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New Johnny Cash Documentary Written by Le Moyne Professor Featured in New York Times 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (For Immediate Release) … The new documentary “Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison,” directed by Bestor Cram and written by Le Moyne professor Michael Streissguth, was selected for inclusion in the New York Times 2008 Holiday Gift Guide under “Best of Pop and Jazz Boxed Sets.”


Following is the review by Jon Caramanica:


A good tribute celebrates a myth, a great one unravels it. And so it is with this 40th-anniversary revisiting of Johnny Cash’s “At Folsom Prison,” which reveals the original album, one of the most visceral country recordings ever, to have been as slickly orchestrated as any studio project.

There’s the announcer dishing out instructions to the inmates on when to cheer. There’s Cash cursing and inciting the crowd by ragging on the authorities. And there’s a whole second show from the same day that was, relatively speaking, listless; only a couple of songs made it onto the original release.

There are also things no record could ever capture. A significant part of the accompanying documentary is given over to the tale of Glen Sherley, the inmate who wrote “Greystone Chapel,” the surprisingly light song about jailhouse redemption with which Cash closed both of his Folsom sets.

Cash, with others, lobbied for Mr. Sherley’s release, and then took him on the road, an act of extraordinary goodwill and naïveté. Unable to adjust to his new life outside the walls, Mr. Sherley retreated to bad habits and eventually took his own life.

His children provide moving testimony about their father here, especially about his admiration for Cash, whom they say they don’t hold responsible for their father’s fate. Still, it’s a vivid and courageous reminder that seamlessness is always just an illusion. (Columbia/Legacy, two CDs and one DVD, $39.98.)


For more information, visit http://www.nytimes.com/ref/arts/music/2008holidayboxe.html



posted on: 12/1/2008