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Johnny Cash - Easy Rider: The Best Of The Mercury Recordings

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Easy Rider: The Best Of The Mercury Recordings

Johnny Cash

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It's widely acknowledged that Johnny Cash's time at Mercury didn't find the Man in Black at either his commercial or creative peak. Cash moved to the label in 1986, just after he departed his longtime home of Columbia, and he stayed there through 1991, a half-decade stint that resulted in only one Country Top 40 hit (1988's "That Old Wheel," which charted thanks to the momentum of Cash's duet partner, Hank Williams, Jr.) and has subsequently been framed as the wilderness years before he righted himself on Rick Rubin's American Recordings. The 2020 box set The Complete Mercury Albums 1986-1991 and its accompanying single-disc sampler Easy Rider: The Best of the Mercury Recordings provide the first opportunity to challenge this conventional wisdom, a place where it's possible to concentrate on the relative merits of the handful of LPs he recorded for the label. As heard on Easy Rider, this era sounds much better than its reputation suggests. Even the cuts from Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series, a 1988 collection of re-recordings of his old hits, is livelier than its description suggests, benefitting from Cash sounding spry and invested in the material. That none of these LPs generated hit singles at the time can be chalked up to a matter of age. Cash was on the other side of 50 when he made this music and he'd been a hitmaker for 30 years. He was a known property who couldn't fit into the sound of modern country radio, which happened to be running away from veterans like him in the first place. Which isn't to say he wasn't embraced by modern musicians: Elvis Costello wrote the rousing hangover anthem "The Big Light" for him and U2 had him sing "The Wanderer" on their 1993 Zooropa, a cut that isn't quite in step with the rest of this collection but is nevertheless a welcome addition, since it isn't on any other Cash comp. All these personal and cultural changes doomed Cash's Mercury records to commercial failure, and while the albums still have a distinct gloss endemic to the '80s, each of them has its share of moments, and many of them are here.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Easy Rider: The Best Of The Mercury Recordings

Johnny Cash

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1
Waymore's Blues
Johnny Cash
00:02:24

Curtis Buck, ComposerLyricist - Chips Moman, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - ROY ORBISON, MainArtist - Will Jennings, ComposerLyricist - Jerry Lee Lewis, MainArtist - Carl Perkins, MainArtist

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
We Remember The King
Roy Orbison
00:03:01

Paul Kennerley, ComposerLyricist - Chips Moman, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - ROY ORBISON, MainArtist - Jerry Lee Lewis, MainArtist - Carl Perkins, MainArtist

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
The Big Light
Johnny Cash
00:02:41

Jack Clement, Producer - Declan MacManus, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Ferguson, Producer, Engineer, Assistant Producer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Marie Kelly, Unknown, Other - Coley Coleman, Unknown, Other

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
The Night Hank Williams Came To Town
Johnny Cash
00:03:23

Bobby Braddock, ComposerLyricist - Jack Clement, Producer - CHARLIE WILLIAMS, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Waylon Jennings, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Ferguson, Producer, Engineer, Assistant Producer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Marie Kelly, Unknown, Other

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1987 Mercury Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Let Him Roll
Johnny Cash
00:04:28

Guy Clark, ComposerLyricist - Jack Clement, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Ferguson, Producer, Engineer, Assistant Producer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Marie Kelly, Unknown, Other

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
W. Lee O'Daniel (And The Light Crust Dough Boys)
Johnny Cash
00:02:45

Jack Clement, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Light Crust Doughboys, FeaturedArtist - James Talley, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Engineer, Assistant Producer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Marie Kelly, Unknown, Other - Coley Coleman, Unknown, Other

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Ballad Of A Teenage Queen
Johnny Cash
00:02:47

Jack Clement, Guitar, Unknown, Dobro, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bobby Wood, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Mark Howard, Guitar, Mandolin, Remixer, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - The Everly Brothers, FeaturedArtist - DENNY PURCELL, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Accordion, Piano, Remixer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - MARTY STUART, Guitar, Mandolin, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Cochran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Malone, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - EMMYLOU HARRIS, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Huskey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Hartford, Banjo, AssociatedPerformer - ROSANNE CASH, FeaturedArtist - Lloyd Green, Steel Guitar, Dobro, AssociatedPerformer - Jack H. Clement, Producer, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Remixer, StudioPersonnel - Ace Cannon, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - W.S. Holland, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Dant, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Skinker, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cynthia Reynolds Wyatt, Harp, AssociatedPerformer

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
The Last Of The Drifters
Johnny Cash
00:03:19

Jack Clement, Guitar, Unknown, Orchestra/Member, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bobby Wood, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Cash, Unknown, Other, MainArtist - Mark Howard, Guitar, Mandolin, Remixer, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - DENNY PURCELL, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Producer, Accordion, Piano, Executive Producer, Remixer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - MARTY STUART, Guitar, Mandolin, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Cochran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Malone, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Tom T. Hall, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - EMMYLOU HARRIS, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Huskey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Hartford, Banjo, AssociatedPerformer - Lloyd Green, Steel Guitar, Orchestra/Member, AssociatedPerformer - Jack H. Clement, Producer - David Ferguson, Remixer, StudioPersonnel - Ace Cannon, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - W.S. Holland, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Dant, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Skinker, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cynthia Reynolds Wyatt, Harp, AssociatedPerformer - Coley Coleman, Producer, Executive Producer

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
That Old Wheel
Johnny Cash
00:02:50

Jack Clement, Guitar, Unknown, Dobro, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bobby Wood, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Mark Howard, Guitar, Mandolin, Remixer, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - DENNY PURCELL, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Accordion, Piano, Remixer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - MARTY STUART, Guitar, Mandolin, AssociatedPerformer - Hank Williams Jr., FeaturedArtist - Charles Cochran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Malone, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - EMMYLOU HARRIS, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Huskey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Hartford, Banjo, AssociatedPerformer - Lloyd Green, Steel Guitar, Orchestra/Member, AssociatedPerformer - Jack H. Clement, Producer - Jennifer Pierce, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Remixer, StudioPersonnel - Ace Cannon, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - W.S. Holland, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Dant, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Skinker, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cynthia Reynolds Wyatt, Harp, AssociatedPerformer

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Get Rhythm 1988 Version
Johnny Cash
00:02:33

Johnny Cash, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Tennessee Flat Top Box 1988 Version
Johnny Cash
00:03:08

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Sunday Morning Coming Down 1988 Version
Johnny Cash
00:03:56

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist - Kris Kristofferson, ComposerLyricist

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Veteran's Day
Johnny Cash
00:03:00

Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Bob Moore, Producer - Tom Russell, ComposerLyricist

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1990 UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
A Backstage Pass
Johnny Cash
00:03:22

Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Bob Moore, Producer - Bob Bradley, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dennis Ritchie, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Danny Dunkleberger, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1989 UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
Cat's In The Cradle
Johnny Cash
00:03:16

Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Harry Chapin, ComposerLyricist - Bob Moore, Producer - Sandy Campbell Chapin, ComposerLyricist - Bob Bradley, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dennis Ritchie, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Danny Dunkleberger, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1990 UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Farmer's Almanac
Johnny Cash
00:03:48

Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Bob Moore, Producer - Bob Bradley, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dennis Ritchie, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Danny Dunkleberger, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1990 Mercury Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

17
Monteagle Mountain
Johnny Cash
00:03:10

Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Bob Moore, Producer - Bob Bradley, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard McGibony, ComposerLyricist - Dennis Ritchie, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Danny Dunkleberger, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1990 UMG Recordings, Inc.

18
I Shall Be Free
Johnny Cash
00:03:28

Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Bob Moore, Producer

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1990 UMG Recordings, Inc.

