Johnny Cash tribute act to walk in the footsteps of Man in Black at Yorkshire jail

Rock 'n' roll and country music icon Johnny Cash (1932 - 2003) in London'Picture: Robin Jones/Evening Standard/Getty Images
Rock 'n' roll and country music icon Johnny Cash (1932 - 2003) in London'Picture: Robin Jones/Evening Standard/Getty Images
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A Johnny Cash tribute act will walk in the footsteps of the Man in Black by performing in front of prisoners at HMP Humber in what is believed to be a UK first.

Dave Burnham, who heads the long-running tribute act, Keep It Cash, will do a 40-minute set with Sally Fairfax in June Carter’s role, for around 30 inmates at the Category C resettlement prison.

Aerial view of HMPs Wolds and Everthorpe, now HMP Humber: Google Maps

Aerial view of HMPs Wolds and Everthorpe, now HMP Humber: Google Maps

The pair will also deliver a workshop on the gravelly-voiced country music legend, whose appearance before inmates at Folsom State Prison in California in 1968 has gone down in the annals of music history.

HMP Humber, incorporates HMP Wolds and HMP Everthorpe, and is a resettlement prison holding 1,000 men.

Mr Burnham, a lifelong Johnny Cash fan, said: “It’s always been an ambition of mine to bring the music of The Man In Black to a prison.

“The star himself famously did it in January 1968 at Folsom Prison. Fifty-two years later, we’re doing it at HMP Humber. Music - and particularly his - has had such a huge effect on my life.

Dave Burnham and Sally Fairfax - who will be rocking Hull Jail

Dave Burnham and Sally Fairfax - who will be rocking Hull Jail

“I’m looking forward to sharing that passion with a workshop about Cash and sharing the power of his music with a new audience.”

Ms Fairfax, a BBC Radio Humberside presenter, said officials at the jail were immediately receptive to the idea, if cautious, when she contacted them back in October.

She said: “I would say everybody deserves to benefit from the uplifting power of live music and I’d like to think it would help them on the right path.”

Interviews with the inmates about the power of music in jail and outside will be recorded as part of a short programme, some of which will be broadcast on the BBC station.

HMP Humber's head of reducing reoffending Allison Watson said they were delighted to take part in the event on January 7.

She said: “Music can have a life-affirming and even life-changing impact. We hope that this experience will enrich the lives of the men in our care helping them to try new skills and build self-esteem.”

One of the best-selling music artists of all time, Cash sold more than 90 million records worldwide.

His live album At Folsom Prison, released on Columbia Records in May 1968, garnered rave reviews and revitalised his career.

According to official figures in November, violence at the jail, near Everthorpe, has risen despite more money being spent on inmates.

Figures published by the MoJ recorded 490 assaults at HMP Humber in 2018 - 182 more than the previous year.

These included 118 attacks on staff , nine of which were considered “serious”, such as those needing medical treatment or resulting in fractures, burns, or extensive bruising.

There were also 792 self-harm incidents, up from 582 in 2017.