Johnny Paycheck

She's All I Got

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Moving over to Epic in 1971, Johnny Paycheck soon aligned with the label's top producer, Billy Sherrill. Given Paycheck's reputation for rowdy honky tonk and Sherrill's proclivity for opulent productions, the pairing did seem a little odd, but at that point, Johnny hadn't had a Top Ten single in five years and needed a jolt to send him back to the charts. So, he tempered his wild ways and made a Billy Sherrill record in She's All I Got, complete with the strings and heavy emphasis on romantic material. Paycheck had not been strongly associated with love songs prior to She's All I Got -- and once his wild-eyed outlaw days began, he was hardly seen as an ambassador of love -- but his slower sides for Little Darlin' proved that he had a strong honky tonk ballad style, similar to his protégé/peer George Jones, and Sherrill exploited that side of him throughout this lovely record. What makes the album work is that the singer and producer found a common ground by muting both the gritty hardcore country of Paycheck and Sherrill's lush, layered arrangements. Strings have been left behind, but there are plenty of choirs and weeping steel guitars, and even when the production is a little thick for a Paycheck song, or the tempos a little too sprightly, it works because the material is first-rate, because Sherrill's production is deft and sensitive, and, of course, because Johnny Paycheck is a superb singer, easily adapting his style to this setting. With its romantic bent, it may be somewhat of an anomaly within his catalog, yet it no doubt stands as one of his consistently greatest albums (all the while setting the template for the great Sherrill-produced George Jones albums of the '70s).

blue highlight denotes track pick