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David Allan Coe

David Allan Coe is one of the most celebrated and controversial artists to emerge from the outlaw country movement; a gifted songwriter and a charismatic performer, Coe is also a man who has followed his own path even when it meant traveling the hard way, and his life has been full of bad luck and misadventure. Few artists in any genre have as many tall tales and wild allegations attached to their name (some of which have been spread by Coe himself), and there are plenty of fans who love him or hate him for reasons that have nothing to do with his music. Despite it all, Coe's songwriting reveals a greater intelligence and emotional range than his reputation would suggest, and his best music is a bracing mixture of country, blues, and rock & roll.

Coe was born in Akron, Ohio on September 6, 1939. The product of a broken and unhappy home, he had a troubled childhood, and at the age of 9, he was sent to a reform school in Albion, Michigan. Through most of the next 20 years, Coe was in and out of various correctional institutions, having been convicted of crimes ranging from possession of burglary tools to auto theft. (Coe has also claimed that he killed a fellow prisoner in an Ohio penitentiary and at one point was facing execution, but no one has been able to substantiate this story.) While behind bars, Coe took up songwriting, claiming he was encouraged by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, supposedly a fellow inmate at the time. In 1967, Coe was out of prison and he was eager to break into music, so he headed to Nashville, living in his car and occasionally camping out in front of Ryman Auditorium (the home of the Grand Ol' Opry) in hopes of getting noticed. Coe's early music was strongly influenced by blues and R&B (he's often cited Hank Ballard as one of his favorite vocalists), and when he landed his first record deal, with Shelby Singleton's SSS Records, he cut a tough blues-based effort based on his experiences behind bars, 1969's Penitentiary Blues. The album earned enthusiastic reviews despite thin sales, and Coe hit the road in support, headlining clubs and opening dates for rock acts like Grand Funk Railroad. Coe's second album, 1970's Requiem for a Harlequin, was an introspective, poetic effort which attracted little notice. Coe's music began to evolve into a hard, honky tonk country sound, and his single "Keep Those Big Wheels Running" gained some C&W airplay, but he and Singleton soon parted ways.

While Coe's recording career wasn't making much impact, he landed a contract with a Nashville publishing house, and in 1973 Tanya Tucker scored a breakout hit with Coe's song "Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)." As Coe began making a name for himself as a songwriter, he revamped his on-stage persona, wearing rhinestone-studded suits (Coe said they were given to him by Mel Tillis) and a mask, calling himself "the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy" years before Glen Campbell scored a hit with a similar title. In 1974, Coe signed a deal with Columbia Records, calling his first album The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy. With his second LP for Columbia, 1974's Once Upon a Rhyme, Coe scored a hit single of his own with a cover of John Prine & Steve Goodman's "You Never Even Called Me by My Name." After losing the mask and the suits, Coe's career as a performer took off.

He was soon making regular appearances on the country charts with tunes like "Longhaired Redneck" and "Waylon, Willie, and Me," and in 1977, Johnny Paycheck scored a massive hit with his version of Coe's song "Take This Job and Shove It." Paycheck's recording crossed over to the pop charts and was even adapted into a feature film, featuring Coe in a supporting role. By this time, Coe's outlaw credentials had been solidified by his frequent statements to reporters about his years in the penal system, as well as bizarre rumors about Coe involving booze, drugs, and polygamy, not all of which he seemed in a hurry to deny. Coe relocated to Florida, and Caribbean influences began to seep into his music. He was also a devotee of biker culture, and in 1978, he released Nothing Sacred, a self-released album primarily sold through ads in Easyriders magazine. Nothing Sacred was devoted to wildly tasteless songs about sex, and Coe released a follow-up in 1982, Underground Album, which threw racial humor in with the blue material; Coe rarely performed material from his X-rated albums on-stage (and in time stopped performing the songs altogether), but they would create a lingering PR problem for him, leading to frequent charges that he was a racist and misogynist, both of which he's strongly denied.

In the early '80s, Coe's recording career enjoyed a resurgence; in 1983, his song "The Ride" rose to number four on the C&W charts, followed by "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile," "It's Great to Be Single Again," "She Used to Love Me a Lot," and "Don't Cry, Darlin'." Coe also did more acting, appearing in a pair of made-for-TV movies with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, The Last Days of Frank & Jesse James and Stagecoach (both aired in 1986). In addition, Coe had developed an interest in magic and began incorporating illusions into his stage shows. As the '80s wore on, Coe's outlaw image became more pronounced, as he sported larger and more elaborate tattoos, began braiding his beard, and eventually adopted a dreadlock hairstyle. By 1990, Coe's contract with Columbia came to an end, and an unpleasant divorce and troubles with the IRS made a mess of his finances and private life; one of the more colorful tales about Coe alleges that after the IRS repossessed his house, he took to living in a cave for several months, though the veracity of this story is widely questioned.

