Audio Remasterer: Vic Anesini.
Liner Note Author: Chris Morris .
Weighing in at 40 songs spread over two discs, Real Gone Music's Take This Job and Shove It: The Definitive Collection fulfills the promise of its subtitle, at least as far as Johnny Paycheck's Epic recordings are concerned. Picking up in 1971, when he made the leap from the hard country indie Little Darlin' to the softer pastures of Billy Sherrill's Epic, Take This Job and Shove It opens with the smash "She's All I Got" -- the country-soul credit co-written by Swamp Dogg and Gary "U.S." Bonds -- and then proceeds through almost every country Top 40 Paycheck had between 1971 and 1982. A few charting singles are absent but they're not missed because the major items are all here -- all the singles that also showed up on 2002's The Soul & the Edge and 2012's The Outlaw's Prayer, both of which have a couple of tracks that didn't make the cut -- along with smart selections of deep album cuts. All this amounts to an exceptional portrait of one of the greatest country singers of the 20th century: even when he slides into satiny country-pop settings, Paycheck retains his deep Southern twang, a sensibility that feels thoroughly country whether he's singing gospel, amped-up rock & roll, Colorado novelties, or the straightest, best Merle Haggard tribute imaginable. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine