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The Soul & the Edge: The Best of Johnny Paycheck

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Johnny Paycheck, who unfortunately took his alignment with the '70s outlaw country movement a little too seriously, has nonetheless built up an amazing catalogue for himself. The Soul and the Edge is an apt title for this retrospective, because the man's defining songs reveal a sensitive, even reasonable side balancing out his jut-jawed hard-country manifestos. The workingman's call to arms "Take This Job and Shove It," is the perfect snap-to album opener, and in a nice bit of sequencing it's followed by a blues-rooted prisoner's musing, "11 Months and 29 Days," on which Paycheck, in a throaty vocal, expectantly advises, "Keep your hands off my woman/I ain't gonna be ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Johnny Paycheck, who unfortunately took his alignment with the '70s outlaw country movement a little too seriously, has nonetheless built up an amazing catalogue for himself. The Soul and the Edge is an apt title for this retrospective, because the man's defining songs reveal a sensitive, even reasonable side balancing out his jut-jawed hard-country manifestos. The workingman's call to arms "Take This Job and Shove It," is the perfect snap-to album opener, and in a nice bit of sequencing it's followed by a blues-rooted prisoner's musing, "11 Months and 29 Days," on which Paycheck, in a throaty vocal, expectantly advises, "Keep your hands off my woman/I ain't gonna be gone that long." "I'm the Only Hell Mama Ever Raised," "Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets," "She's All I Got," and "Barstool Mountain" all limn classic country themes and are beautifully realized in every aspect, most especially in Billy Sherrill's lean, mean productions. But don't overlook the ballads, which offer the big payoff. The deep feeling Paycheck brings to the tea-jerking "My Part of Forever" and the devastating chronicle of utter loneliness, "The Feminine Touch," reveals a masterful singer who can invest a song with stirring humanity. The 23 cuts here are mostly from Paycheck's fertile 1977-80 chart run, including a rousing 1980 duet with George Jones on Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On," which underscores the debt Jones owes to Paycheck's style. Suffice it to say that country gets no better than this, in any era, and it certainly sounds right today.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Most listeners know Johnny Paycheck from "Take This Job and Shove It" -- a song so popular and so iconic that it overshadows everything else Paycheck did, not just for pop fans but for country listeners. Couple that with a reputation for being a roughneck hellion and you have somebody who is known as a persona, not as a musician. And that's a real shame, as Epic/Legacy's The Soul & the Edge: The Best of Johnny Paycheck proves. As the first comprehensive CD collection of Paycheck's hit-making peak years of the '70s and '80s -- his early years are documented on the stellar The Real Mr. Heartache collection -- this collection is a revelation, offering definitive proof that he was one of the very greatest hardcore country singers. He could do it all: blue-collar rage "Take This Job and Shove It," "Me and the IRS", barroom weepers "Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets," "I Did the Right Thing" and barroom ravers "Fifteen Beers", lush country-pop the Billy Sherrill-produced "She's All I Got" and gritty country-soul a George Jones duet on "You Better Move On", tough-guy laments "I'm the Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised" and tough-guy bravado "Ragged Old Truck," "The Outlaw's Prayer". Plus, there's a wicked, bizarre sense of humor, evidenced clearly on the neo-talking blues "Colorado Cool-Aid," illustrating that he didn't tame his wildness even at his popular peak. Then there's that voice -- a resonant baritone with impeccable phrasing that some claim was an inspiration for George Jones' style and listening to this and Mr. Heartache makes those claims quite credible. It all adds up to a collection that not only captures Paycheck at his peak, but also lays claim as one of the great country albums of its era, if not all time. It's the kind of collection an artist the stature of Johnny Paycheck deserves.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/30/2002
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998524620
  • Catalog Number: 85246
  • Sales rank: 10,300

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Johnny Paycheck Primary Artist, Vocals
Technical Credits
George Jones Liner Notes
Johnny Paycheck Liner Notes
Tim McGraw Liner Notes
Joseph M. Palmaccio Mastering
Johnny Whiteside Liner Notes
Marty Martel Liner Notes
Don Hunstein Cover Photo, Tray Photo
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Sandy Speiser Inlay Photography
Stan Cornelius Producer
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