Happy Birthday Johnny Cash: Performing Live In Austin 1994
Today would have been Johnny Cash’s 89th birthday. Born on February 26, 1932, Cash would go on to become one of the most iconic musicians of all time. He died on September 12, 2003 at the age of 71.
A highly revered figure in both the country music and rock spheres, Cash’s music transcended genre and went through a number of phases from his rockabilly days recording and touring with fellow early rock stars like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley and finding success with crossover hits including “Folsom Prison Blues,” “I Walk The Line” and “Ring Of Fire.” Johnny’s sound was unmistakable, with that chug-a-lug guitar and his instantly recognizable bass-baritone voice.
Cash also seemed to feel the sorrow and pain of the world very deeply and that certainly affected his own songs and also the songs he chose to cover. Cash’s moral compass led him to start wearing all black on stage, garnering him the nickname, The Man In Black. But it wasn’t just a wardrobe choice; it was a statement.
“With the Vietnam War as painful in my mind as it was in most other Americans, I wore it in mournin’ for the lives that could have been,” Cash wrote in his autobiography. “Apart from the Vietnam War being over, I don’t see much reason to change my position. The old are still neglected, the poor are still poor, the young are still dying before their time, and we’re not making many moves to make things right. There’s still plenty of darkness to carry off.”
While Cash’s activism took on a number of society’s ills, two causes important to him were prison reform and justice for Indigenous peoples. As he stepped into The Man In Black persona in the ealry 1970s, Cash entered a different phase in his career where he became more than just an entertainer and entered into the role of highly influential international icon.
But although he remained massively influential, by the early 1990s Cash had left longtime label Columbia and found it tough to drum up major label interest until legendary producer Rick Rubin signed Cash to his American Recordings and Johnny released an LP of the same name in 1994, his 81st album. Later that year on December 8, Cash would take the stage at the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas in Austin to perform a career-spanning, 30 plus song set. The concert includes classics like opener “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Get Rhythm,’ Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,” “Big River,” “I Walk The Line,” “Man In Black,” “Ring Of Fire,” “Jackson” “A Boy Named Sue” and more.
To celebrate Johnny Cash’s birthday, listen to a stellar soundboard recording of The Man In Black live from Austin in 1994 below:
Set: Folsom Prison Blues, Get Rhythm, Sunday Morning Comin’ Down, Ghost Riders In The Sky, Cowboy’s Prayer, O’ Bury Me Not, Big River, I Walk The Line, I Still Miss Someone, Man In Black, The Alamo, Orange Blossom Special, Death And Hell, Delia, A Bird On A Wire, The Beast In Me, Tennessee Stud, Down There By The Train, Drive On, Ring Of Fire, Jackson, If I Were A Carpenter, It Ain’t Me, Live Forever, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, The Next Time In Town, Guess Things Happen that Way, The Ballad Of Ira Hayes, Home Of The Blues, Long Black Veil, A Boy Named Sue, Jam??, Peace In The Valley