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Johnny Cash|Complete Mercury Albums 1986-1991

Complete Mercury Albums 1986-1991

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 is 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. The box expands upon the original five records for Mercury by adding a bunch of bonus tracks, plus a full album's worth of alternate mixes of the 1988 covers collection Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series and the 1986 collaborative set Class of 55, where he was joined by fellow Sun Records survivors Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison for a set of new songs written in the style of the oldies. Class of 55 opens this chronological set on a shaky note, thanks to freeze-dried Chips Moman production that steers each of these greats toward their worst instincts. It's one of the worst LPs credited to any of the four, and having it open the set suggests that Cash's Mercury stint is as bad as its rep, but 1987's Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town is a better yardstick to gauge this era by. Produced by Jack Clements, Coming to Town opens with a careening version of Elvis Costello's "The Big Light" and then proceeds to run through covers, cornball novelties, sincere ballads, and story songs. It's a dynamic, entertaining record and Cash returned to its formula often on Mercury to admittedly varied but often entertaining results. Clement also helmed 1988's Water from the Wells of Home, a record that gets weighed down by its cameos, but the guests can also conjure some unexpected delights, such as Paul McCartney's appearance on "New Moon Over Jamaica." Producer Bob Moore kept 1990's Boom Chicka Boom tight and focused. The 1991 set The Mystery of Life comprised cobbled-together leftovers from Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town and sessions for a new album that didn't quite come to fruition; it's uneven but has more than its share of moments, including a new version of Bob Dylan's "Wanted Man." Listened to collectively, these records sound much better than their reputation suggests. Even Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series, a 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 Cash in the first place. 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 Comes to Town and Boom Chicka Boom are strong records in their own right.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Complete Mercury Albums 1986-1991

Johnny Cash

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1
Birth Of Rock And Roll
Carl Perkins
00:04:23

Chips Moman, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - ROY ORBISON, MainArtist - Jerry Lee Lewis, MainArtist - Carl Perkins, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Gregory S. Perkins, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Sixteen Candles
Roy Orbison
00:03:46

Luther Dixon, ComposerLyricist - Chips Moman, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - ROY ORBISON, MainArtist - Jerry Lee Lewis, MainArtist - Carl Perkins, MainArtist - Allyson R. Khent, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Class Of '55
Roy Orbison
00:02:59

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

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
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

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
We Remember The King
Roy Orbison
00:03:02

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

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Coming Home
Roy Orbison
00:04:01

J.D. Souther, ComposerLyricist - Chips Moman, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - ROY ORBISON, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Will Jennings, ComposerLyricist - Jerry Lee Lewis, MainArtist - Carl Perkins, MainArtist

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Rock And Roll (Fais-Do-Do)
Roy Orbison
00:03:19

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

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Keep My Motor Running
Roy Orbison
00:02:54

Chips Moman, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - ROY ORBISON, MainArtist - Jerry Lee Lewis, MainArtist - Carl Perkins, MainArtist - BRUCE CHANNEL, ComposerLyricist - Kenn Beal, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
I Will Rock And Roll With You
Johnny Cash
00:02:04

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

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Big Train (From Memphis)
Roy Orbison
00:07:57

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

℗ 1986 UMG Recordings, Inc.

DISC 2

1
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

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
The Ballad Of Barbara
Johnny Cash
00:04:21

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

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
I'd Rather Have You
Johnny Cash
00:03:11

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

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

4
Let Him Roll
Johnny Cash
00:04:29

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

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

5
The Night Hank Williams Came To Town
Johnny Cash
00:03:24

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

℗ 1987 Mercury Records

6
Sixteen Tons
Johnny Cash
00:02:44

Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Merle Travis, ComposerLyricist - Jack H. Clement, Producer

℗ 1987 Mercury Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

7
Letters From Home
Johnny Cash
00:03:19

Jack Clement, Producer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Richard Adler , Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jack Wesley Routh, ComposerLyricist - John Charles Crowley, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Producer, Engineer, Assistant Producer, StudioPersonnel - Dr. Marie Kelly, Unknown, Other - Coley Coleman, Unknown, Other

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

8
W. Lee O'Daniel (And The Light Crust Dough Boys)
Johnny Cash
00:02:44

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

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Heavy Metal (Don't Mean Rock And Roll To Me)
Johnny Cash
00:02:48

Jim McBride, ComposerLyricist - Guy Clark, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Jack H. Clement, Producer

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
My Ship Will Sail
Johnny Cash
00:02:45

Johnny Cash, MainArtist - Allen Reynolds, ComposerLyricist - Jack H. Clement, Producer

℗ 1987 UMG Recordings, Inc.

