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Touch My Heart: Tribute To Johnny Paycheck

11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 10, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Produced by noted singer/songwriter Robbie Fulks, the artists and songs on "Touch My Heart: A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck" illuminate Paycheck's layered career--including the hits that made him a star in the 70s, but also material from the Little Darlin' label that originally exposed his darkest honky-tonk roots in the 60s. The artist line-up reflects not only the younger set--some being the literal and figurative offspring of the outlaw movement--but also the legends themselves: George Jones, Buck Owens, Bobby Bare, Mavis Staples, and pedal steel great Lloyd Green.

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Even diehard fans of the late Johnny Paycheck are likely to find revelation in these tracks. Casual listeners know the country maverick best for "Take This Job and Shove It," given a rousing cross-generational sendoff here by Radney Foster, Bobby Bare, Buck Owens, and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Yet this tribute, produced by Robbie Fulks, celebrates a range and depth beyond that anthem of defiance. Among the eclectic highlights: gospel singer Mavis Staples transforms the title track into pure church, Johnny Bush ("the country Caruso") applies his operatic pipes to "Apartment #9," Dave Alvin brings a bluesy swagger to the jailhouse in "11 Months and 29 Days," and Neko Case turns desperation into triumph on "If I'm Gonna Sink, I Might as Well Go to the Bottom." Only popster Marshall Crenshaw seems miscast, sounding a little too bright to reflect the darker recesses of Paycheck's soul. While Paycheck has been embraced as a kindred spirit by younger renegades, contributions by his former employer George Jones and legendary steel guitarist Lloyd Green show the respect that his legacy earns from his peers. --Don McLeese

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 10, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugar Hill
  • ASIN: B0002J4YLA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,584 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Drunk & Crazy on September 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
You know Johhny Paycheck, he's the guy that did "Take This Job And Shove It". Now forget everything you know. Paycheck was more than the voice behind that somewhat unfortunate (critically speaking) 70's radio staple, he was a genuine country music outlaw who recorded some of the finest pure-country music that the genre has ever seen. His older material has all the bumps, warts and (true) tales of jail/heartbreak/redemption that are woefully missing from modern Nashville's airbrushed "product".

Thankfully, this tribute record captures the essence of the man's material as well the sound of that bygone era. It's so beautifully produced that you'd swear it was recorded on analogue equipment.

Standouts (and there are too many to mention) include Big Al Anderson's "Someone To Give My Love To", which sounds like some lost country hit you might have heard on the family station wagon's AM radio. Dallas Wayne's poignant and powerful tearjerker "I Did The Right Thing". Über-legend George Jones wrapping his vocal cords around "She's All I Got" like a rubber snake. The spooky séance that is Hank III's version of "I'm The Only Hell My Mamma Ever Raised". Bobby Bare Jr.'s vocal performance on "Motel Time Again", which leaves you asking why this guy isn't a bigger star (does he look like his Dad or something?) and the list goes on and on...

Big kudos to Robbie Fulks for knowing what other truly dedicated country music fans and archivalists already knew; that Johnny Paycheck meant so much more than "Take This Job And Shove It".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Walter Stettner on September 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Reading through the other reviews, I can only concur with what has been said so far - a classic recording that Johnny Paycheck would be proud of!

Being a steel guitar player myself, I'd like to add that the steel work on this album is truly a masterpiece by Lloyd Green, the famous musician who played on all of the early Paycheck recordings on the Little Darlin' label. His playing on this album sounds as fresh and creative as when he recorded with Paycheck in the 1960's. The steel guitar playing by Lloyd Green played an important role back then, he also manages to play throughout this album with the distinctive creativity and fresh sound he is famous for!

Walter Stettner,

Vienna, Austria
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Barber on September 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Often with tribute CDs, there are a couple of tracks and too much filler - with this Robbie Fulks-produced tribute to the late, great Johnny Paycheck, the opposite is true. From the opening blast of honky tonk - Neko Case's searing "If I'm gonna sink (I might as well go to the bottom)" through the twilight tones of Dallas Wayne, the sweetly guttural growl of Bobby Bare Jnr, all the way to Larry Cordle's beautifully melancholic "Old Violin" this CD packs a punch all the way. Want to turn someone onto Johnny Paycheck? - buy them this CD. Want to turn someone onto country music? - buy them this CD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Hughes on September 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This tribute came about because of the dream of a New Jersey music fan, Fran Liscio. When Liscio learned, back in 2002, that the great country music singer and songwriter Johnny Paycheck was languishing in a nursing home, she hired her favorite alt country icon, Robbie Fulks, to produce a tribute album that would document Paycheck's enormous contribution to country music and also serve as a giant get well card for the ailing legend. Unfortunately, Paycheck died before the project was completed, but this album is so terrific and true to Paycheck's spirit and attitude that I am sure he can hear it all the way up in honky-tonk heaven.

Lloyd Green, the steel player who contributed so memorably to Paycheck's Little Darlin' recordings, is the linchpin of the incredible house band Fulks assembled for this project. Singers run the gamut from Legends (Jones, Bare, Owens, Bush, Gail Davies) to legend namesakes (Bare, Jr. and Williams III) to alt country outlaws such as Fulks himself, Neko Case, and Dallas Wayne, to stars of bluegrass (Larry Cordle and Jim Lauderdale), to gospel (Mavis Staples contributes the unforgettable title track). There's even Jeff Tweedy, joining a last-call version of "Take This Job and Shove It."

Massive kudos go to Liscio, Fulks and Sugar Hill Records for making the dream of this tribute into such an irresistible reality. If all you know about Johnny Paycheck is "Take This Job and Shove It" and a few half-remembered stories of bad behavior, you owe it to yourself to get this album and find out what a giant of country music he really was. And then, go buy yourself some Paycheck recordings! For a true fan of country music, there is little else as satisfying as hearing Johnny Paycheck croon, swoop, moan and soar his way through a song.

If you're already a Paycheck fan, you'll be thrilled to hear his music sung anew in such a loving, faithful, and musically top-notch tribute. Every track on this cd is a winner.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anthony S. Prowse on March 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
To "Henry" from Bakersfield:- There is a very good reason all other reviewers of this album gave it 5 stars.

In one of the best tribute albums ever, Robbie Fulks has gathered together some stellar pickers, a diverse range of great singers and a catalogue of superb Johnny Paycheck songs (or songs he sang). From Neko Case's heart-wrenching rendition of "If I'm Gonna Sink" to Larry Cordles beautiful version of "Old Violin", this album smokes from start to finish. I have most of the original Paycheck versions and this album contains as good as or if not better versions of these great songs. Al Anderson's take on "Someone To Give My Love To" shows just what a great singer and player he is, while Dave Alvin has never sounded as manacing and gritty on "11 Months and 29 Days". Usually on tribute albums you find quite a few tracks which don't live up to or respect the original artist or his/her feeling for the song. Well here, Robbie Fulks has produced an album on which everything (artists, songs, backing band, sound quality and attitude) is just near perfect. I seriously suggest that if you wish to explore the Johnny Paycheck catalogue, you get this album first; not only does it prime you for the "Paycheck experience", but allows you to hear a range of great country artists doing some of their best work. It's not only a mighty introduction to Paycheck but an excellent introduction to the many artists involved. Most tribute albums would make the original artist turn in their grave but this one should allow Johnny Paycheck to Rest in Peace; if he's not already raising Hell in Heaven. Highly Recommended.
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