Johnny Cash - Goin' By The Book

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Music video by Johnny Cash performing Goin' By The Book.

(C) 1991 Mercury Records


The Mystery of Life is the 77th album by country singer Johnny Cash, released in 1991, and his last for Mercury Records. The songs featured are culled from both recent sessions and from leftovers from Cash's first Mercury session in 1986 for the album Johnny Cash is Coming to Town.

It includes new recordings of two songs already associated with him from his Sun and Columbia days, "Hey Porter" and "Wanted Man". "I'll Go Somewhere and Sing My Songs Again" is a duet with Tom T. Hall.

The album's poor performance on the charts (it peaked at #70) and that of "Goin' by the Book", the only single to chart (at #69), coupled with Cash's unsteady relationship with Mercury, ensured his departure from the label following the album's release.

In 2003, the album was re-released with "The Wanderer" from U2's 1993 Island Records album Zooropa as a bonus track. In 2006, "I'm an Easy Rider" and "Beans for Breakfast" were used in the soundtrack to the video game Scarface: The World Is Yours.

According to Cash's 1997 biography, Mercury only pressed 500 copies of the album, biographer Robert Hilburn in Johnny Cash: The Life (2013) dismisses this as an exaggeration on Cash's part.

This was the final new studio album release to feature drummer W.S. "Fluke" Holland, who had been a member of Cash's backing group and featured on almost all of his recordings since the 1950s, as Holland would not participate in the recording sessions for the Johnny Cash Country Christmas or the recordings made for American Recordings, though he would continue to perform with Cash in concert.
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