If you love Johnny Cash, you must have all four of the American Recordings series, but all true music lovers should also have them, if only to serve as an example of how a master musicians last years can bring his greatest art.More specifically, Cash's rendering of "The Mercy Seat" rivals his more recent"Hurt"(American Recordings 4)as the most haunting,soul-baring recording in music history.Using the metaphor of a condemned man nearing execution, he places us directly into the heart of any man facing the reality of death, the only moment when too many of us realize that we are not immortal. It brought me to tears the first time I heard it. I commented to those with me that it truly was a musical diamond, the perfect essence of an artist at his peak of knowledge and wisdom(if not skill).Cash has not only entertained us for generations, he has shared his love of life, God, music, and Man with us, always with honesty, integrity, and humor. He never pretended to be more than a simple man, with faults and weaknesses like us all, but he had the faith,the heart,and strength to work to make things better.The songs he has given us as he nears the end will help us all to face those times with dignity and courage, as he did. Vaya con Dios,Mr.Johnny Cash,I will miss you like a favorite Uncle, and always treasure your musical legacy.