Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Johnny Paycheck

  • Greatest Hits [Epic, 1974] C+
  • Take This Job and Shove It [Epic, 1978] B-
  • Greatest Hits Volume II [Epic, 1978] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Greatest Hits [Epic, 1974]
The one-time rockabilly's unassuming Nashville-macho baritone proves a surprisingly ductile medium for Billy Sherrill's basic love-and-marriage exploitation--he defers so meekly to his material that he sounds more domesticated than Tanya, Tammy, or even Charlie Rich. C+

Take This Job and Shove It [Epic, 1978]
If this is proof that country is the real working-class music, then the only oppressor the working man knows is the woman whose pedestal he supports and the only right he demands is the right to cry in his beer. There's enough anomie, male bonding, and random violence on this record to inspire one cover story on whither outlaw and another on whither punk, and although it offers numerous insights, I wish I believed just a few of them were as intentional as the catchiness of the tunes. B-

Greatest Hits Volume II [Epic, 1978]
Outlaws are hardly immune to palaver, of course. But the best-of format eliminates the posturing to which this well-named entertainer resorts when the songs get thin, while his current Waylonism limits him to one pretty good romantic ballad. Almost every other selection talks funny and sings tough--in my favorites, a drunk who picks on a Mexican has his ear surgically removed and John resigns from the I.R.S. A-