Wally Whyton stuff…..and I still know all the words to Ring of Fire! Its the first time I’ve ever liked anything before it was cool!