19
I'm An Easy Rider
Johnny Cash
00:02:36

Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Mark Howard, Engineer, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David r. Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Benny Quinn, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Harold Shedd, Producer - Jack H. Clement, Producer - David Ferguson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Claudia Mize, Producer - Reba Hancock, Producer - Jack "Stack-A-Track" Grotchmal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - J. Niles Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cousin Bob Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

20
The Greatest Cowboy Of Them All
Johnny Cash
00:03:32

Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Mark Howard, Engineer, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David r. Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Benny Quinn, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jack H. Clement, Producer - David Ferguson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jack "Stack-A-Track" Grotchmal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - J. Niles Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cousin Bob Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

21
Hey Porter
Johnny Cash
00:02:19

Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Mark Howard, Engineer, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David r. Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Benny Quinn, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Harold Shedd, Producer - Jack H. Clement, Producer - David Ferguson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Claudia Mize, Producer - Reba Hancock, Producer - Jack "Stack-A-Track" Grotchmal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - J. Niles Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cousin Bob Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

22
The Mystery Of Life
Johnny Cash
00:03:10

Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Mark Howard, Engineer, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David r. Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Benny Quinn, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Harold Shedd, Producer - Jack H. Clement, Producer - Joe Nixon, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Claudia Mize, Producer - Reba Hancock, Producer - Jack "Stack-A-Track" Grotchmal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - J. Niles Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cousin Bob Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

23
Goin' By The Book
Johnny Cash
00:03:18

Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Mark Howard, Engineer, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Joey Miskulin, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David r. Ferguson, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Benny Quinn, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Harold Shedd, Producer - Jack H. Clement, Producer - David Ferguson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chester Lester, ComposerLyricist - Claudia Mize, Producer - Reba Hancock, Producer - Jack "Stack-A-Track" Grotchmal, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - J. Niles Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cousin Bob Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

A Mercury Records release; ℗ 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.

24
The Wanderer From “Faraway, So Close!” Soundtrack
U2
00:05:16

Johnny Cash, FeaturedArtist - Brian Eno, Producer - Bono, Author - Flood, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Robbie Adams, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - U2, MainArtist - Adam Clayton, Composer - The Edge, Composer, Producer - Larry Mullen, Jr., Composer - Willie Mannion, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1993 Universal-Island Records Ltd., under exclusive licence to Mercury Records Limited

Descriptif de l'album

It's widely acknowledged that Johnny Cash's time at Mercury didn't find the Man in Black at either his commercial or creative peak. Cash moved to the label in 1986, just after he departed his longtime home of Columbia, and he stayed there through 1991, a half-decade stint that resulted in only one Country Top 40 hit (1988's "That Old Wheel," which charted thanks to the momentum of Cash's duet partner, Hank Williams, Jr.) and has subsequently been framed as the wilderness years before he righted himself on Rick Rubin's American Recordings. The 2020 box set The Complete Mercury Albums 1986-1991 and its accompanying single-disc sampler Easy Rider: The Best of the Mercury Recordings provide the first opportunity to challenge this conventional wisdom, a place where it's possible to concentrate on the relative merits of the handful of LPs he recorded for the label. As heard on Easy Rider, this era sounds much better than its reputation suggests. Even the cuts from Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series, a 1988 collection of re-recordings of his old hits, is livelier than its description suggests, benefitting from Cash sounding spry and invested in the material. That none of these LPs generated hit singles at the time can be chalked up to a matter of age. Cash was on the other side of 50 when he made this music and he'd been a hitmaker for 30 years. He was a known property who couldn't fit into the sound of modern country radio, which happened to be running away from veterans like him in the first place. Which isn't to say he wasn't embraced by modern musicians: Elvis Costello wrote the rousing hangover anthem "The Big Light" for him and U2 had him sing "The Wanderer" on their 1993 Zooropa, a cut that isn't quite in step with the rest of this collection but is nevertheless a welcome addition, since it isn't on any other Cash comp. All these personal and cultural changes doomed Cash's Mercury records to commercial failure, and while the albums still have a distinct gloss endemic to the '80s, each of them has its share of moments, and many of them are here.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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