Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings
June Carter, Jessi Colter
Lloyd Noble Center
February 21, 1988
"Affordable Art Tour"
Recording: 2 x Sony ECM33F Mics > Marantz PMD430
Transfer: mjk5510 Master Tapes > Nakamichi DR-01 (azimuth adjusted) > Sound Devices USBPre2 > Audacity (24/96) > iZotope RX / ozone 5 (mastered) > Peak Pro 6 (post production) > 16/44 > xACT 2.39 > FLAC
02 Six Days On The Road
03 The Ballad Of Paladin
JOHNNY CASH & WAYLON JENNINGS
04 There Ain�t No Good Chain Gang
05 Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
06 The Highwayman
07 I Wish I Was Crazy Again
08 Sweeter Than Flowers
09 Me And Bobby McGee
10 Mama Don�t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
11 If Ol� Hank Could Only See Us Now
13 Good Hearted Woman
14 What�s Happened To Blue Eyes
15 Let�s Have A Meeting Here Tonight
16 I�m Not Lisa
WAYLON JENNINGS & JESSI COLTER
17 The Wild Side Of Life
18 Storms Never Last
19 Wabash Cannonball
21 Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room
22 Church In The Wildwood
23 Gold Watch And Chain
24 I�m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes
25 Wildwood Flower
26 Will The Circle Be Unbroken
27 The Wreck Of The Old �97
28 Folsom Prison Blues
29 Sunday Morning Coming Down
30 Get Rhythym
31 Tennessee Flat Top Box
32 Big River
33 I Still Miss Someone
34 The Wall >
35 Long Black Veil
36 Ragged Old Flag
37 Ghost Riders In The Sky
JOHNNY CASH & JUNE CARTER
39 If I Were A Carpenter
40 It Ain�t Me Babe
JOHNNY CASH, WAYLON JENNINGS
JUNE CARTER & JESS COLTER
42 I�d Rather Have Jesus
43 I�ll Fly Away >
44 Daddy Sang Bass
45 This Land Is Your Land
-Good Hearted Woman: start slightly cut
In 1988 Johnny Cash had an idea to put on a "back to basics" tour targeting college campuses. He recruited Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and June Carter and took the show on the road for three dates to test the waters in late February with dates at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois in Champaign.
Dubbed the "Affordable Art" tour, tickets were all priced at $9.50 and the concept was to present a more intimate, simple show with little flash and flair, less lighting, less sophisticated sound and stripped down instrumentation. As Johnny put it, absent would be the high-tech schmaltz that has been the trend lately.
The tour opened on February 21st at the Lloyd Noble Center on the University Of Oklahoma campus. What should have been and in some cases was an incredible afternoon of music, 4PM start, had plenty of stumbles along the way. Off the bat it was clear both Johnny and Waylon were both slightly under the weather, they were under-rehearsed which actually gave the proceedings a somewhat fun impromptu feel reminiscent of a good old-fashioned guitar pull. It took a few songs for both Johnny and Waylon to settle their nerves but they soon settled into a nice casual back and forth.
The show opened with two songs from the legendary Johnny Western, writer and performer of "Ballad Of Paladin" from the hugely popular 1950's/1960's TV series "Have Gun Will Travel". Johnny and Waylon then hit the stage for an mini five song set, though there were some early stumbles and the previously mentioned nerves but by the time they pulled out "The Highwayman" the nerves had begun to subside.
Waylon takes the spotlight for a five song set highlighted by the always welcome "Me And Bobby McGee". Jessi Colter then replaces Waylon for a short three song set, she appeared very nervous but in the end pulled it off and closed with her biggest (pop) hit "I'm Not Lisa". Waylon then joined his wife for two additional duets capped off with a nice version of arguably their best duet "Storms Never Last", a song Jessi wrote about their tumultuous marriage.
After a short intermission the stage is taken over by the fiery June Carter, no nerves on display here. June's personality on stage commands the audiences attention, she's funny attacks and devours every song. Her nine song set has many highlights and she does not let up from start to finish, I might say she is the highlight of the show.
She hands off the show to Johnny for a good, though lacking a bit of energy after June, 10 song set. Kicking off with "Folsom Prison Blues", the small adoring crowd comes alive for the biggest reaction of the night. Johnny's is not in top shape tonight but pulls off the set like the consument professional he is and gives the crowd an enjoyable 30 minutes. June joins once again for arguably the best three song stretch of the night, June's energy level pushes Johnny along and June attacks "Jackson" dragging Johnny along for the ride, followed by the made to be a duet "If I Were A Carpenter" and a really nice duet on Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe".
The show closes with all parties gathered around the piano in a traditional "guitar pull" set up (a piano pull if you will).
All in all the show was a bit of a mess, under-rehearsed and a thrown together feel to it.
The tour would not be extended past the three original dates making this a unique performance and this is the only capture of this snapshot in time. It is probably just as well though exciting to see four legends (well three and a half, I'm not sure you can call Jessi Colter a legend based on her body of work) the premise of the show was flawed. Chaotic and clunky at times, whether the old guard of country music wanted to admit it or not, the time had passed for such a tour. I prefer my country music presented the way it was here but the schmaltz was in and that was just a fact and evident here by the small crowd that attended.
Both Johnny and Waylon would have open heart surgery before the end of the year effectively killing any thoughts of touring a stripped down show again.
Johnny would have another hugely successful shot at this back to basics approach with the brilliant series of releases he did with Rick Rubin in the early 1990's.
This one languished on my hard drive for years, we had very good seats for the show, lower balcony about halfway back, I'd gotten tremendously successful captures at any traditional rock show with hanging stacks in these same seats. However, the budget nature of this tour carried on with the sound system and PA setup. It was low and weak to say the least making the dialogue difficult to hear at times, no hanging stacks and a very small stage set up. This along with the combination of being the opening show made this one a tough capture.
After trying multiple (re)mastering combinations, I finally settled on one that I believe makes this a desirable listen and welcome addition to the Johnny and Waylon touring legacy.
As I mentioned previously, this is the one and only capture of this short lived lineup and tour.
The Champaign show was video taped but the footage is housed in the Country Music Hall of Fame's Digital Collection however it is not viewable and remains unseen and inaccessible.
There is also backstage interview footage before the show with Waylon and Johnny:
Artwork as well as a number of articles and ads around the tour, including a review of this show are included.
Images for all shows as well as full size images for this show.
Images for this show: