A previously unreleased recording of Johnny Cash covering Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” captured by Grateful Dead sound engineer Owsley “Bear” Stanley arrived today. The track will appear on the forthcoming archival release, Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24 1968, due out on October 29 via the Owsley Stanley Foundation, Renew Records/BMG and Legacy Recordings.
The landmark live album marking a cosmic confluence of Outlaw Country and Haight-Asbury at the San Francisco district’s famed Carousel Ballroom was announced in June and previewed by Cash’s performance of “I’m Going To Memphis.” A recording of “Cocaine Blues” followed in July ahead of today’s release, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”
“Don’t Think Twice” is perhaps Cash’s most famous Dylan cover. The Man In Black performed the Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan cut in the mid-’60s and included it on his 1965 album Orange Blossom Special, along with two other Dylan tunes. “Don’t Think Twice” wasn’t the only tune Cash and his renowned band The Tennessee Three — guitarist Luther Perkins, bassist Marshall Grant and drummer W.S. Holland — covered in April of ‘68. Johnny Cash At The Carousel Ballroom also boasts the first known recording of Cash on Bob’s “One Too Many Mornings,” a song the two friends would later perform together.
Enhancing the experience on the Carousel recording is Bear’s sonic wizardry. “Stanley’s recording is similarly rich in sonic experimentation and filled with the idiosyncrasies of his own corners of the musical universe,” press materials for Cash’s Carousel performance noted.
Listen to Johnn Cash perform “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” live from the Carousel Ballroom in 1968 below: