Sound alternatives

Miller’s spiritually charged music isn’t afraid to wrestle with contradictions and paradox. A cover of Mark Heard’s “Worry Too Much” may sound muscular and tight, but the lyrics reflect anxiety. It is quickly countered by “There’s a Higher Power,” delivered with the rousing spirit of old-time southern gospel. No less compelling and inspiring are originals such as “Shelter Me,” “Don’t Wait” and the hoedown ditty “This Old Word.”

It’s hard to believe that the man best known for “Take This Job and Shove It” had a gospel past. That’s reflected in these cuts recorded at RCA’s legendary Studio B in 1966. Of the 23 tracks, eight are duplicates—reissued in 1978 with strings and backing vocals by the Jordanaires (best known for working with Elvis Presley). Though the string arrangements add syrup, Paycheck’s fine singing is a constant: stentorian yet frayed.


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