He Ain't Working Here No More


It's a sad day for country music. Johnny PayCheck—singer, songwriter, drinker, and convict—is dead.

PayCheck, born Donald Eugene Lytle, was best known for his hit version of David Allan Coe's "Take This Job and Shove It," one of America's great anti-authoritarian anthems. But I'm almost as fond of his equally populist anti-tax number, "Me and the IRS":

So erase my name from your records
Take me off your mailing list
You can write me off, 'cause I ain't givin'
a dime to the IRS

The IRS itself eventually sued PayCheck for $103,000 in back taxes, in what was neither the first nor the last of his brushes with the law. He had a troubled life, and a lot of his troubles were of his own making. But he also made some terrific records along the way.