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News-Antique.com - Mar 16,2011 - One thousand prisoners showed up in the mess hall of San Quentin State Prison to see country singer Johnny Cash perform in concert on Feb. 23, 1969. The prison was California’s oldest maximum-security penitentiary and most everyone seemed on edge about the pending gig. San Quentin was the place where Johnny played his first-ever prison concert on Jan. 1, 1958.
Johnny was funny and upbeat. It took him no time at all to charm the crowd. Midway through the performance he sang "San Quentin," a song he wrote especially for this audience.
Feeding off the crowd Johnny’s voice was described as wild and raw that night, like he too was housed behind bars.
"At San Quentin" is the recording of the live concert. It has been called one of the most mesmerizing live records in American history.
On Dec. 5, Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif., featured a selection of Cash’s personal belongings in the Johnny Cash: Property from his Life and Career auction. Everything from concert programs, guitars and photos to handwritten lyrics and signed checks went up for sale.
Among the items was the San Quentin, blue denim, jumpsuit Johnny wore during his rehearsal performance at San Quentin State Prison in February of 1969. The jumpsuit sold for $50,000.
The outfit can be seen in Jim Marshall’s photograph of Cash taken during the filming of the rehearsal. The suit includes a poster of Johnny wearing the jumpsuit.
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