Shakin' the Blues

Shakin' the Blues

by Johnny Paycheck
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

After years of neglect, Johnny Paycheck's catalog finally started appearing on CD in the 2000s, as his early work for Little Darlin' was the subject of an excellent reissue series and his latter-day work was subject to a terrific compilation on Epic/Legacy, while Raven released a two-fer of two of his best '70s albums. However, this modest revival overlooked the… See more details below

Overview

After years of neglect, Johnny Paycheck's catalog finally started appearing on CD in the 2000s, as his early work for Little Darlin' was the subject of an excellent reissue series and his latter-day work was subject to a terrific compilation on Epic/Legacy, while Raven released a two-fer of two of his best '70s albums. However, this modest revival overlooked the recordings he made before Little Darlin', when he was recording under the pseudonym Donny Young. To be fair, these are singles that were never reissued, not even on LP, because they were rare and obscure: they were not hits so they were forgotten to all but hardcore collectors. Happily, Bear Family's 2006 compilation Shakin' the Blues rectifies this egregious wrong by rounding up 29 sides that Paycheck recorded for Decca, Mercury, and Todd between 1958 and 1964, including several unreleased tracks unearthed during research for this project. During these six years Paycheck was not only hopping from label to label but he was dabbling in many different styles, most centered in hard country but also extending as far as rockabilly (as on the excellent title track) and lighter pop ("One Day a Week," whose sweet backing vocals and tinkling piano disguise that this is a prison tale). As this compilation starts, it's easy to hear echoes of Ray Price and Faron Young, but as it rolls along it's possible to hear Paycheck synthesize these influences into his own distinctive style even as he dabbles in detours that were a little smoother than the honky tonk that's always been seen as his forte. A few of these singles might have arrangements that are just a bit poppier than usual for Paycheck, yet even these tunes with the heavier background vocals and light rhythms never veer far from what became Paycheck's signature sound, the birth of which is evident here. This may be formative music, but it is by and large absolutely superb, even on the cheaply recorded sound-alike covers that constitute the last nine songs of this collection. These versions of Buck Owens ("Above and Beyond"), George Jones ("Window Up Above"), and Faron Young ("Hello Walls") were designed as pure cash-ins -- they're near replicas of the hit versions, designed to create confusion in the stores and on the jukebox -- but Paycheck's singing is so strong and supple that these knockoffs are nearly as enjoyable as the rest of the set. But the true worth in Shakin' the Blues lies in the other 19 songs, none of which were hits, and five of which were never heard before their release here. There are plenty of gems: there's his original "I Guess I Had It Coming," reminiscent of the Everly Brothers with a stronger country bent; the lively, melodic "It's Been a Long, Long Time"; the Roger Miller-written "I'd Come Back to Me," where Paycheck first displays the distinctive vocal style that George Jones would later popularize; "Don't You Get Lonesome Without Me," where he expertly reinterprets the lean, skipping Bakersfield sound and makes it his own; the honky tonk shuffle of "I'm Glad to Have Her Back Again"; and such terrific unreleased material as "Big Swamp Land," a galloping carefree 1961 side reminiscent of the Possum's novelty material; the barroom weeper "Down to My Last Dime"; and "Love Problems," where the light tone camouflages the violent undercurrents of the lyric. This music is all so good that it's hard to believe it wasn't successful and that it's never been widely circulated until now. It might have been too long of a wait, but Shakin' the Blues was certainly worth waiting for: it's not only a historically important release, but after a few listens, many of these unheard tracks feel like classics, which is the highest praise that can be paid to an archival release such as this. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewin

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
09/01/2006
Label:
Bear Family
UPC:
0790051673826
catalogNumber:
16738

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. I Guess I Had It Coming
  2. It's Been a Long, Long Time
  3. On This Mountain Top
  4. The Old Man and the River
  5. Story Behind the Photograph
  6. Pictures Can't Talk Back
  7. Shakin' the Blues
  8. Miracle of Love
  9. Go Ring the Bells
  10. One Day a Week
  11. I'm out of My Mind
  12. Second Thought
  13. Big Swamp Land
  14. I'd Come Back to Me
  15. Love Problems
  16. Down to My Last Dime
  17. Not Much I Don't
  18. Don't You Get Lonesome Without Me
  19. I'm Glad to Have Her Back Again
  20. The Same Old Me
  21. A Woman's Intuition
  22. Why I'm Walkin'
  23. Accidentally on Purpose
  24. Above and Beyond
  25. Your Old Used to Be
  26. Window Up Above
  27. Heart Over Mind
  28. Hello Walls
  29. I Love You Best of All

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Paycheck   Primary Artist
Owen Bradley   Leader
Darrell McCall   Vocal Harmony
Bob Moore & His Orchestra   Bass
George W. McCormick   Vocals

Technical Credits

Don Gibson   Composer
Stonewall Jackson   Composer
Willie Nelson   Composer
Mel Tillis   Composer
Faron Young   Composer
Justin Tubb   Composer
Owen Bradley   Producer
Harlan Howard   Composer
Ira Louvin   Composer
Shelby Singleton   Producer
Joe Hayes   Composer
Jimmy Lowe   Composer
Deke Dickerson   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer,Tape Research,Biographical Information
Fuzzy Owen   Composer
Jimmy Carroll   Composer
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Richard Weize   Reissue Producer,Tape Research,Metal Transfers
Jurgen Crasser   Mastering
Darrell Edwards   Composer
Erich Hülsenbeck   Photo Scanning
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Gary Paul Bryant   Composer
Paul Cohen   Producer

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >