Johnny Cash Covers Bob Dylan on Grateful Dead Soundman’s Never Released Live Recording
While Johnny Cash had covered Bob Dylan throughout the 1960s leading up to his 4/24/68 show at San Francisco’s Carousel Ballroom, his performance of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” from that evening takes on a special level of significance due to the show’s audio engineer: Grateful Dead sonic innovator and “Wall Of Sound” architect Owsley “Bear” Stanley. As Cash and his Tennessee Three infuse the folk anthem with signature “boom-chicka-boom” flair, Stanley’s recording is similarly rich in sonic experimentation and filled with the idiosyncrasies of his own corners of the musical universe.
Each bringing their own distinctive touch to the cover, Cash and Stanley simultaneously bring the impacts of Sun Studios and Haight-Ashbury to a Greenwich Village classic; marking a rare and early confluence of perhaps the 20th century’s most important musical movements. Today, Stanley’s recording of the Cash cover has officially been released, making it public for the first time beyond just the 700 or so audience members who heard it live. “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” is one of two Dylan covers which Cash played and Stanley recorded at the Carousel that evening, joined in the set – and on the new album – by his first-known performance of “One Too Many Mornings.”
At The Carousel Ballroom will be released widely on all digital formats by Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, and also be available on CD/2LP from Renew Records/BMG. It will feature new essays by Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son John Carter Cash, Starfinder Stanley, The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, and Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools, as well as new art by Susan Archie, and a reproduction of the original Carousel Ballroom concert poster by Steve Catron. This release marks the latest entry in the Owsley Stanley Foundation’s Bear’s Sonic Journals series, which has previously included Stanley’s live recordings of The Allman Brothers Band, Tim Buckley, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Doc & Merle Watson and many more.
*Feature image courtesy of the John R Cash Trust