The Beatles keep on being The Beatles; I right a wrong and give Johnny Cash an Album of the Year award.


1970 One Man Academy
Album of the Year

Abbey Road, The Beatles
At San Quentin, Johnny Cash

I genuinely wish this album was slightly better so I could also make it a winner

  • Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills & Nash

If you only listen to one song: A cheer for Luther Perkins/"Starkville City Jail"


Johnny Cash At San Quentin
Here are three things that really struck me:

One
Between the songs "Darlin' Companion" and "Starkville City Jail", one of the concert attendees yells to Johnny "Where's Luther, Johnny?" and Johnny has to tell the guy that Luther Perkins died 7 months prior, after being with the band for 13 years. Listening to it all unfold on my car stereo was surprising and intimate.

It seems like the internet would preclude that exchange from happening, today, which makes me sad.

Two
Johnny sings a song called "San Quentin", about the prison he's performing in, and the concert attendees EAT IT UP THEY LOVE IT SO MUCH. So so much, in fact, they make him immediately play the song a second time.

Three
Between singing "San Quentin" the first and second time, he asks a guard, "if any of them are still speaking to me", for a glass of water; what follows is a chorus of boos that made me laugh aloud.

Crosby, Stills & Nash
I feel like CSN; Peter, Paul and Mary; Simon and Garfunkel; and so many other acts from this era have very similar sounds. It's shocking how much I liked CSN's album vs. how much I passionately disliked all those other albums. Maybe that's just the difference between a group and a super-group.

The Fab Four
Abbey Road was sneaky good for me. I know it's crazy to say the goodness of any Beatles album is "sneaky", but sneaky is the best word I've found to describe the feeling I have when listening to the album.

Abbey Road is 48 straight minutes of consistently great music. I don't particularly like one song more than the others. There was no "aha!" moment when I realized how much I liked the album. My appreciation for the album didn't click after repeated listenings. My experience with Abbey Road is that the album starts, 48 minutes later it stops, and I think to myself, "Huh -- it's over? Dang... I think that was a pretty good album."


The current One Man Academy (OMA) project is listening to the Grammy's Album of the Year nominees and re-choosing winners, absent of historical context.

Featured songs from this post: Spotify

All previous OMA Album of the Year Winners