Johnny Cash Shaking Hands with Glen Sherley, Folsom Prison, 1968
Johnny Cash shakes hands with Glen Sherley, the inmate who wrote and recorded the song “Greystone Chapel” that Cash performed during his famous Folsom Prison concert. The previous evening a copy of Sherley’s recording made its way into the hands of the country legend by way of a Folsom minister. As soon as Johnny Cash heard it he stayed up all night, learning the song.
The night before I was going to record at Folsom prison, I got to the motel and a preacher friend of mine brought me a tape of a song called “Greystone Chapel.” He said a convict had written it about the chapel at Folsom. I listened to it one time and I said, “I’ve got to do this in the show tomorrow.” So I stayed up and learned it, and the next day the preacher had him in the front row. I announced, “This song was written by Glen Sherley.” It was a terrible, terrible thing to point him out among all those cons, but I didn’t think about that then. Everybody just had a fit, screaming and carrying on.