I see that people have differing opinions on this album. For what it's worth, I think that this is a wonderful album although I wouldn't place it in my top ten Johnny Cash albums (there were more than 50 just on Columbia, and there have been plenty since, so not being in my top 10 proves nothing, since I enjoy the vast majority of them).
The album includes covers of Love me like you used to (Tanya Tucker), Casey's last ride, Here comes that rainbow again (both Kris Kristofferson), Have you ever seen the rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and Unwed fathers (a minor country hit for Tammy Wynette, and also for Gail Davies). Easy Street is a great song, illustrating that money doesn't guarantee happiness.
The opening track (I'm leaving now) sounds on first listen as though it is about leaving a partner, but Johnny says in his notes that it is really about "the system" and being on the road. It could be interpreted in several ways, but if it is about "the system, it may actually be a way of Johnny politely saying goodbye to Columbia records, his label for 27 years. I very much doubt that this album of itself caused Columbia to drop Johnny Cash. His albums had not been selling in huge quantities for some time, and in any case I suspect that his contract was not signed on the basis of one album at a time, although of course I don't know the details. However, if the poor sales of this album alone were to blame, I think that the success of the Highwaymen would have led to Columbia re-signing him.
I found this to be a most enjoyable album that could have yielded country hits if Johnny had been fashionable at the time.
Ex. V.F.M. At The time Cash was in a dip selling records but after re-listening to this I don't understand why. Many outstanding tracks including 'Unwed Fathers' which seems even more relevant today, a very futuristic song as it turns out.