Madacy's 2003 Johnny Paycheck collection -- aptly titled The Collection -- contains 12 songs, none of them original hit recordings. Unlike some budget-priced discs, this makes no pretense of having a bunch of hits, with only the first two songs -- the timeless David Allan Coe-penned anthem "Take This Job and Shove It" and "Mr. Lovemaker" -- being actual hits. When were these recordings made? Who knows? The liner notes certainly spend no time detailing the history of these recordings, but judging by the production and Paycheck's voice, which is occasionally raspy, they were recorded sometime during the '90s, with an outside chance that they were cut in the late '80s. Sometimes, the productions are a little too clean -- and, for some bizarre reason, "Good Hearted Woman" is a fake live production, with distracting crowd noise underpinning the whole song, as if it was an attempt to re-create the Waylon Jennings live version of the song -- and sometimes, Johnny's voice is a little too raspy, but by and large, he sings with conviction throughout the album, making it a collection of better-than-average re-recordings. However, they remain re-recordings, and nobody should purchase this Collection thinking they're getting the best of Johnny Paycheck, and only diehards will be interested in hearing these new versions -- they'll be pleasantly surprised, since they're not bad, but since they're also not all that great, it's unlikely this one will get much play.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine