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Author Topic:  Johnny Paycheck / Donny Young
Per Kammersgaard


From:
Sonderborg, Denmark
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 8:38 am    
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How good was - or wasn’t - Paycheck on the steel..?
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Gary Spaeth


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 10:28 am    
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he's playing a gig with buck owens so he must not be too shabby.
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 11:34 am    
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https://steelguitarforum.com/Forum15/HTML/002266.html
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 12:14 pm    
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I saw him play pedal steel behind George Jones once at a package show. He was not drunk and not good at all on steel. Way off key and fumbled reaching for the strings. He's my favorite country singer and maybe if he worked at it for a while he could have been a decent player.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 12:28 pm    
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He maybe was a better bass player than a steel player.
Erv
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 2:01 pm    
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Greg Cutshaw wrote:
He's my favorite country singer


He really was great at it. It's too bad that he's remembered for being in trouble with the law rather than for his exceptional singing. Oh well, I guess it's better than being entirely forgotten. His singing was so expressive that you really didn't have to read much into the lyrics of the songs.
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Ricky Davis


From:
Buda, Texas USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 5:17 pm    
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Actually his real name was "Donald Lytle" I know this because I dated his very close Niece "Sharise Lytle"; his middle name was Eugene.
He LOVED steel guitar; that's how good he was. Sure he wanted to play it because he wanted to make that sound; but never had the chance to play it a lot; but he had the passion for it, as much any great steel player had.
RIP Donny(he let me call him Donny; when we did shows together because he knew of me and Sharise's relationship).
Ricky
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Email Ricky: sshawaiian@austin.rr.com
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 7:20 pm    
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He came to Nashville with Darrell McCall to do a brother act. That was a flop but they got jobs as harmony singers. I believe Paycheck went back to Michigan and Ronnie Dale Rotroff, who was a bass player for ET, went to Michigan and brought him back to Nashville. Ronnie was also a boyhood friend of Darrell and Donny. Sorry if I don't have all the details right I talked with Ronnie about it in Nashville and he told me so much about Paycheck I couldn't remember it.
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 6:29 am    
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His voice changed at the time he grew a mustache and a beard. His work when he was clean shaven is absolutely phenomenal. If you want an example look at the you tube video where he sings with George Jones on "The Love Bug". His best recordings are on the Little Darlin label.
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 6:39 am    
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My favorite Johnny Paycheck 45 rpm from the clean shaven era:

http://www.gregcutshaw.com/Samples/Johnny%20Paycheck%20-%20Pictures%20Can%27t%20Talk%20Back.mp3

Paycheck's later work with Jim Murphy on the Everybody's Got A Family... Meet Mine and New York Town: Recorded Live at the Lone Star Cafe albums is amazing. The arrangements are phenomenal. Mr. Hag Told My Story is getting hard to find but his voice harkens back to his earlier style. His best rendition of Old Violin also features his pure simple voice style.
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 6:51 am    
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Darrell Criswell wrote:
His voice changed at the time he grew a mustache and a beard. His work when he was clean shaven is absolutely phenomenal. If you want an example look at the you tube video where he sings with George Jones on "The Love Bug". His best recordings are on the Little Darlin label.


I thought it was amazing when one of his great songs from that period, "It Won't Be Long (And I'll Be Hating You)" was featured in the Grand Theft Auto V video game in 2013 - instantly exposing it to millions and millions of new listeners. I'd love to hear the story of how the person in charge of music for that game dug it up. BTW - Lloyd Green plays a steel part on that song that makes up the backbone of it.
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 9:43 am    
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People with more musical knowledge please help me. I understand that Paycheck varied the intonation (maybe inflection is a more accurate term) on individual words in a song and that gave his singing some unique characteristics.

I believe Lefty Frizzel may have also used this technique as did George Jones after Paycheck was in his band. I saw an interview where Jones was asked if he learned singing from Paycheck and he said he never sang with Paycheck, that Paycheck just played bass in his band. This is obviously a lie as you can watch youtube videos of the two singing together.

Is what I mentioned about his vocal technique accurate and is it a common technique of musicians?
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 10:16 am    
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Hot topic but to my ears, George Jones sounded like Hank Williams until he teamed up with Johnny Paycheck.

Others agree:

https://www.laweekly.com/music/rip-george-jones-the-story-of-how-he-learned-to-sing-4166467
(sic)
"The style developed slowly, from the heavily Hank Williams influenced keening approach of his Starday releases to the elegant heart-stopping style of hits like "The Grand Tour" and "She Thinks I Still Care." The singer first revealed his vast potential with 1962's harrowing jukebox ruler "He Stopped Loving her Today," but the key upshift came when he hired Donny Young, later much better known as Johnny Paycheck, as bassist and harmony singer.

Paycheck exerted a critical influence on Jones, as Nashville producer Aubrey Mayhew told me in a 1990 interview. "I don't want you to misunderstand this statement but, George Jones learned to sing by listening to Johnny Paycheck." said Mayhew. "What Paycheck does is phrase on the vowels. And that was unheard of prior to him. Nobody did that, but Paycheck did, in the mid- and late-'50s when he was working as a harmony singer. Go back and listen to the Jones records of the 1950's and then listen to his records after "The Race is On." It is the harmony that makes the record and that harmony is Paychecks. Jones, Wynn Stewart, Haggard -- they all learned from Johnny Paycheck."


Last edited by Greg Cutshaw on 14 May 2019 11:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 11:10 am    
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funny... "She Thinks I Still Care" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today" somehow got switched in that first paragraph, Greg.

I'm surprised to hear that George may have dismissed the suggestion that Johnny had any influence on his style, but maybe he didn't like to be put on the spot. he always seemed very fond and reverent of Johnny in my opinion, and even paid for Johnny's funeral and a burial plot adjacent to his own.

I wouldn't say that Johnny completely influenced George to sing the way he did, there are early recordings with more than a hint of his later sound. but I do think Johnny was probably the most significant factor in George perfecting his delivery.
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Jeremy Reeves


From:
Batavia, IL, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 11:54 am    
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I think i heard that 'check had perfect pitch. Love his music
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2019 2:55 pm    
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Scott Murray:

I saw some other interviews where George mentioned Johnny sang for him but didn't say he learned anything form Paycheck. But one interview I saw he distinctly denied that Paycheck had ever sang with him.

George on several occasions referred to Paycheck as his old friend. It would be interesting ask Darrell McCall about this. Ronnie Dale might also have some knowledge also there is a Johnny Paycheck drummer that plays in Nashville with Rich Gilbert and his wife Eileen Rose, who might know something about this. I don't go to Nashville much anymore the music has deteriorated and the cost is just phenomenal, the old Comfort Inn on Demobreun that five years ago I used to routinely get for $77 is now $379 most weekends.

If someone sees these people they should ask them about Paycheck, I am sure they would be glad to talk about it.
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David Nugent


From:
Gum Spring, Va.
Post  Posted 15 May 2019 2:49 am    
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Does anyone have knowledge of how he acquired his stage name? Seem to recall an episode of the T.V. program, 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' dating from the late 50's/early '60's that featured a character by the name of Johnny Paycheck.
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 15 May 2019 5:04 am    
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I can't remember the story of how he started to use the name Young, maybe it was he got it from Faron Young, however Wikipedia says he got the name JP from Johnny Paychek, a top ranked boxer from Chicago who once fought Joe Louis for the heavyweight title.

There is a story I read where I think it was Audrey Mabey (sp?) went out looking for him and found him living under a bridge or overpass.
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James Lewis


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 15 May 2019 6:09 am    
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Regarding how much George Jones cribbed from Johnny Paycheck, Tyler Mahan Coe from the excellent Cocaine and Rhinestones podcast wrote this:

Quote:
I propose that Johnny Paycheck's influence on George Jones' singing has been greatly exaggerated.

- Paycheck doesn't start singing his way without Jones. He just doesn't. Listen to the songs cut in his first two sessions. He's doing Jones, who'd already been a major recording artist for years and who'd already started being called the best there ever was. Jones was literally Paycheck's homework.

- The song most people point to as "evidence" of Jones cribbing from Paycheck's style is "Shakin' the Blues," recorded in Paycheck's third session, nine months after he was probably in the room when Jones laid down the vocal to "Mr. Fool." (This isn't even bringing up any other earlier examples of Jones already heading where he ended up, which there are several. If you don't hear it on "Mr. Fool," we aren't listening with the same equipment.)

