Country music is chest deep in guys who have been branded as outlaws, and a few of them have actually lived up to the title. But only one of them has ever written a couple of bona fide No. 1 classics as well as filthy obscurities like “Cum Stains on the Pillow” and “Pussywhipped Blues.” That legitimate outlaw is David Allan Coe.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Coe is that we’re not discussing him in the past tense. In and out of reform school from age 9, Coe has battled alcohol and drugs and done enough hard time for the casual observer to wonder how he’s survived this long.
He’ll be 70 in September.
In a career twice as long as Carrie Underwood’s age, Coe has recorded nearly 30 albums and written close to 300 songs. Among his triumphs are the aforementioned hits and “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone),” which was a No.1 smash for Tanya Tucker when she was still in high school. Coe’s other enduring classic is “Take This Job and Shove It,” a career defining hit for Johnny Paycheck and the inspiration for a movie of the same name, in which Coe made a brief cameo.
Although Coe is Country from his boots to his prison tattoos, he has branched out along the way. His second album, Requiem for a Harlequin, was both psychedelically charged and a concept album and, more recently, he was part of Rebel Meets Rebel, a Country/Metal outfit featuring Pantera’s Vinnie Paul, Rex Brown and the late Dimebag Darrell.
Know what you can expect at a David Allan Coe show? Six decades of straight up outlaw, tons of great Country (and beyond) songs and the unexpected.
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