Written Draft of Script for ‘Perceived Space’

Perceived Space

  1. Perceived Space of Prison: sounding an image of the Folsom prison inmate + relating theory to album

The sounds of the prisoners in Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Album exhibit an underlying impression of nostalgic All-American criminality. In their homogeneity, the prisoners respond with buoyant laughter and applause to Cash’s characteristically ‘happy go lucky’ outlaw prompts. Unsurprisingly, they can be heard collectively cheering, whistling and exclaiming throughout the album, in the process voicing an idealised provincial impression of the American fugitive. Looking to Henri Lefebvre’s first dimension of the spatial triad, we contend that the listener of the album is sonically encouraged to perceive the space of the prison as the album initially proposes: cheerful and rustically rebellious. Lefebvre argues that ‘spatial practice (perceived space) is lived directly before it is conceptualised’. In this sense, it is the immediate accessibility of the sounds of the prisoners that enable an instantaneous perception of the prison’s spatial organisation. This sonic experience means that, in line with Lisa Schmidt’s reflections on sound, ‘We must not wonder […] if we really perceive a world. Rather, we must say that the world is that which we perceive’. In tracing the sounds of the prisoners we argue that Johnny Cash’s lyrics enact a sonic perception of the local yokel misfit, enabling the listener to perceive the prison in a similarly romanticised manner.

  1.     Applause of prisoners: the blues of the ‘happy go lucky inmate’
  • Folsom Prison Blues — sanitised image of the outlaw

This typified image of the American outlaw is specifically audible at the start of the album, as Cash belts his famous line ‘I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die’. (play sound, comment after) The prisoners wait for Cash to drop the visceral punch line ‘just to watch him die’ to then applaud vociferously. The voice of one prisoner sounds ‘woo!’ whereas the other individual claps fold into a mass of applause. ‘Far from Folsom Prison /That’s where I want to stay’ prompts the prisoners to react to another of many characteristic images of the outlaw being on the run. This pattern of applause in Folsom Prison Blues is reciprocated throughout the album, as the prisoners react at foreseeable instances of stereotypical criminality. In hearing the sounds of the prisoners as a mass of voices endorsing these moments of criminality, the listener is brought to perceive a near cinematic Western-style portrait of the Folsom Prison inmate. Indeed, the prisoners unified and compartmentalised segments of applause bring the listener to perceive a sanitised image of the outlaw.

  • Cocaine Blues — homogenous endorsement of the ‘happy go lucky’ outlaw and simplification of incarceration process

This standardisation of prisoner’s reactions invites the listener to perceive a harmonious image of the outlaw, their applauses sounding a homogenous typified impression of the Folsom inmate. This is heightened at 8:49 minutes into the album (play segment of Cocaine Blues). The lines ‘I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down’ and ‘I stuck that lovin 44 beneath my head’ prompt an emphatic applause from the prisoner audience. The listener is brought to foresee the mass of the prisoners yells  alongside the sounding of violent lyrics. In this regard, the prisoners are brought to sound an image of the outlaw as a characteristically on the run country man, in accordance to the narrative Cash lyrically promotes.

This image is heightened as Cash’s mention of places such as ‘Juarez, Mexico’ ‘county jail’ ‘district court’ and ultimately ‘Folsom Pen’ map the process of incarceration alongside an unfeeling narrative of the outlaw on the run. The prisoners’ strident shouts at the mention of each of these places concretsies, legitimises and simplifies the process from criminality to incarceration. Again, the listener is supposedly being granted the transparent narrative of the prisoners’ applauding endorsement of this ‘outlaw’ identity. The inability to decipher individuality in this mass of anticipated acclaim means that the prisoners are typified alongside the protagonist of Cash’s lyrical narrative. In so doing, the listener assimilates the yells of the audience to the narrative of the lyrics, leading the album listener to perceive the prisoners as conforming to a romanticised image of the outlaw redneck.  

III. Ballad banter: nostalgia of the pastoral misfit

  • Long Black Veil  and John Henry ideal ‘working country man’

Johnny Cash’s Long Black Veil offers a less rowdy, more ballad-like musical measure, yet it continues to promote a perception of the prisoner as a ‘happy go lucky’ misfit. This is particularly audible when hearing the reactions to the line ‘I spoke not a word, though it meant my life/For I’d been in the arms of my best friend’s wife’. (listen to this segment) The spoken interruption from Cash (hear it) in reaction to the laughter of the prisoners (hear it) illustrates a camaraderie in this hypothetical scenario. The prisoners unanimous laughter highlights the carefree perception the listener constructs of the Folsom Prison inmate. This is similarly the case in the John Henry ballad and the prisoner’s reaction to the line ‘You know I believe this is the first there ever was the sun come/And I couldn’t come up with it’ (listen to the reaction). As Cash interrupts the song to join into the prisoner’s laughter, stating ‘dirty mind’ the listener is once again provided a wholesome and normalised perception of the inmate as a local yokel outlaw. Both these instances of bonding over moments of potentially stereotypical masculine moments invites the listener to perceive the prisoner as a wholesome misfit. Cash’s storytelling ballads enable the listener to concretise their perception of the outlaw as a homogenised misfit, both as a criminal and a countryman. These instances heighten the nostalgic perceived image of the pastoral outlaw.

This turn to perceiving the outlaw as a pastoral hillbilly, in addition to a more visceral criminal, is heightened as Cash states (listen) ‘you know JOhn Henry was a real man he worked on a tunnel up in West Virginia building a tunnel for the sanjo railroad and the was a night big man they say that from his heel all the way to the ground he had a stroke of 19 feet (boy that’s a  long stroke woo ! That’s a long stroke!’ As he gets the prisoners to join in with laughter to this reference to the hard working real country man, the listener is again provided a stereotypical perception of the outlaw misfit, an American identity etc.. Homogeneous image via collective laughter


To do:

write conceived space script

create interactive chronology of album tracking moments of perceived and conceive sonic spatial creations we will refer to in powerpoint, figuring out how to integrate into powerpoint

create powerpoint

run through presentation

Plan from 12/03

Eloise to do:

Chronology of album:

Long chronology

Color code of sounds perceived and conceived:

subsections as homogenized images

  • Tess and Spyros: finding core material

Introduction: SPYROS 2 minutes

  • We are going to outline how Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison creates a sonic perception of prison’s reality. In so doing, the album implicitly outlines the conceiver of space (Columbia Records) as the sonic authorial editor of the album. The prisoners sound a homogenized impression of the pastoral outlaw, distancing from the visceral lived experience of prison life. Our research matters because we are showing that the album listener is provided with an incorrect view of prison reality, never fully recognizing the authenticity of prison life.
  • The Folsom Prison album offers an inauthentic sonic perception of prison’s reality as Columbia records conceive a homogenized ‘happy go lucky’ group of outlaws. Present a reinterpretation of the prison album through the sounds, rather than the music itself.
  • Focus on how prison is shown to the listener – not just an academic listener
  • Frame of reference: spatial trialectic process (Henri Lefebvre) Spatial triad Lefebvre: perceived, conceived, lived
  • SOUND OBJECT: audible phenomenon made whole via the act of perceiving, which can be qualified outside of the context from which it is extracted // not the physical object that produces the sound

I. Perceived reality, perceived space: Eloise 8 minutes

  • PRESENTATION OF SOUNDS claps, laughs when they are laughing
  • Visceral reactions: Schmidt ‘We must not wonder, then, if we really perceive a world. Rather, we must say that the world is that which we perceive’
  • Pastoral identity
  • Pastoral reality?
  • Perceived space: accepting space as it is without thinking beyond the fact
  • REDUCED LISTENING: listening to a sound object without concern for its causes and temporarily ignoring them (in a more habitual listening, a sound serves generally as both an intermediary for the objects to which it refers and a reflection of the event of its creation) — this attitude of listening: sonorous phenomenon is the SOUND OBJECT (Gobin)
  • INTENTIONAL HEARING: scientific, musical/technical, musical/artistic, aesthetic ( a concertgoer) etc… reduced listening as a form of intentional hearing → All objects perceived through sound only exist because of our intention to listen. Nothing can prevent a listener from vacillating, passing unconsciously from one system to another or form a reduced listening to a listening which is not reduced. (Schaeffer) via Gobin
  • TEMPORAL SIGNIFICATION: the evocation of these sound fragments of a sensation or image bound to the experience of time passed (an experience involving muscular tensions or observation of the movement of objects) (Gobin)
  • fuelling an impression of an (implicitly) its conception (Columbia records) and not allowing for an achieved lived experience of the prison. So THE PRISONERS ARE FICTIONAL/IDEALISE PUPPETS THE CONCEIVER PUPPETEERS IN ORDER TO CREATE PASTORAL PARADISE OF PRISON

→ prison guards as transition: supposed or real authority (?) End and announcements as focus

  1. Conceived space: Columbia records as puppeteer: Rebecca 8 minutes
  1. Announcements of prison guards – supposed, organising authority – those who are conceiving the space. Album ends with two guards, not Cash. Prisoners have to stay seated
  2. Why Columbia needed something to happen with Cash – the importance of conceived space
  3. Why Columbia want/ need a conceived space
  4. Editing / implementations in the prison
  5. Space created by Columbia records
  6. Instances of the editing in the album

Sound, Material:A New Reception (Two Readings for Johnny Cash presentation document)

providing a perception of reality

Conceiving space:

Cash as redeeming reputation humanizing

Conclusion: TESS 2 minutes

  • Gift shop of the perpetuation of the perceived prison space
  • Happy guards
  • ULTIMATE CONCLUSION: Greystone Chapel (Tess’ Man)


How is the process of what you did relevant to your different disciplines?

What is the design process, what are you bringing to the presentation?

Deal with sound: historical context, production, prison and Columbia records

Don’t just describe things, this is an analysis

Everything you do is to further the argument

Be conscious of what we are bringing in

Questions are a part of it

Collaboration must be integrated

Everybody has to bring something in

Extensive: originality of what we are doing, the way it is being applied

Understanding what everybody has done

Nuance the argument still further

Want to know HOW the argument works

Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Sounds (first attempt at transcription of sounds of prisoners + guards (prison)) — includes lyrics of songs

Attempted INDEX: (not coherent throughout)

italicised: sound of cash but mainly sound of prisoners

highlighted yellow: usually spoken from album that was already included in the lyrics I found online

bold italicised: prison guard announcements and more general long interventions between songs

— also pay edition to moments where I felt something was cut off

Johnny Cash Folsom Prison Sounds

00:00 Folsom Prison Blues

‘Hello, I’m Johnny Cash’ — loud applause, whistle

Yeah! Non-descript words

Music pattern after introductory strum of guitar strings

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend, (loud cheer slowly dies down)
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since, I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on (applause)
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

Steady beat throughout first line

Direct transition into next section of song

When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, “Son
Always be a good boy
Don’t ever play with guns, ”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die (loud applause, woo!)
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry (when? spoken, unclear)

Music Interval: high pitched strum of guitar strings playing above pattern of rythymic drums? Guitar bajo idk?

Diegetic non-descript words

(‘Sue it!’)

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
From a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
Well I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me

Music Interval ‘Hit it Boys.. Hidey’ho’

Cheers inbetween each ‘stanza’

music , guitar, banjo?

Settles into same rythym

Louder strum of guitar strings?

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move out over a little
Farther down the line (woo)
Far from Folsom Prison (ring diegetic sound, followed by whistle, intentional?)
That’s where I want to stay (cheers/applause)
And I’d let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away


02:42 Busted

Clapping dies down

My bills are all due and the babies need shoes but I’m busted (applause, cheers)

Cotton is down to a quarter a pound and I’m busted (small cheer)

I’ve got a cow that went dry and a hen that won’t lay

A big stack of bills that get bigger each day EE

The County will haul my belongings away I’m busted!

I went to my brother to ask for a loan I was busted

I hate to beg like a dog for a bone but I’m busted

My brother said there ain’t a thing I can do

My wife and my kids are all down with the flu

And I was just thinking of calling on you I’m busted!

Strum of guitar

Lord I’m no thief but a man can go wrong when he’s busted

The food that we canned last summer is gone and I’m busted

The fields are all bare and the cotton won’t grow

Me and my family’s gotta pack up and go

Where I’ll make a livin’ the Lord only knows but I’m busted!

Loud applause

04:06 Dark as a Dungeon

Oh come all you young fellers so young and so fine
Seek not your fortune in a dark dreary mine
It’ll form as a habit and seep in your soul
Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal
Where it’s dark as a dungeon damp as the dew (voice sounds distant — echo) danger is double pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls the sun never shines
It’s a dark as a dungeon way down in the mine
Well it’s many a man that I’ve seen in my day (applause)
(uh huh no laughin’ during this song please it’s bein’ recorded i KNOW HELL, DONT YOU KNOW ITS RECORDED VERY LOUD APPLAUSE)
Like a fiend with his dope and a drunkard with his wine very loud applause
A man will have lust for the lure of the mine
And pray when I’m dead and my ages shall roll
That my body would blacken and turn into coal
Then I’ll look from the door of my heavenly home and pity the miner digging my bones
Where it’s dark as a dungeon…

Very loud applause + cheer

Thank you very much, thank you very much I’m sorry about that little interruption there but I just wanted to say that this show is being recorded for an album with Columbia Records and you can’t say hell or shit or anything like that (big laughter) how does that grab you bob? (nondescript answer) they’ll probably take that word out of it (loud laughter, whistle…)

07:11 I Still Miss Someone
They’ll probably take that word out of it (this is included online lyrics)
At my door the leaves are falling (loud applause)
A cold wild wind will come
Sweethearts walk by together
And I still miss someone
I go out on a party
And look for a little fun
But I find a darkened corner
‘Cause I still miss someone
Oh, no I never got over those blue eyes
I see them every where
I miss those arms that held me
When all the love was there
I wonder if she’s sorry
For leavin’ what we’d begun
There’s someone for me somewhere
And I still miss someone

Strum of banjo, music slowly stops

Loud applause

cut , something is edited or interrupted

08:49 Cocaine Blues

Early one morning while making the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down (loud loud applause)
I went right home and I went to bed (voice breaks)
I stuck that loving 44 beneath my head (loud loud applause and whistle)

Got up next morning and I grabbed that gun
Took a shot of cocaine and away I run (loud applause)
Made a good run but I run too slow
They overtook me down in Juarez, Mexico (loud applause)

Late in the hot joints taking the pills
In walked the sheriff from Jericho Hill
He said, “Willy Lee (voice breaks), your name is not Jack Brown
You’re the dirty hack that shot your woman down” (loud applause)

“Yes, oh yes, my name is Willy Lee
If you’ve got the warrant just a-read it to me (voice breaks)
Shot her down because she made me slow
I thought I was her daddy but she had five more.” (loud whistle and applause)

When I was arrested I was dressed in black,
They put me on a train and they took me back
Had no friend for to go my bail
They slapped my dried up carcass in that county jail (loud applause)
(clapping goes on)
Got up next morning about a half past nine
I spied the sheriff coming down the line (clapping calms)
Talked and he coughed as he cleared his throat
He said, “Come on you dirty hack into that district court” (loud laughter cheers and applause)
(applause continues)
Into the courtroom, my trial began
Where I was handled by twelve honest men (whistle)
Just before the jury started out
I saw that little judge commence to look about (voice breaking)

In about five minutes, in walked the man
Holding the verdict in his right hand
The verdict read, in the first degree
I hollered, “Lawdy, Lawdy, have mercy on me” (loud applause woo!)

The judge he smiled as he picked up his pin
Ninety-nine years in the Folsom Pen (loud applause)
Ninety-nine years underneath that ground
I can’t forget the day I shot that bad bitch down (loud applause for whole)
(loud applause)
Come on, you’ve got to listen unto me
Lay off that whisky, and let that cocaine be

(loud applause goes on for a while)

(applause continues — interrupted by:

These men have reception Madlock, 850632 (applause cease) and Batshelder (839879). They have reception. Is that gonna be in the album? (prisoner) Cough, Yeah, I doubt that. (is this cash)

Album cuts to song

11:50 25 Minutes to Go

Well they’re building a gallows outside my cell I’ve got 25 minutes to go
And the whole town’s waitin’ just to hear me yell I’ve got 24 minutes to go (guitar starts)
Well they gave me some beans for my last meal I’ve got 23 minutes to go
But nobody asked (voice breaks) me how I feel I’ve got 22 minutes to go (applause)
Well I sent for the governor and the whole dern bunch with 21 minutes to go
And I sent for the mayor but he’s out to lunch I’ve got 20 more minutes to go
Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die got 19 minutes to go
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye got 18 minutes to go (loud applause)


Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul with 13 minutes to go
And he’s talking bout’ burnin’ but I’m so cold I’ve 12 more minutes to go (applause)
Now they’re testin’ the trap and it chills my spine 11 more minutes to go
And the trap and the rope aw they work just fine (laughter, nervous) got 10 more minutes to go
Well I’m waitin’ on the pardon that’ll set me free with 9 more minutes to go (ring sounds)
But this is ain’t the movies so forget about me got 8 more minutes to go (applause for whole line)


With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose 5 more minutes to go
Won’t somebody come and cut me loose with 4 more minutes to go (loud applause)
I can see the mountains I can see the skies with 3 more minutes to go
And it’s to dern pretty for a man that don’t want to die 2 more minutes to go (crying fake)
I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows 1 more minute to go
And now I’m swingin’ and here I go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!

Loud applause: fast ending


OrangeBlossom yelled


Hold it down to florida  (15:11)

How you doing shirley (loud applause) song cuts

15:21 Orange Blossom Special

Look a-yonder comin’
Comin’ down that railroad track
Hey, look a-yonder comin’
Comin’ down that railroad track
It’s that Orange Blossom Special 9loud applause)
Bringin’ my baby back

Harmonica, loud applause applause stops (could this be because they were told to?) sound of prisoners less intense…

I have to change harmonicas faster than i kiss a dove (applause)

Well, I’m going down to Florida
And get some sand in my shoes
Or maybe Californy
And get some sand in my shoes
I’ll ride that Orange Blossom Special
And lose these New York blues

Harmonica — applause but no longer as loud (silent or muffled almost…)

“Say man, when you going back to Florida?”
“I don’t know I don’t reckon I’ll ever go back to Florida”
“Ain’t you worried about getting your nourishment in New York?”
“Well, I don’t care if I do-die-do-die-do-die-do-die.” (loud applause)
Hey talk about a-ramblin’
She’s the fastest train on the line
Talk about a-travellin’
She’s the fastest train on the line
It’s that Orange Blossom Special
Rollin’ down the seaboard line

Harmonica drums guitar

Loud applause and whistle

Song cuts again // quick transition

18:22 The Long Black Veil

Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
Someone was killed, ‘neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail


Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me
The judge said son, what is your alibi
If you were somewhere else, then you won’t have to die
I spoke not a word, thou it meant my life
For I’d been in the arms of my best friend’s wife (laughter, did I hear somebody applaud? Laughter and applause) — silence dies down

Oh, the scaffold is high and eternity’s near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes at night, when the north wind blows
In a long black veil, she cries ov’re my bones
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail (laughter)
(cash kind of laughs) Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

Can  I have a glass of water? Loud applause

Lemme have a drink of water I’m about to choke up (it’s black? prisoner) that’s cocaine blues

We’ve gotta special surprise for you fellas and special for one fella in a few minutes were gonna record a brand new song that i just sang last night for the first time. It was written by someone here in folsom prison. Can I have a drink of water?  (non descript sound of guard responding maybe?) Hahahahahahahahhahaha (rowdy rowdy noise) last time i was here i had a drink of water (laughter) and i dont know what the hell it ran off of must have run off of Luther’s boots (ahaha laughter throughout ) take (…) and get some water come on! Is that water? Yeah thats water! You promise that’s water?  (i dont understand what is said here) (loud laughter, almost a comedy show) You serve everything in tin cups? Everythang ! (caled it ? got it? You called it didnt ya (cash))

Strum of guitar

I have an announcement here… Sandoval, S-a-n-d-o-v-a-l, SandOval, 88419 is wanted in reception (cuts to song)

22:20 Send a Picture of Mother

After seven years behind these bars together
I’ll miss you more than a brother when you go when you go
If only I had not tried to escape
They’d barred me with you I know yes I know
Won’t you tell the folks back home I’ll soon be coming
And don’t let them know I never will be free be free
Sometimes write and tell me how they’re doing
And send a picture of mother back to me
Say hello to Dad and shake his poor hard working hand
And send a picture of mother if you can
I’m happy for you that you got your freedom
But stay with me just another minute or so or so
After all this sweating blood together
Who’ll be my fighting partner when you go when you go
The hardest time will be on Sunday morning
Church bells will ring on Heaven Hill Heaven Hill
Please ask Reverend Garrett to pray for me
And send a picture of mother if you will
Say hello to Dad and shake his poor hard working hand
And send a picture of mother if you can

Loud applause

24:30 The Wall

There’s a lot of strange men in cell block ten
But the strangest of em’ all
Was a friend of mine who spent his time
Starin at the wall…
Starin at the wall…
As he looked at the wall
So strong and tall
I heard him softly curse
Nobody at all ever climbed that wall
But I’m gonna be the first…
I’m gonna be the first…
Then the warden walked by and said son don’t try
I’d hate to see you fall
Cause there is no doubt they’ll carry you out
If you ever touch that wall…
If you ever touch that wall… (laughter cash and prisoners)
Well a years/ went by and that’s the truth (laughter)

Well a years gone by (didn’t mean by…? Loud laughter from prisoners and applause) since he made his try
But I can still recall
How hard he tried and the way he died
But he never made that wall…
He never made that wall…
Well there’s never been a man who shook this camp
But I knew a man who tried
The newspapers called it a jailbreak plan
But I know it was suicide…
I know it was suicide…

Loud applause and yells // applause cuts

We would like to/ I’d like to do a couple of love songs here, one you know the man’s bestfriend is his dog if the’s got nothing else (laughter and whistle from prisoners)

26:07 Dirty Old Egg-Suckin’ Dog

Well he’s not very handsome to look at
Oh he’s shaggy and he eats like a hog
And he’s always killin’ my chickens
That dirty old egg-suckin’ dog (loud laughter and applause)
Egg-suckin’ dog (laughter from cash and prisoners)
I’m gonna stomp your head in the ground
If you don’t stay out of my hen house
You dirty old egg-suckin’ hound (laughter and applause)
Now if he don’t stop eatin’ my eggs up (a yell from a prisoner)
Though I’m not a real bad guy
I’m gonna get my riffle and send him
To that great chicken house in the sky (loud laughter aplause)
Egg-suckin’ dog
Your always hangin’ around
But you’d better stay out of my hen house
You dirty old egg-suckin’ hound

Cuts to another song edited (woo!)

27:37 Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart

From the backdoor of your life you swept me out dear
In the bread line of your dreams I lost my place (laughter)
At the table of your love I got the brush off
At the Indianapolis of your heart I lost the race (loud laughter + applause)
I’ve been washed down the sink of your conscience (gutteral noise from cash?)
In the theater of your love I lost my part
And now you say you’ve got me out of your conscience
I’ve been flushed from the bathroom of your heart (loud laughter and applause)
In the garbage disposal of you dreams (laughter from cash and prisoners)  I’ve been ground up dear
On the river of your plans I’m up the creek
Up the elevator of your future I’ve been shafted (loud laughter)
On the calendar of your events I’m last week (laughter)
I’ve been washed down the sink of your conscience
In the theater of your love I lost my part
And now you say you’ve got me out of your conscience
I’ve been flushed from the bathroom of your heart

Loud applause (woo! Yeah !  woohoo!)

29:54 Joe Bean

Last time, last time we were here at Folsom Prison,
They were hanging Joe Bean.
Is Joe still here, Joe Bean? Hang him! (prisoners ahhaaha from prisoners)
Hang the son of a bitch anyways, right?
Well, they’re hanging Joe Bean this morning, for killing a man in Arkansas.
Funny thing about it, Joe Bean has never been to Arkansas.
On top of that, Joe Bean never heard of the man.
In fact, today is Joe Bean’s twentieth birthday. (spoken contxt)

See through the prison bars, Joe Bean, see where the gallows stand.
Just twenty short years from the day you were born, you died by the hangman’s hand.
Yes, they’re hanging Joe Bean this morning, for a shooting that he never did.
He killed 20 men, by the time he was 10, he was an unruly kid.
Yes, they’re hanging Joe Bean for the one shooting that Joe Bean never did.
Well, Joe, your mother is at the Capitol, asking the governor for a stay.
And it’s hard on her, ’cause she knows where you were, on that particular day.
You were working Joe Bean, hard working, robbing the Santa Fe. (laughter)
Well, the telegraph wires are humming.
Here, the governor’s words come through.
He said, “I can’t set you free, it’s not up to me, but there’s much, Joe Bean,
I’ll do, I’ll join your mother in extending Birthday greetings to you.
Happy Birthday, Joe Bean.” (starts with lyrics of singing tune)

Alright. June! June Carter. Let’s get June out here
Let’s get June Carter and the Tennessee Three back out right now

Hey y’all! (loud loud applause from prisoners)

Hey would you sing

32:19 Jackson (with June Carter) (transcription came from web)

Hey, will you sing a song with me?
I would be very pleased to sing a song with you
Sure look nice
Thank you, I’m glad to be back in Folsom
Well I like watch you talk
I’m talking with my mouth/ hahahahha Loud applause from prusoners

We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout,
We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out
I’m goin’ to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around, (loud becomes cleaerer from instruments)

Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson,
Look out Jackson town
Well, go on down to Jackson; (loud appkayse) go ahead and wreck your health. (loud applause)
Go play your hand you big-talkin’ man, make a big fool of yourself,
Yeah, go to Jackson; go comb your hair!
Honey, I’m gonna snowball Jackson
See if I care (applause)
When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow. (Hah! — this is written in lyrics but taken from prisoners)
All them women gonna make me, teach ’em what they don’t know how, (loud applause and whistle)
I’m goin’ to Jackson, you turn-a loose-a my coat
I’m goin’ to Jackson
“Goodbye, ” that’s all she wrote.
They’ll laugh at you in Jackson, and I’ll be dancin’ on a Pony Keg (loud applause)
They’ll lead you ’round town like a scalded hound,
With your tail tucked between your legs, (loud laughter and applause)
Yeah, go to Jackson, you big-talkin’ man
And I’ll be waitin’ in Jackson, behind my Jaypan Fan,
Well now, we got married in a fever (loud laughter) , hotter than a pepper Sprout,
We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson, ever since the fire went
I’m goin’ to Jackson, and that’s a fact
Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson, ain’t never comin’ back
Well, we got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout’ (loud applause)
And we’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson, ever since the fire went

Thank you veyr much, thank you, sweet laughter. (June)  How much time we’ve got ? about 15 minutes? I’ll take all i WANT

Cuts to new song clearly interrupted

35:32 Give My Love to Rose

I found him by the railroad track this morning
I could see that he was nearly dead
I knelt down beside him and I listened
Just to hear the words the dying fellow said
He said they let me out of prison down in Frisco
For ten long years I’ve paid for what I’ve done
I was trying to get back to Louisiana
To see my Rose and get to know my son
Give my love to Rose please won’t you, Mister
Take her all my money, tell her to buy some pretty clothes
Tell my boy that daddy’s so proud of him
And don’t forget to give my love to Rose
Won’t you tell them I said thanks for waiting for me
Tell my boy to help his mom at home
Tell my Rose to try to find another
‘Cause it ain’t right that she should live alone
Mister here’s a bag with all my money
It won’t last them long the way it goes
God bless you for finding me this morning
And don’t forget to give my love to Rose
Give my love to Rose please won’t you, Mister
Take her all my money, tell her to buy some pretty clothes
Tell my boy that daddy’s so proud of him
And don’t forget to give my love to Rose


38:18 I Got Stripes/June

On a Monday, (TALKIng over) I was arrested (uh huh) (woo! Just one prisoner?)
On a Tuesday, they locked me in the jail (oh boy)
On a Wednesday, my trial was attested
On a Thursday, they said guilty and the Judge’s gavel fell
I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders (loud whistle and laughter)
I got chains, chains around my feet
I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders
And them chains, them chains,
They’re about to drag me down
On a Monday, my momma come to see me
On a Tuesday, they caught me with a file
On a Wednesday, I’m down in solitary
On a Thursday, I start on bread and water for a while
I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders
I got chains, chains around my feet
I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders (loud applause)
And them chains, them chains,
They’re about to drag me down
I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders
I got chains, chains around my feet
I got stripes, stripes around my shoulders
And them chains, them chains,
They’re about to drag me down

Bump of microphone

Hey, this microphone’s got a screw loose here
Somebody come screw this microphone? (laughter)
What I say?
Just a minute, lemme fix this son of ouh yeahalright

Anybody got any special requests for us to do? Tons of yells/ john henry/ non descript noises.. Something suicide?

John Henry

Alright let me do JOhn Hnery and then..
40:10 The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer

Bell ringing

Johnny Henry’s pappy woke him up one midnight
He said “Before the sheriff comes I wanna tell you, ” Said “Listen boy
Learn to hoist a jack and learn to lay a track learn to pick and shovel too
And take that hammer, It’ll do anything you tell it to.”
John Henry’s mammy had about a dozen babies
John Henry’s pappy broke jail a dozen times (bell) ting ting
The babies all got sick and when the doctor wanted money
He said, “I’ll pay you a quarter at a time startin’ tomorrow
That’s the pay for a steel driver on this line.”
Then the section foreman said, “Hey! Hammer-swinger!
I see you your own hammer boy but, what all can them muscles do?” and he said,
“I can turn a jack I can lay a track I can pick and shovel too.”
“Can you swing a hammer, boy?” “Yes sir, I’ll do anything you hire me to.”
“Now ain’t you somethin’! So high and mighty with all that muscle! Just go
Ahead, boy. Pick up that hammer, pick up the hammer!” and show me what you can do
He said to get a rusted spike and swing it down three times
I’ll pay you a nickel a day for every inch you sink it to
Go on and do what you say you can do
With a steel-nosed hammer on a four foot switch handle
John Henry raised it back til’ it touched his heels then
The spike went through the cross-tie and split it half in two
Thirty-five cents a day for drivin’ steel
“Sweat! Sweat, boy! Sweat! Only two more swings!”
“I was born drivin’ steel”
Well John Henry hammered in the mountain
He’d give a grunt he give a groan every swing
The women-folks from miles around heard him and come down
To watch make the coal-steel ring “Lord! What a swinger!
Watch him make the coal-steel ring”

But the bad boys came up laughin’ at John Henry
They said, ” Your full of vinegar now but you bout’ through!
We gonna get a steamdrill to do your share of drivin’
Then what’s all them muscles gonna do? Huh? John Henry?
Gonna take a little bit of vinegar out of you.”
John Henry said, “I feed four little brothers

And baby sisters’ walkin’ on her knees
Now did the Lord say that machines ought to take the place of livin’?
And what’s a substitute for bread and beans? I ain’t seen it!
Do engines get rewarded for their steam?
John Henry hid in a coal mine for his dinner nap
Had thirty minutes to rest before the bell
The mine boys hollered, ” Get up whoever you are and get a pickax
Mine me enough to start another hell and keep it burnin’
Mine me enough to start another hell.
John Henry said to his captain said “A man ain’t nothin’ but a man
But if you’ll bring that steamdrill ’round I’ll beat it fair and honest.
I’ll die with that hammer in my hand but, I’ll be laughin’,
‘Cause you can’t replace a steel-drivin’ man.
There was a big crowd of people at the mountain.
John Henry said to the steam-drill “How is you?
(spoken) Pardon me, Mister Steamdrill I suppose you didn’t hear me. Huh?
Well, can you turn a jack? Can you lay a track? Can you pick and shovel too?
Listen, this hammer-swinger’s talkin’ to you.
pshhhh pshhh pshhh pshhhh pshhhh pshhhh pshhh pshh (loud applause)

Two-thousand people hollered,”Go John Henry!!!!!”
Then somebody hollered, ” The mountain’s cavin’ in!!!!!!”
John Henry told the captin, “Tell the kind-folks not to worry
It ain’t nothin’ but my hammer suckin’ wind, it keeps me breathin’
This steel-driver’s muscle it ain’t thin. (woohoo !)
“Captain tell the people to move back farther
I’m at the finish line and there ain’t no drill
It’s so far behind that it don’t got the brains to quit it
When she blows up she’ll scatter cross the hills Lord, Lord
When she blows up she’ll scatter cross the hills”
Well, John Henry had a little woman
I believe the lady’s name was Paulie Ann yeah that was his good woman
John Henry threw his hammer over his shoulder and went on home
He laid down to rest his weary back and early next mornin’ he said,
“Come here Paulie Ann, come here sugar.
You know I believe this is the first time there ever was the sun come
And I couldn’t come up with it (dirty mind hahaha ) . Take my hammer, Paulie Ann and go to that railroad
Swing that hammer like you seen me do it
They’ll all know your John Henry’s woman but tell em’ that ain’t all you can
Tell em’………
I can hoist a jack and I can lay a track I can pick and shovel too.
Ain’t no machine can that’s been proved to you!
There was a big crowd of mourners at the church house
The section hands laid him in the sand
Trains go by on the rails John Henry laid.
They slow down and take off the hats, the men do
When they come to the place where he’s laying’ retsina’ his back.
They say, “Mornin’ Steel-driver, you sure was a hammer-swinger.”
Then they go on by pickin’ up a little bit of speed.
Clickity clack
Yonder lies a steel-drivin’ man lord lord lord
Yonder lies a steel-drivin’ man
Yonder lies a steel-drivin’ man lord lord
Yonder lies a steel-drivin’ man
Yonder lies a steel-drivin’ man lord lord
Yonder lies a steel-drivin’ man

Loud applause fades out (edited) woo ! yeah !

Thank you very much you know John Henry was a real man he worked on a tunnel up in W Virginia building a tunnel for the sanjo railroad and the was a mighty big man they say that from his heels all the way to the ground the had a stroke of 19 feet (boy that’s a long stroke, wooo! That’s a long stroke (prisoners laugh + applaud) music fades out edited ?

