DILLAN STRADLIN

A Johnny Cash Concert From 1968, Recorded By The Grateful Dead Engineer, Comes To Light

The recording was discovered in the private stash of the late Owsley “Bear” Stanley

As far as Johnny Cash (one of the greatest country music artists) is concerned, 1968 seems to be the year of great concerts. It started out with his legendary concerts in the Folsom Prison, continued with a tour through the U.S. and Canada, ending with a final concert at the Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco.

As Open Culture reports, this last concert was recorded by Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the Grateful Dead’s engineer and also the man responsible for creating the purest LSD on the West Coast. According to this source, this gig is one of over 1,300 the engineer recorded and kept in his private collection. Stanley died in 2011, and ten years later the Oswald Stanley Foundation is selectively releasing recordings from this treasure trove as a way to preserve the recordings and fund more releases. This Cash set was one of the first releases in the “Bear’s Sonic Journals” series, released in October of 2021.

Stanley recorded these sets for himself, coming straight out of the soundboard. Where the Carousel Ballroom concert lacks in quality—vocals, audience, and Cash’s guitar are on the left, the band to the right—they make up for in history and excitement.

Currently, the label has released full concerts from Tim Buckley, Ali Akbar Khan, with Indranil Bhattacharya and Zakir Hussain, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, New Riders of The Purple Sage, Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady, The Allman Brothers Band, and Doc and Merle Watson.

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