DISC 3

1
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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
As Long As I Live
Johnny Cash
00:03:00

Jessi Colter, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - 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 - Waylon Jennings, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - 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 - EMMYLOU HARRIS, Guitar, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Huskey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Hartford, Banjo, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Acuff, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - 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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Where Did We Go Right
Johnny Cash
00:02:56

Jack Clement, Guitar, Unknown, Orchestra/Member, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Loggins, ComposerLyricist - Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bobby Wood, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - June Carter, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, 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 - EMMYLOU HARRIS, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Huskey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Hartford, Banjo, AssociatedPerformer - Lloyd Green, Steel Guitar, Orchestra/Member, AssociatedPerformer - The Carter Family, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Don Alan Schlitz Jr., ComposerLyricist - 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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Call Me The Breeze
Johnny Cash
00:03:26

Jack Clement, Guitar, Unknown, Orchestra/Member, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bobby Wood, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - J.J. CALE, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Unknown, Other, MainArtist - Mark Howard, Guitar, Mandolin, Remixer, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - DENNY PURCELL, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Carter Cash, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - 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 - 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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

6
That Old Wheel
Johnny Cash
00:02:51

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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

7
Sweeter Than The Flowers
Johnny Cash
00:02:56

Jessi Colter, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - 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 - Waylon Jennings, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - 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 - EMMYLOU HARRIS, Guitar, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Roy Huskey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Hartford, Banjo, AssociatedPerformer - Lloyd Green, Steel Guitar, Orchestra/Member, AssociatedPerformer - Jack H. Clement, Producer - Erwin Thomas Rouse, ComposerLyricist - Lorene Mann, ComposerLyricist - David Ferguson, Remixer, StudioPersonnel - Morrey Burns, ComposerLyricist - 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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
A Croft In Clachan (The Ballad Of Rob MacDunn)
Johnny Cash
00:04:03

Jack Clement, Guitar, Unknown, Orchestra/Member, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bobby Wood, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Cash, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Mark Howard, Guitar, Mandolin, Remixer, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Glen Campbell, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - 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 - 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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

9
New Moon Over Jamaica
Johnny Cash
00:03:12

Jack Clement, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Butler, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Mccartney, Producer, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - June Carter, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Cash, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Geoff Emerick, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Linda Mccartney, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tom T. Hall, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Water From The Wells Of Home
Johnny Cash
00:02:58

Jack Clement, Guitar, Unknown, Orchestra/Member, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bobby Wood, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Cash, Unknown, Other, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Mark Howard, Guitar, Mandolin, Remixer, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - DENNY PURCELL, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Carter Cash, Orchestra/Member, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - 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 - 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 - Jack Hale Jr., Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

11
Ballad Of A Teenage Queen (Alternate Mix)
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

℗ 2018 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
That Old Wheel (Alternate Mix)
Johnny Cash
00:02:49

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

℗ 2018 UMG Recordings, Inc.

DISC 4

1
Get Rhythm (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:33

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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
Tennessee Flat Top Box (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:03:08

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

3
Long Black Veil (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:03:15

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist - Danny Dill, ComposerLyricist - Marijohn Wilkin, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

4
A Thing Called Love (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:17

Jerry Reed, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

5
I Still Miss Someone (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:59

Roy Cash Jr., ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

6
Cry, Cry, Cry (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:25

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

7
Blue Train (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:04

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist - Billy Smith, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

8
Sunday Morning Coming Down (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:03:56

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist - Kris Kristofferson, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

9
Five Feet High And Rising (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:01:46

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Donivan Cowart, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

10
Peace In The Valley (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:56

Thomas Dorsey, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

11
Don't Take Your Guns To Town (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:58

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

12
Home Of The Blues (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:03:14

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Lillie McAlpin, ComposerLyricist - Glenn Douglas, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

13
Guess Things Happen That Way (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:01:45

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist - Jack H. Clement, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

14
I Got Stripes (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:01

CHARLIE WILLIAMS, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

15
I Walk The Line (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:35

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

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music International Division - a division of Universal Music GmbH

16
Ring Of Fire (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:45

June Carter, ComposerLyricist - MERLE KILGORE, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc., Mit freundlicher Genehmigung: Universal Music Group, Inc

17
Ballad Of Ira Hayes (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:53

PETER LAFARGE, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

18
The Ways Of A Woman In Love (1988 Version)
Johnny Cash
00:02:38

Johnny Cash, Producer, MainArtist - Charlie Rich, ComposerLyricist - William E. Justis Jr., ComposerLyricist

℗ 1988 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

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 is 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. The box expands upon the original five records for Mercury by adding a bunch of bonus tracks, plus a full album's worth of alternate mixes of the 1988 covers collection Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series and the 1986 collaborative set Class of 55, where he was joined by fellow Sun Records survivors Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison for a set of new songs written in the style of the oldies. Class of 55 opens this chronological set on a shaky note, thanks to freeze-dried Chips Moman production that steers each of these greats toward their worst instincts. It's one of the worst LPs credited to any of the four, and having it open the set suggests that Cash's Mercury stint is as bad as its rep, but 1987's Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town is a better yardstick to gauge this era by. Produced by Jack Clements, Coming to Town opens with a careening version of Elvis Costello's "The Big Light" and then proceeds to run through covers, cornball novelties, sincere ballads, and story songs. It's a dynamic, entertaining record and Cash returned to its formula often on Mercury to admittedly varied but often entertaining results. Clement also helmed 1988's Water from the Wells of Home, a record that gets weighed down by its cameos, but the guests can also conjure some unexpected delights, such as Paul McCartney's appearance on "New Moon Over Jamaica." Producer Bob Moore kept 1990's Boom Chicka Boom tight and focused. The 1991 set The Mystery of Life comprised cobbled-together leftovers from Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town and sessions for a new album that didn't quite come to fruition; it's uneven but has more than its share of moments, including a new version of Bob Dylan's "Wanted Man." Listened to collectively, these records sound much better than their reputation suggests. Even Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series, a 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 Cash in the first place. 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 Comes to Town and Boom Chicka Boom are strong records in their own right.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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