Johnny Cash / The Complete Mercury Albums 1986-1991 box set

Mercury albums remastered in 7CD or 7LP box set

Johnny Cash‘s five year tenure on Mercury Records in the late 1980s is marked by Johnny Cash: The Complete Mercury Studio Albums (1986-1991) a forthcoming box set available on CD and vinyl.

The 7CD and 7LP vinyl boxes feature six studio albums including 1986’s Class of ’55 recorded with Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins and Water from the Wells of Home which includes collaborations with artists such as Paul McCartney, Emmylou Harris and the Everly Brothers.

Vinyl edition of The Complete Mercury Studios Albums (1986-1991)

1988’s Classic Cash: Hall Of Fame Series also features and in the CD box set comes with a bonus disc featuring Cash’s early mix of the album (‘newly discovered’ from the archive). In the vinyl set the album is a double, but it doesn’t include the early mixes, because that is being released as a standalone release for this year’s Record Store Day. The final album in this box set – 1991’s Mystery of Life features – The Wanderer with U2.

All audio in the CD and vinyl box sets is newly remastered for the first time and new sleeve notes come courtesy of Scott Schinder. You can also buy the remastered vinyl separately – but not the CDs. Finally, a ‘best of’ compilation called Easy Rider: The  Best of the Mercury Years is also being issued on CD and 2LP vinyl, if you don’t want to go for the box sets.

These will all be released on 26 June 2020 (originally 24 April) via UMe/Mercury.

CD1: Carl Perkins / Jerry Lee Lewis / Roy Orbison / Johnny Cash – Class Of ’55: Memphis Rock & Roll Homecoming (1986)

1 Birth Of Rock And Roll
2 Sixteen Candles
3 Class Of ’55
4 Waymore’s Blues
5 We Remember The King
6 Coming Home
7 Rock And Roll (Fais-Do-Do)
8 Keep My Motor Running
9 I Will Rock And Roll With You
10 Big Train (From Memphis)

CD2: Johnny Cash Is Coming To Town (1987)

1 The Big Light
2 The Ballad Of Barbara
3 I’d Rather Have You
4 Let Him Roll
5 The Night Hank Williams Came To Town
6 Sixteen Tons
7 Letters From Home
8 W. Lee O’Daniel (And The Light Crust Dough Boys)
9 Heavy Metal (Don’t Mean Rock And Roll To Me)
10 My Ship Will Sail

CD3: Water From The Wells Of Home (1988)

1 Ballad Of A Teenage Queen (With Roseanne Cash & The Everly Brothers)
2 As Long As I Live (With Emmylou Harris)
3 Where Did We Go Right (With June Carter Cash and The Carter Family)
4 The Last Of The Drifters (With Tom T. Hall)
5 Call Me The Breeze (With John Carter Cash)
6 That Old Wheel (With Hank Williams, Jr.)
7 Sweeter Than The Flowers (With Waylon Jennings)
8 A Croft In Clachan (The Ballad Of Rob MacDunn) (With Glen Campbell)
9 New Moon Over Jamaica (With Paul McCartney)
10 Water From The Wells Of Home (With John Carter Cash)

CD4: Classic Cash: Hall Of Fame Series (1988)

1 Get Rhythm
2 Tennessee Flat Top Box
3 Long Black Veil
4 A Thing Called Love
5 I Still Miss Someone
6 Cry, Cry, Cry
7 Blue Train
8 Sunday Morning Coming Down
9 Five Feet High And Rising
10 Peace In The Valley
11 Don’t Take Your Guns To Town
12 Home Of The Blues
13 Guess Things Happen That Way
14 I Got Stripes
15 I Walk The Line
16 Ring Of Fire
17 Ballad Of Ira Hayes
18 The Ways Of A Woman In Love
19 Folsom Prison Blues
20 Supper Time

CD5: Classic Cash: Hall Of Fame Series (Early Mixes) (1987)

1 Sunday Morning Coming Down (early mix)
2 Get Rhythm (early mix)
3 I Walk The Line (early mix)
4 Long Black Veil (early mix)
5 I Still Miss Someone (early mix)
6 Blue Train (early mix)
7 I Got Stripes (early mix)
8 Peace In The Valley (early mix)
9 Five Feet High And Rising (early mix)
10 Folsom Prison Blues (early mix)
11 Cry, Cry, Cry (early mix)
12 Don’t Take Your Guns To Town (early mix)
13 Tennessee Flat Top Box (early mix)
14 A Thing Called Love (early mix)
15 The Ways Of A Woman In Love (early mix)
16 Ballad Of Ira Hayes (early mix)
17 Guess Things Happen That Way (early mix)
18 Home Of The Blues (early mix)
19 Supper Time (early mix)
20 Ring Of Fire (early mix)

CD6: Boom Chicka Boom (1990)

1 A Backstage Pass
2 Cat’s In The Cradle
3 Farmer’s Almanac
4 Don’t Go Near The Water
5 Family Bible
6 Harley
7 I Love You, Love You
8 Hidden Shame
9 Monteagle Mountain
10 That’s One You Owe Me
11 Veteran’s Day (b-side of of The Mystery Of Life)
12 I Shall Be Free (b-side of of Farmer’s Almanac)
13 I Draw The Line (previously unreleased)
14 A Backstage Pass (early version)
15 Harley (early version)
16 That’s One You Owe Me (early version)
17 Veteran’s Day (early version)

CD7: The Mystery Of Life (1991)

1 The Greatest Cowboy Of Them All
2 I’m An Easy Rider
3 The Mystery Of Life
4 Hey Porter
5 Beans For Breakfast
6 Goin’ By The Book
7 Wanted Man
8 I’ll Go Somewhere And Sing My Songs Again (with Tom T. Hall)
9 The Hobo Song
10 Angel And The Badman
11 The Wanderer (with U2) [Long version from the Faraway, So Close! soundtrack album]

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The fact that they are using a pic from 1976 as cover shot of the Best Of 1986 – 1991 release shows a lot about what they think about their own releases… :-/

Also the PR text is mentioning „The Wanderer“ as the highlight of the set – the only track originally NOT included on any of these albums now becomes the highlight? Wow…

Don‘t get me wrong, i am happy about the box set, but the label is still not able to know how to handle this era of Cash.

Stephen Tomlinson

Musicvaultz in Canada is offering a 20% discount on any item ordered.


Would be nice if we could get a box with Bootleg 1 to Bootleg 4 next.

David Smith

In 1987 the NME had a tape compilation called “the tape with no name”. I can’t remember if it was free or if you sent away vouchers, but my friend and I got it. There was a track by Johnny Cash on it “the night Hank Williams came to town” which I thought was great, and this led me to buying all these above mentioned albums as they were released. Being young and innocent I don’t think I realised at the time that the Classic Cash album was actually rerecordings of his earlier hits. ( Which might explain why it was my least favourite)

Anyway I loved all these albums, each one contained hidden gems and they are very accessible. Like another poster I always thought that the album “Johnny 99” with the two Springsteen songs were trim this era, but turns out it was slightly earlier


Maybe not exactly his most classic stuff but the only part of his career that hasn’t been given a decent release thus far.

There is no such thing as bad Johnny Cash, I’m on this like a fat kid on a McNugget!

Steve Reid

Very underrated albums especially “Mystery of Life”…you never hear it mentioned when discussing Cash’s works but it is a gem.

John McCann

I have always thought that Johnny cash was one of the most overrated artists ever,(better strap my self in for a barrage of abuse),,but as a columbo cigar box dvd owner his episode was one of the best,,after the jack Cassidy episodes,lived in Canada years ago they had a.t.ms their called Johnny cash,

CJ Feeney

There will be something in the Cash catalogue you would enjoy. The obvious starting point are the two prison albums “at San Quentin” and “at Folsom Prison” or a “best of the Sun years”.

The Rick Rubin/American Recordings series are a hard listen if your not already a fan. (I have the vinyl box of those and love them all).

John McCann

CJ iv owned cash best offs in the past,im familiar with some of his work,i just dont get his greatness,then again I could never understand why led Zeppelin where so huge or u2,so its probably just me, enjoy your Johnny cash,I’ll get back to my captain sensible,stay safe, John


Immediate purchase for me…if only they had found a way to include Return To The Promised Land and/ or Country Christmas it would have been perfect.


Both your mentioned albums are not Mercury Recordings – and can be found easily cheap everywhere.


How come the prices on the many amazon sites differ so much? Is it not the same product and the same seller?


That is true, but the price of the compilation CD is more than double in France than the price in the UK. If I lived in France I would order it on amazon uk which in turn causes unnecessary CO2 emissions. I understand that prices vary but not for a new product.

CJ Feeney

At some point he did a covers album that included 3 songs from Springsteen’s Nebraska – I thought that was a Mercury album, but clearly not.

I remember buying “Water….” as a birthday present for my mum.! She was really pleased with it. Both my parents were Cash fans long before I cottoned on.

Next up can we have a box set of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” series, please.


That’s a late period Columbia album. Incant remember the name of it. It’s included in one of those Album Classic 5 disc slipcase things.


That‘s actually already existing (on CD only).


Finally! I’ve been saying for years this box set needed to be released.


Are they trying to ‘Cash’ in on the Rick Rubin years with that cover of the box set, looks very similar typography to the final albums


A couple of these Cash albums were never (personally) appealing for me but the box as a whole looks pretty good. I think I’ll go for it.

Val Kaludov

Yes, he has an album called BOOM CHICKA BOOM. Deal with it already!

Nick Love

Yes it explains everything you need to know about that great rhythm on his classic records.