- George Jones wrote "Shakin' the Blues." There's just as much reason to believe Paycheck was doing Jones on his recording of that song as there is to believe Jones was doing Paycheck when he later cut "Revenooer Man," written by Paycheck. It's almost a certainty that the first time each of them heard these songs would have been as directly sung to them by the other, probably even immediately prior to or in the sessions.

Obviously Jones took what he wanted from anyone he liked. There's no question that he and Paycheck influenced each other. My argument is that Jones influenced Paycheck's style a hell of a lot more than the other way around.


I have no opinion either way, but I do recommend his podcast and the 20th Century Country Music Facebook Group if you haven’t heard of it.
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David Mitchell


From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 15 May 2019 6:14 am    
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Curt Trisko wrote:
Darrell Criswell wrote:
His voice changed at the time he grew a mustache and a beard. His work when he was clean shaven is absolutely phenomenal. If you want an example look at the you tube video where he sings with George Jones on "The Love Bug". His best recordings are on the Little Darlin label.


I thought it was amazing when one of his great songs from that period, "It Won't Be Long (And I'll Be Hating You)" was featured in the Grand Theft Auto V video game in 2013 - instantly exposing it to millions and millions of new listeners. I'd love to hear the story of how the person in charge of music for that game dug it up. BTW - Lloyd Green plays a steel part on that song that makes up the backbone of it.
Quote:


Yes and I thought it was cool to hear an old Ray Price song with Jimmy Day on steel in Grand Theft Auto V.
That's probably the most exposure a country artist ever got. Billions of dollars were and still being made from that game. I've often wondered myself who chose the songs. As a wild guess they may have found a country DJ around Silicon Valley to pick the country songs.
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 15 May 2019 8:40 am    
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David Mitchell wrote:
Curt Trisko wrote:
Darrell Criswell wrote:
His voice changed at the time he grew a mustache and a beard. His work when he was clean shaven is absolutely phenomenal. If you want an example look at the you tube video where he sings with George Jones on "The Love Bug". His best recordings are on the Little Darlin label.


I thought it was amazing when one of his great songs from that period, "It Won't Be Long (And I'll Be Hating You)" was featured in the Grand Theft Auto V video game in 2013 - instantly exposing it to millions and millions of new listeners. I'd love to hear the story of how the person in charge of music for that game dug it up. BTW - Lloyd Green plays a steel part on that song that makes up the backbone of it.
Quote:


Yes and I thought it was cool to hear an old Ray Price song with Jimmy Day on steel in Grand Theft Auto V.
That's probably the most exposure a country artist ever got. Billions of dollars were and still being made from that game. I've often wondered myself who chose the songs. As a wild guess they may have found a country DJ around Silicon Valley to pick the country songs.


The cynical side of me says they were probably picked because they were a part of a cheap catalogue for royalties. Laughing
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 15 May 2019 8:40 am    
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Quote:
The singer first revealed his vast potential with 1962's harrowing jukebox ruler "He Stopped Loving her Today," but the key upshift came when he hired Donny Young, later much better known as Johnny Paycheck, as bassist and harmony singer.

Where did that date come from? "He Stopped Loving her Today" was released in 1980... Shocked
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post  Posted 15 May 2019 9:02 am    
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Notice the (sic) before the quote and as previously cited above the original author swapped the song dates around in error.
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Kenny Davis


From:
Great State of Oklahoma
Post  Posted 17 May 2019 10:25 pm    
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I'd just started playing steel back in 1971, and my Dad called to tell me to get down to Del City Music and hear some guy named Johnny playing steel. I got there and realized it was Paycheck. I thought he played pretty decent, even though he had a lit cigarette between his middle and ring finger on his picking hand while playing. Funny, I saw him at the Diamond Ballroom a few years later, and the cig was in the same place while playing a Tele!

The cool thing about that day, he was telling Bob Wood (store owner) about his new release that would be out in a few weeks. Said it was going to be a good one. And it was!
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Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 18 May 2019 8:55 pm    
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I think it's more realistic to say that Jones and Paycheck brought out the best in one another.

Miss them both very much.

RC
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