Johnny Paycheck

I'm a Survivor

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That this country legend is a survivor of the '90s cannot be denied, in that he was still living and breathing when that decade wrapped. But how to reinvent himself, if the image of a cantankerous, drunk, and/or stoned semi-lunatic is too hard to maintain? The mainstream country industry standard circa 1996 seems to have been an influence here, and that doesn't give Paycheck a lot to work with. The bargain is not to his favor because he provides the goods in the form of a terrifically expressive voice on the verge of bringing true sparks of value to the purely bargain basement songwriting material, were not that task so daunting that every challenger would surely be defeated. Listeners familiar with vintage Paycheck might reject this material outright, but his talent is so strong that it would be wrong not to admit to shining moments here and there. Changing the image isn't that important, in the long run, if the man has the musical goods. He needs to find collaborators that are a bit more up to his level, if such a thing would be possible again. Whoever it is that helps out on this CD didn't think it was worth the while to even identify themselves, so it isn't even possible to determine if the horrible-sounding drums are synth-drums or a live human being that has mastered the art of sounding like a machine.

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