New inmate Marie arrives at an island prison in the women's sector and receives the number 99. The inmates are controlled by the sadistic lesbian warden Thelma Diaz and Governor Santos and submitted to torture, rape and lesbianism. When the Minister of Justice replaces Diaz by Leonie Caroll, Marie believes that her life will improve and her case will be reopened. However, Marie is disappointed with the new warden and decides to escape with two other inmates. But their runaway scheme fails and the three women are chased not only by the guards, but also by male prisoners that have not seen women for many years.
While Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, the 1968 album that made Cash a household word, spent only two weeks at No. 1, this 1969 follow-up topped the charts for 20 weeks. As with Folsom, the San Quentin LP had to be edited due to space limitations. Now, 31 years after the fact, the show can at last be heard in true perspective. All the original performances hold up, including the album's hit single: Shel Silverstein's "A Boy Named Sue," presented unbleeped for the first time. Equally impressive are the eight restored tracks and unexpurgated between-song patter. Cash's opening renditions of "Big River" and "I Still Miss Someone" are bracing. So are four closing songs teaming Cash with his complete performing troupe (the Carter Family, Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers). Their gospel performances ("He Turned the Water into Wine," "The Old Account," and an early version of "Daddy Sang Bass") are electrifying, as is a concluding medley featuring everyone. Cash is presented here at his roaring, primal best.
This LP has the debut of drummer Marty Morell with Bill Evans and bassist Eddie Gomez, and this particular trio would retain the same personnel for six productive years. Actually, this is a quartet set with guest flutist Jeremy Steig, whose playing recalls Herbie Mann's recording (Nirvana) with Evans back in the early '60s. Both flutists were always open to the influences of pop and rock, although in both of their collaborations with Evans, the music is very much on the pianist's turf. With the exception of Evans' "Time Out for Chris" and the "Spartacus Love Theme," the songs performed on this date would fit securely in the Miles Davis repertoire of the late '50s. Steig is in particularly fine form on the program which includes tunes such as "Straight No Chaser," "Autumn Leaves," and "So What."