47:18 Green, Green Grass of Home

The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train
And there to meet me is my mama and my papa.
Down the road I look, and there comes Mary (gospel music?)
Hair of gold and lips like cherries.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
The old house is still standing
Though the paint is cracked and dry
And there’s the old oak tree that I used to play on.
Down the lane I walk with my sweet Mary
Hair of gold and lips like cherries. (loud applause)
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Yes, they’ll all come to see me
Arms reaching, smiling sweetly.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Then I awake and look around me
At the four gray walls that surround me
And then I realize that I was only dreaming.
For there’s a guard, and there’s a sad old padre
Arm in arm, I walk at daybreak.
Again, I’ll touch the green, green grass of home.
Yes, they’ll all come to see me
In the shade of the old oak tree
As they lay me ‘neath the green, green grass of home. (LOUD APPLAUSE)

49:48 Greystone Chapel

— here trancription is included in lyrics from web too, a part of teh song, of the narrative

Edited transition

Thank you very much
This next song was written by a man right here in Folsom prison
And last night was the first time I’ve ever sung this song
Anyways, this song was written by our friend Glen Shirley (loud loud applause)
Um, hope we do your song justice Glen, we’re going to do our best

(lyells !

With June Carter

Inside the walls of prison my body may be
But my Lord has set my soul free
There’s a greystone chapel here at Folsom
A house of worship in this den of sin (LOUD APPLAUSE)
You wouldn’t think that God had a place here at Folsom
But he saved the souls of many lost men (woo!)
Now there’s greystone chapel here at Folsom
Stands a hundred years old made of granite rock
It takes a ring of keys to move here at Folsom
But the door to the House of God is never locked (woo loud laughter)

Inside the walls of prison my body may be (june sings and other man?)
But my Lord has set my soul free
There are men here that don’t ever worship
There are men here who scoff at the ones who pray
But I’ve got down on my knees in that greystone chapel
And I thank the Lord for helpin’ me each day (loud applause and whistle)
Now there’s greystone chapel here at Folsom
It has a touch of God’s hand on ever stone (oooo awww)
It’s a flower of light in a field of darkness
And it’s givin’ me the strength to carry on

Inside the walls of prison my body may be
But my Lord has set my soul free


Long applause

A guitar music song transition that seems to indicate end of concert very long applause woooo

Wooo woo

Have an announcement from Lt. Piper (booooooo)
Ah, steady
Uh, Duffy, number nine oh four seven, custody office
There’s a gentleman here I’d like to have stand up, who’s a very very proud man
He used to be many years ago, a bad land farmer down in Dias, Arkansas
But he’s Johnny Cash’s daddy, Mr. Ray Cash (wooooooooo)

I’d like to bring up a gentleman who’s got something to say to Johnny Cash
This gentleman you all know, the associate warden Mr. Fausman (boooo) come on now steady here steady (booo)
Good to see you sir. You want Mr. John Cash, don’t ya
Sorta like to, yes. Johnny (noise)

Hahahahhahah yeah hahah

Johnny a little memento from Folsom prison.
Like a cuddle up (weeeey wooho ! yeah woohoo)

We’ll make him one of the in group when he’s out haha

Thank you Mr. Fousman

One other announcement. Please hold your seats until released by the officer
And then go out through the side door

(people speaking, noises clicking, something being rolled a squeek noise more clink noises and abrupt end, this is super interesting )

Prep for meeting 12/03/19:

revised outline + thesis + research question, notes from two readings with summaries

How does the presentation of sound in Johnny Cash’s prison album demonstrate sound’s capacity to permeate controlled environments?


Older version: Hearing the sounds of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Albums as well as considering reception theory we argue that this album documents sound’s ability to permeate controlled environments as well as the prisoners relationship to the space of the prison.

Newer Version: Never before has anybody paid attention to the sounds that are not explicitly the focus of the Folsom Prison Album (a re interpretation of the album via annotation of external sounds) (Part I + III) . This helped prison reform because it provided people with an audible insight into prison… (IV)

I. Introduction

  • Folsom Prison Blues entrance

II. Sound of Prisoners

  • Deconstruct folsom prison blues
  • Other sounds of prisoners
  • Voices
  • Create interactive timeline of album where prisoners are heard

III. Sounding the Prison

  • Announcement from guards, doors etc…
  • Echoes
  • Space/Cultural Insight (SANDOVAL)
  • Interactive timeline where prison is heard

IV. Underlying Narrative: curating an impression of prison

  • editing
  • Imagining via compartmentalised space (of prison and album)

V. Conclusion


Sound Art and Spatial Practices: Situating sound installation art since 1958:

  • Spatial poetics
  • A version of a sound installation? ‘Centrally concerned with organising sounds in space.’

Sound ,Material: A New Reception, Pascal Gobin

Good terminology for when we speak about the sound and good way of demonstrating how our transcription and re interpretation of album’s value means in regards to reception theory

  • ‘Liberation of musical potential via the use of new sounds (particularly those originated from sources other than “musical instruments” and the conception of ways of “playing” these sounds → exploration of musical composition
  • ‘Techniques of sound synthesis, notably the real-time systems of control that were tied initially to techniques of analog synthesis and that have developed since then due to numerisation systems’
  • sound may be approached as a musical duration based on the overall perceived qualities of the sound itself rather than as an ensemble of parameters determined by the listener’s ability to perceive the sound in terms of quantifiable units that are subject to systematic organization
  • Western musical tradition : ‘separate the work of writing from the work of interpretation’
  • ‘Not everything can be fixed by notation — sonorous phenomena are much too complex for notation to capture in all its details: it is necessary to make a choice to notate the certain aspects of sound (or instrumental gestures allowing one to reproduce the sound) that seem particularly pertinent in relation to a musical project.’
  • ‘Notation became necessary in order to fix innovative changes in tradition due to improvisation, mistakes and chance.’
  • ‘Timbre’ instrumental timbre, commonly defined as the character of sound that varies as two notes of equal pitch and duration are played by two different instruments.’ // response to sound “type” and does not speak of physical realities (to speak of a note from a trumpet says nothing in particular about the essential physicality of sounds that one hears and, in effect, masks part of the reality of the sounds)
  • Possibility of recording, understanding and transforming sound via listening, imagination and creativity
  • In that which we perceive, what role does conditioning play? PERCEIVED SPACE, CONCEIVED SPACE, LIVED SPACE
  • REDUCED LISTENING: listening to a sound object without concern for its causes and temporarily ignoring them (in a more habitual listening, a sound serves generally as both an intermediary for the objects to which it refers and a reflection of the event of its creation) — this attitude of listening: sonorous phenomenon is the SOUND OBJECT
  • INTENTIONAL HEARING: scientific, musical/technical, musical/artistic, aesthetic ( a concertgoer) etc… reduced listening as a form of intentional hearing → All objects perceived through sound only exist because of our intention to listen. Nothing can prevent a listener from vacillating, passing unconsciously from one system to another or form a reduced listening to a listening which is not reduced. (Schaeffer)
  • SOUND OBJECT: audible phenomenon made whole via the act of perceiving, which can be qualified outside of the context from which it is extracted // not the physical object that produces the sound
  • MUSIQUE CONCRETE: instead of noting musical ideas with the symbols of traditional notation and confiding their concrete realisation to recognised instruments, it was a question of re-welcoming the raw sound from where it comes and of abstracting from it the musical values it potentially contained
  • SEMIOTIC TEMPORAL UNITS: fragments of sound types (ranging in duration from 1/20 to of a second to 3 or 4 seconds0 that can be isolated from their musical contexts by force of the unity of character they have (or appear to have) in relation to their temporal signification and CONSERVE THEIR TEMPORAL SIGNIFICATIONS WHEN OUTSIDE THE CONTEXT
  • TEMPORAL SIGNIFICATION: evocation of these sound fragments of a sensation or image bound to the experience of time passed (an experience involving muscular tensions or an observation of the movement of objects)
  • Sound object as a term cast aside ideas of movement and evolution in favor of fixed criteria
  • Models of organisation issued from everyday life might be useful to implement in the domain of sound — relating to sound via these ~typical~ experiences of passed time — when sound seems suspended or pushed forward for example
  • ‘We established minimum conditions for aspects common to all sound extracts through a particular sonorous configuration in order to reveal initially ignored details that proved to be determinants at the moment of categorisation’
  • Sound fabric (timbre, color) to shape (duration, rhythm, time) — temporal character toed to sound fabric (lightness or heaviness for example
  • ” In the following examples [21]-all of which consist of  unique, held (absent of rhythmic character), non-evolving (formless), homogenous sounds-we can perceive differences in temporal modalities that are doubtlessly also tied to a semantic (for example, hesitant, timid, majestic, et
  • “Feel” of sound : comparing electro acoustic music to “live” instrumental music one tends to neglect the fundamental, revolutionary possibility of the composer intervening directly on sounds as sonorous phenomena at the moments they develop and establish themselves in their durations, and, therefor, the possibility of constructing, developing and articulating a musical idea of the “sensation” of the duration as opposed to an abstract logic of structure
  • ‘Musical works as experiences in time rather than as constructed objects’ → the music stays the same after the relation changes, even if the compositional elements change
  • Eliminate confusion between symbol and reality via notation
  • Conceiving of an instrument implies fixing the constraints, passageways, possibilities and impossibilities of the material, and the manner in which to play it, therefore such conception already constitutes an engagement in musical composition
  • Introducing new musical value
  • Musical chance: consists of the composer setting processes in place while assuming an attitude of “non-intent”
  • Written work as opposed to recorded work always exists a “promise of sound”
  • Even if principles of indeterminacy considerably modifies the notion of a musical work, teh composer’s place in the work and the rules of the work (rules of organisation or simple instructions that allow the work to end up at an unforeseeable result) are conceived together as an object in which the musical sense exists through the organisation of the elements that form it prior to and independently of its realisation (improvisations and performances)
  • Schaeffer: ‘paper can never show these sparkling speeds, it promises them, implies them’
  • ‘Must one clearly perceive a piece’s modes of organisation or can one claim the work is instead intuitive and immediate?
  • ‘Sound art’ making the sounds exist in time
  • ‘Aural duration into which one must “sink” in order to seize their musical sense’

Adorno, Theodor Philosophie de la Nouvelle Musique

Eco, Umberto L’oeuvre Ouverte

Sound Matters: Towards an enactive approach to hearing media by Lisa Schmidt

Against reception theory, for enactive account of sound that would treat sound and image as interdependent. Sound as an embodied experience

  • ‘Sound is fundamental to the aforementioned gut resonse’
  • ‘An experience both heard and experienced as embodied’
  • Visualism fundamentally equals a disembodiment
  • Phenomenology (Maurice Merleau Ponty): a method of inquiry that is often defined simply as the study of experience : does not see the world as hiding behind a veil of language and signification, a critique of science
  • ‘We must not wonder, then, if we really perceive a world. Rather, we must say that the world is that which we perceive’  — begin simply with what is in front of us
  • But you do not perceive sound
  • Cartesian view privileges a ‘view from nowhere’ associates seeing, knowledge and understanding
  • ‘By bringing my body into the movie theatre, I have brought in a locus for multiple, overlapping and cross-modal styles of perceptual relationship.’
  • ‘The shape of hearing’?
  • Hearing gives me spatial and temporal
    information that places objects in both visual and auditory horizons, gives
    them an outline, an extent and a duration (Ihde 2007: 50–51). It also gives me
    information about an object that I might otherwise know only by touching and
    handling it. For instance, if someone in my vicinity picks up and drops a ball, I
    perceive its distance to me, its solidity or hollowness, its softness or hardness,
    its size, and even the material of which it is made. However, this information
    is dependent upon time already spent as a human being in my body, touching,
    handling, tasting and moving about. Just as for seeing, I must have a way of
    ‘representing to myself’ the distance between myself and the object, which is
    always a function of movement. I cannot know/hear the ball without representing
    to myself the same kinds of perceptual information. In short, I must be a
    perceiving embodied organism embedded in a world of relationships
  • Not passive recipients of sounds and images if we consider an enactive model of hearing (and seeing)
  • Perhaps it is commonplace to lament the relative
    lack of attention to sound in the study of film; even so, the ocular emphasis of
    western thought prevails. Where sound is discussed in the context of reception
    theory, it is frequently little more than lip service. An enactive account would
    necessarily treat sound and image as interdependent.

Reading List and some notes on meeting (see Rebecca’s post for more detailed outlined)

  • Is it exactly an accurate portrayal of his image?
  • How much has Columbia records had an impact on his image?
  • Can’t rule out that johnny cash is still a famous country musician
  • How much was his image controlled in the creation of johnny cash
  • Does the public person coincide with his outlaw identity?
  • Album covers, johnny cash backlit as a musician

Johnny Cash, Glen Sherley Greystone Chapel

Sounds kind of emotional


June sings with him

Makes it his own if he sings it every time

There are men here that don’t ever worship

Men who scoff at the ones who pray

I thank the lord for helping me today

Shower of light in a field of darkness

Reading/Watching List:

  • A Politics of Empathy: Johnny Cash, the Vietnam War, and the ‘Walking Contradiction’ Myth Dismantled Michael Stewart Foley
  • Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity, Leigh H. Edwards
  • “The Way I Would Feel About San Quentin”: Johnny Cash & the Politics of Country Music, Daniel Geary
  • Singing across the scars of wrong: Johnny Cash and his struggle for social justice, Kenneth D. Tunnell, Mark S. Hamm
  • Johnny Cash and philosophy: the burning ring of truth / edited by John Huss and David Werther.
  • The Man in Black, Johnny Cash
  • Foucault chapter
  • Reception theory
  • Adorno on sound/music
  • Walk the Line film
  • Johnny Cash: the American Rebel
  • ReMastered: Tricky Dick and the Man in Black
  • Through the prison of song, positing an american idenituty, Therese Smith
  • All videos of San Quentin footage
  • https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/flashback-see-johnny-cash-sing-wanted-man-at-san-quentin-prison-93160/
  • Listening to San Quentin album and Folsom Prison album

Spyros analyses Walk the Line Eloise analyses Folsom Prison

Preparation for Group Session

Since Spyros was sick last week and Rebecca was working on a play she is directing we decided it would be best to meet for two hours on the 12th of February in order to make up for lost time. We have all researched our given sections and I look forward to discussing what we have found.

Useful Links of videos and articles on Johnny Cash at San Quentin:





interesting  photos of Cash with Nixon and prisoners in BBC article that I can not copy here for some reason.

All video footage held at the British Library ( At San Quentin. (Legacy edition/+dvd) Cash, Johnny, 1932-2003, 2007)

Lessons from San Quentin, Everything I needed to know about life I learned in prison by Bill Doulas with George Barna  (this source is written about a prisoner’s experience… mentions that Johnny Cash ‘did time in another prison’) but every source says otherwise… myth of johny cash

Academic Articles

  • A Politics of Empathy: Johnny Cash, the Vietnam War, and the ‘Walking Contradiction’ Myth Dismantled Michael Stewart Foley
  • Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity, Leigh H. Edwards
  • “The Way I Would Feel About San Quentin”: Johnny Cash & the Politics of Country Music, Daniel Geary
  • Singing across the scars of wrong: Johnny Cash and his struggle for social justice, Kenneth D. Tunnell, Mark S. Hamm
  • Johnny Cash and philosophy: the burning ring of truth / edited by John Huss and David Werther.
  • The Man in Black, Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash General Research Questions and Notes:

  • Johnny Cash’s prison reform, a prison activist who believed in rehabilitation over imprisonment // maybe this was his image when he went into prisons — a celebrity country singer or an activist, or both?  
  • Look into the album as a medium of political activism
  • image in the concerts as an activist? Speeches as a way of politicizing his image?
  • albums advertised as a way of sharing his politic ideals without explicitly doing so?
  • Who listened to his music?
  • Think about the aim of conservative music more generally, libertarian escapism, Wild West … how did Cash’s political (liberal) motives fit into this category?
  • Think about how the footage was directed, emphasis on Johnny or the prisoners?
  • What did Johnny Cash mean to the prisoners? How did his outlaw image comply with his political activist intentions?

Transcription of a section of Johnny Cash’s San Quentin Prison Album:

I was thinking about you guys yesterday

I’ve been here 3 times before

I think I understand a little more about how you feel about some things  […]

I try to put my self in your place and I feel this is the way that I would feel about San Quentin


Not the usual ‘hello this is Johnny Cash’ more of political activist investment in what he says

Week 3 Meeting

Our most recent meeting was extremely helpful to the organization of our ideas and in formulating a research question. We are all very enthusiastic about the prospect of researching Johnny Cash’s San Quentin Prison Album, especially given the fact that this year is the album’s 50th anniversary. Having completed our assignment for the week, which was to bring in research on Johnny Cash related to sound, visuals and linguistics, we had an extremely fruitful conversation, propelling the topic of our presentation in the right direction. We decided to establish a broad research question for the time being: How does Johnny Cash’s San Quentin Prison Album illustrate his image both as an outlaw and an artist? We then established three main points in response to the question in order to guide our research:

A. Cash’s image

B. Cash’s Image in the Concerts

C. Cash’s Image in the Album

We hope that this plan will help us navigate the complexities of Cash’s public and private image. We are going to look into visual and audio material when grappling with point B and C and especially pay attention to the recording process as an indication of his perhaps fabricated, or at least privileged, image as an outlaw.

We have split up each section: Tess and Spyros are looking into part A, I am looking at part B and Rebecca is researching part C.

We also created a mindmap and recorded our brainstorming process in order to start thinking about the processes of recording. This made us aware of what we were saying, how we were speaking and even of the acoustics of the room, all aspects we will be sure to investigate in Johnny Cash’s album as well.

There is a great group dynamic and we are looking forward to meeting again next week.

Minutes — Communication Group A Week 2

This week we each brought in case studies related to our interest in sound. Tess, Rebecca, Spyros and I presented our research to each other:

The Work trailer ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8OVXG2GhpQ ): (Eloise) 

  • National identities: pan African, Native American, Hispanic, Caucasian 
  • masculinity? transcending societal norms? cultural restrictions/boundaries?
  • releasing emotions through deep
  • confronting trauma via group therapy with people from the outside
  • resonance of low voice to release emotions, male pride
  • Good and bad music which doesn’t relate to positive or negative
  • cultural relationship to music
  • sounds created by a prison

Johnny Cash albums recorded in jail (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG0fS4DoGUc) (Tess) 

  • Johnny Cash Folsom Prison: don’t include extraneous sounds from the prison
  • Relates to outsiders coming in as a way of community building Cf. The Work, drawing parallels with different case studies 
  • Changes the lyrics and doesn’t swear // leaves in the recording but chooses not to contravene
  • Jail skits 
  • Jail is meant to keep people out of society and yet musicians are finding a way of making it intrude society: humanize and dehumanize criminals
  • Albums recorded live
  • video footage?

The Bee Gees and war torture methods, i.e. in Afghanistan : (Rebecca) 

  • Music as a form of torture (the bee gees — disco music as torture because of the upbeat and repetitive intensity of sound) music will always penetrate // music and sound goes to a different part of your brain than anything else, thinking about the relationship between language and sound? communicating trauma? 
  • The death of a maiden, ariel dorfman
  • Holocaust prisoners made to sing
  • Saydnaya Torture Prison, the ‘welcome party’

Metropolis: silent film and industrialization (Spyros) 

  • Metropolis: silent film dominated by sound
  • Sound with piano in the background?
  • Adorno and the value of musical accompaniment
  • investigate

    the nature of sound in the film, if accompanied by piano how is this valuable to communicating industry?


  • Analytical framework needed 
  • Ressources? primary ressources and secondary? 
  • Adorno and Bach: sound and music as complimentary 
  • How can we talk about sound in a way that’ll bring something to it?
  • Come up with 4 or 5 points for each idea
  • When researching look at primary and secondary resources

For week 3: 

  • Johnny Cash focus looking into linguisticssound, and visuals
  • assess different material we would want to use
  • underlying ideas within our established analytical framework
  • each team member take notes on the research they have found and we will discuss our approaches to said information in Week 3


  • research framework established by reading week
  • organise video chat during reading week?

  • decide what we want to show to Angel in week 4

Minutes — Communication Group A WEEK 1


  • Research Blog — assess individual participation
  • Meet every other week
  • 20-minute presentation
  • Oral presentation: more structured
  • Trello: group organization method? 


  • Interest in sound and memories it resurfaces
  • sound/film → significance of an image without the sound
  • Psychological aspect
  • Space and structure
  • Acting techniques Meisner // use own personal histories to bring up your own experience // music is used to bring up that experience
  • Slave songs
  • Memory and traumatic memory // sound as communication of memory
  • Proust and Madeleine memories
  • Listening to songs to resurface memories
  • VICE
  • prisons/humanity/sound
  • Los frikis
  • Interdisciplinary approach: film/psychology/performance
  • 20 minutes is about 3500 words
  • The work: documentary about prisoners/outside society members doing group therapy in prison together

We parted ways deciding that for our next meeting we would all bring case studies related to the study of sound.

We created a shared google file and a facebook group chat for us to share and organize our previous research related to sound. Rebecca had written an essay on The Death of a Maiden and the presence of sound in that play so was able to share her research with us in the file. I had also written an essay on the sonic modeling of the Saydnaya Torture Prison so was able to share my findings on the relationship between sound and language as inspiration for our group presentation.