The Paynes – It’s Out of This World (1982)
Before 1982 came to a close, the Paynes released their second national recording entitled, “It’s Out of This World”. While the album had a similar feel as their “Ready or Not” album, there definitely appears to be a bit more effort put into the arrangements and overall production aspect of the album, as they began to expand their musical horizons. Much like “Ready or Not”, Mike and Loreen provided all the solo and lead vocals, but the music tracks for this album had a bit more depth to them.
Produced by Shirley J. Watson, with Ronald Drake acting as Executive Producer, “It’s Out of This World” was a step forward for the Paynes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find out a lot on who Shirley was, Gary Prim was kind enough to help me shed a little light on who she was…Shirley was a songwriter and her sister, Kathy Watson, sang soprano with the Speers during the early 80’s and also with the Chuck Wagon Gang during the early 90’s. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only major album she produced, but nonetheless, she produced an outstanding album. Unfortunately, there is no credit given as to who played on the album, or who the background vocalists are. Once again, much like their “Ready or Not” album, Mike wrote all 10 songs, with a couple of songs being re-makes of previously recorded numbers.
With its fiddle and steel guitar intro, the album kicks off with the country feel of the medium tempo title song, “It’s Out of This World”, which became the Paynes first #1 song from October 1983 to January 1984 in the Singing News chart. With a lyrical style similar to that of Ronny Hinson, the song was inspired by a bumper sticker that said, “Being a Christian doesn’t pay much, but the benefits are out of this world”. The song became one of the Paynes most popular tunes, and was a great lead off song for the album.
Slowing the tempo down, the invitational, “King of Glory” follows and it’s one of my personal favorite songs by the Paynes. Though the song was never a charting single for the group, it was a concert favorite and Mike has stated it’s one of his personal favorite songs that he has written. Featuring Mike on the verses and as he and Loreen trade lead vocals on the chorus, they are joined by a team of background vocals as the group sings, “The King of glory stands outside your door…He wants to walk with you, He wants to talk to with you, open your heart let the King of glory come in!”. I first heard the song (though it was just the chorus) on their “Fire on Stage” album and again on their 1986 “A Little Bit of Heaven” recording, neither version really struck a chord with me until I heard the original version from this album. It’s truly a great song and this particular version from this album ranks as one of my personal favorites by the Paynes.
Picking up the pace, we come to the fun, electric and steel guitar driven track of, “Come on Over”, which charted briefly for the Paynes, but not quite making it into the Top 20. The song has a distinct early 80’s Hinson feel to it, and I hear Kenny Hinson all over it. Enhanced by background vocalists, it’s a great song and is one of my all-time favorite Payne tunes. I love the false ending and Mike ad-libbing before the musicians carry the song out with the fade. Growing up, we never really had a Southern Gospel radio station, and sometime around 1986 or so, I discovered WWMO out of around Reidsville, North Carolina and on most days, its signal reached Durham, and they played this song one day and I was all over it and thought it was such a great song! This was one of their early edgier sounding tunes and no doubt, it went over well in concert. Quinton Mills did an outstanding job with his version on his first live recording, “Uprising-Live!” that was released around 1990.
With its strong Southern Gospel feel, “Nothing Can Hold Me Here” keeps things feeling great with its upbeat Pentecostal feel. A concert favorite for the Paynes, the Singing Cookes recorded it on their 1982 album, “He Will Understand” and also enjoyed concert success with this song as well, as it became one of their best-known songs. In fact, the Singing Cookes delivered a power packed performance of the song on their 1987 “Silver Anniversary Live” recording, leaving the audience clamoring for more. Mike Payne revived the song on his first solo recording, “I’m Still Singin’”, which was released in 1992, and that version is probably by favorite rendition of the song.
The first side closes out with the medium tempo, “He’s Coming For Me”, which features a strong steel guitar track. As the song was a perfect fit for them, the Singing Cookes also picked this song up a couple of years later and included it on their 1985 album, “We’ve Got to Move Out”.
The joyful and upbeat Easter themed, “Come and See”, features Loreen on the first verse and Mike on the second verse, and gets side 2 off and running before we come to one of my all-time favorite features by Loreen on the country feel of “He Picked Me Up”. I love the fiddle track on the song and Loreen does a fantastic job belting out this song. I have longed felt this would be an excellent song for Kelly Crabb to sing.
Picking up the tempo, the country feel of the bouncy “A Change in Me” features nice harmonica and steel guitar embellishments before the tempo slows back down as Loreen sings the emotionally tinged, “Oh What a City”, which also features some step-out lines by Mike on the chorus. Nicely accented with strings, the song went on to become one of the Paynes most popular songs and was inspired after the traumatic loss of a still born baby. The group originally recorded the song a couple years earlier in 1980 and re-recorded the song with fresh vocals and a fresh track for this album. The Singing Cookes also recorded the song on their highly popular 1980 album, “My Lord Will Send a Moses” and enjoyed success with the song as well.
The album concludes with the exciting, Pentecostal feel of “That Same Spirit”, which was another highly popular song for the group and is the epitome of the types of songs the Paynes were known for at the time, as this song was totally in their wheelhouse. In my mind’s eye, I envision the Paynes singing at those little Pentecostal churches across West Virginia, Kentucky, and the like, just setting the place on fire with this song; I actually get goosebumps thinking about it! The Paynes originally recorded the song back in 1979 on their “He Gave His Only Son” album, while they were still known as the Glorious Gospel Heirs, and that original version was a bit faster than what is presented on this album. About a year after they originally recorded it, the Singing Cookes picked up the song and enjoyed chart success with it back in 1981. The song was a big concert favorite for both groups and I wish the Paynes had included it on their “Fire on Stage” album that came out in 1985.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get this album until I started collecting albums in the 90’s, so the Paynes were already off the road when I finally got to hear this album in its entirety. I was already familiar with some of the songs either via hearing the Paynes in concert or on the radio, but once I finally got my hands on this album, I played the living daylights out of it! I was always intrigued by the unique cover, but the music and singing contained within its grooves is what enthralled me the most. It’s an exciting and upbeat album filled with genuine, emotion ridden lyrics and coupled with the outstanding singing by the Paynes and backed by excellent musicianship.
With each album, the Paynes showed forward progression with their overall sound and their musical creativity, and this was certainly a step up from their “Ready or Not” album. The Paynes were coming of age and their level of professionalism was increasing as they were adopting a more polished sound, while not losing who they were in the process. I wouldn’t call this album progressive, but it had some unique and progressive undertones to it and showed a natural forward progression by the group. It’s a great album and ranks as one of my favorites by the group!
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