Just reading about David Allan Coe you can’t help but feel your eyes widen and your jaw drop when you realize just what he’s been about for much of his life and what made him that way. Having been raised in reform schools for the most part since he was young it was kind of obvious he was born to be an outlaw. By the time he was old enough he was being sent to one correctional facility after another, finally gaining encouragement to sing from one of his fellow inmates. Upon his release in 1967 he began living in a hearse and was discovered eventually by a record label that signed him and started him on his career. From that point he became an outlaw country singer that was known for singing bawdy, hardcore songs that a lot of people took as comedy and some just enjoyed because they were so raw.
Here are a few of the best songs from his career, which is ongoing even now.
5. The Bottle
Back in the day the kind of lyrics that Coe became popular for were no doubt considered a bit fringe, but as the years went on the acceptance for his music no doubt began to grow since people grew out of the 50s-era thinking and began to see the value in something a little harder, more raw, and more edgy than they’d seen in the past. Coe has been largely unapologetic in his career, in fact he’s done it just the way he wants without bothering to apologize since this is his career and it’s what he wants to do. It might have something to do with being locked in the pen for so long, but it’s likely the idea that he’s free to do as he wants and think.
4. Long-Haired Redneck
One thing about Coe is that he knows who he is and owns it. There never seems to have been a moment when he wasn’t who he wanted to be, and any that wanted to tell him he wasn’t could just go take a flying…well, you get the idea. He was going to do what he wanted and that was it. If anyone stood up to challenge his manner he likely told them off right then and there and didn’t bother to give them the time of day afterward. This kind of attitude tends to rankle some people but encourages others since it’s coarse, rude, and boorish, but at the very least it’s honest and it’s capable of showing ones cards without hesitation.
3. Take This Job and Shove It
This song is great since it’s the way a lot of people feel some days and as a result it’s been featured in many different ways and versions in a lot of different movies and TV shows. It’s the kind of song you’d love to sing in a place that you’re tired of and just want to tell off in some way or another. Let’s face it, some people get tired of their jobs and don’t want to take it any longer. The only thing that keeps a lot of us at our jobs is the paycheck and the need to pay for our lifestyles. But every now and again there’s that insane desire to walk up to our boss and say these words and actually mean them. The lucky few of us that like our jobs just think it’s a fun and amusing song.
2. If That Ain’t Country
There are some folks out there that would claim that Coe isn’t country, but quite honestly he has the sound, the look, and the attitude is a little difficult to say yes to, but it’s not a deal-breaker when it comes to the genre. Country is more than just the twang and the stories that are told after all, it’s a feeling that the musician can relate to and the feeling that is given to the audience when all is said and done. Plus, Coe would likely tell anyone that says his songs are country to go to hell anyway, since his overall demeanor seems to be one that is able to stand on its own and tell off anyone that disagrees with him.
1. You Never Even Called Me by My Name
It’s funny to think that a guy with as much fire in his songs like Coe can actually croon like this. It’s a testament to the fact that he’s a genuine talent that has a dirty mouth at times and a coarse manner but is still capable of being a bit of a softie on the mic, at least for a song or two. Something about the guy seems to suggest that he’d be all tough exterior when in person, but somehow a nice and genuine person once one got to know him.
He’s unique, that much is obvious.