From the '90s onward, Coe survived as a road warrior; he released albums periodically through several small labels (including his own Coe-Pop), and even charted with his 1997 concert set Live: If That Ain't Country. But after losing his publishing rights in a legal battle with creditors, live work provided his primary source of income, and at various times his band included members of Confederate Railroad, future Allman Bros. and Gov't Mule guitar hero Warren Haynes, and Coe's son Tyler. In 1999, Coe met Dimebag Darrell, guitarist with heavy metal outlaws Pantera, and their fast friendship led to a collaboration. Dimebag, bassist Rex Brown, and drummer Vinnie Paul teamed up with Coe to cut an album, Rebel Meets Rebel; recorded over the space of three years, the record wasn't released until 2006, after Dimebag's death. Coe also won new fans thanks to the endorsement of another fan, Kid Rock, who namechecked him in the song "American Badass," and then invited Coe to open his 2000 concert tour. Coe and Rock began writing songs together, and one of them, "Single Father," appeared on Rock's self-titled 2003 album. In March 2013, Coe was involved in a serious auto accident when his SUV was struck by a tractor trailer truck; despite suffering broken ribs, head trauma, and bruised kidneys, Coe was back on the road in a matter of months, performing at Willie Nelson's annual Fourth of July picnic. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Essential David Allan Coe

1. The Ride

2. Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)

3. You Never Even Called Me By My Name

4. Willie, Waylon And Me

5. Longhaired Redneck

6. If That Ain't Country

7. Take This Job And Shove It

8. (If I Could Climb) The Walls Of The Bottle

9. Jack Daniel's, If You Please

10. Tennessee Whiskey

11. Now I Lay Me Down To Cheat

12. Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile

13. Don't Cry Darlin' (Recitation By George Jones)

14. Need A Little Time Off For Bad Behavior

x

Track List: Invictus (Means) Unconquered / Tennessee Whiskey

1. Rose Knows

2. Ain't It Funny The Way Love Can Do Ya

3. If You Ever Think Of Me At All

4. The Purple Heart

5. London Homesick Blues

6. Stand By Your Man

7. As Far As This Feeling Will Take Us

8. Someplace To Come When It Rains

9. The Best Game In Town

10. I Love Robbing Banks

11. Tennessee Whiskey

12. If I Knew

13. I've Given 'Bout All I Can Take

14. Pledging My Love

15. I'll Always Be A Fool For You

17. Juanita

18. We Got A Bad Thing Goin'

19. D-R-U-N-K

20. Little Orphan Annie

21. Bright Morning Light

x

Track List: Tattoo / Family Album

2. Face To Face

3. You'll Always Live Inside Of Me

4. Play Me A Sad Song

5. Daddy Was A God Fearin' Man

6. Canteen Of Water

7. Maria Is A Mystery

8. Just In Time (To Watch Love Die)

10. Hey Gypsy

11. Family Album

12. Million Dollar Memories

13. Divers Do It Deeper

14. Guilty Footsteps

15. Take This Job And Shove It

16. Houston, Dallas, San Antone

17. I've Got To Have You

18. Whole Lot Of Lonesome

19. Bad Impressions

20. Heavenly Father, Holy Mother

21. (If I Could) Climb The Walls Of The Bottle

x

Track List: Longhaired Redneck / Rides Again

1. Long Haired Redneck

2. When She's Got Me (Where She Wants Me)

3. Revenge

4. Texas Lullaby

5. Living On The Run

6. Family Reunion

7. Rock & Roll Holiday

8. Free Born Rambling Man

9. Spotlight

10. Dakota The Dancing Bear, Pt. 2

11. Willie, Waylon And Me

12. The House We've Been Calling Home

13. Young Dallas Cowboy

14. A Sense Of Humor

15. The Punkin Center Barn Dance

16. Willie, Waylon And Me (Reprise)

17. Lately I've Been Thinking Too Much Lately

18. Laid Back And Wasted

19. Under Rachel's Wings

20. Greener Than The Grass (We Laid On)

21. If That Ain't Country

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Divers Do It Deeper

2. Long Haired Redneck

3. You Never Even Called Me By My Name

4. Willie, Waylon And Me

5. A Sad Country Song

6. Would You Be My Lady

7. Just To Prove My Love For You

8. Lately I've Been Thinking Too Much Lately

9. Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)

10. Face To Face

x

Track List: Texas Moon

1. Got You On My Mind

2. These Days

3. A Satisfied Mind

4. Why You Been Gone So Long

5. Why Me

6. Mary Magdeline

7. Fuzzy Was An Outlaw

8. That Old Time Feeling

9. Ride Me Down Easy

10. Give My Love To Rose

x

Track List: Penitentiary Blues

1. Penitentiary Blues

2. Cell #33

3. Monkey David Wine

4. Walkin' Bum

5. One Way Ticket To Nowhere

6. Funeral Parlor Blues

7. Death Row

8. Oh Warden

9. Age 21

10. Little David

11. Conjer Man

x

Track List: The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy

1. A Sad Country Song

2. Crazy Mary

3. River

4. The 33rd Of August

5. Bossier City

6. Atlanta Song

7. Old Man Tell Me

8. Desperados Waiting For The Train

9. I Still Sing The Old Songs

10. The Old Grey Goose Is Dead

11. (If I Could Climb) The Walls Of The Bottle

12. Please Come To Boston

Comments

Report as inappropriate
"Still in Saigon" is the most under~rated Charlie Daniel's song. It is awesome!
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arrowdave6
Charlie Daniels is going to help me punch you in the face, so you have that to look forward to.
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lindsayg07
The first line in this bio says "most celebrated and controversia l " , and your shocked because he said n**ger in a country song? Sounds like some of you all are here just to start s**t. By the way he has songs that say a hole lot more, and you ever notice white boys who are loudest about saying bigger? Must hurt your boyfriends feelings.
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It's an outlaw life if you don't listen to it you wouldn't understand it hell yeah it to the Outlaws
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He's a true American bad a** music artist right there with kid rock and he's got lots of tattoo work right here in Jackson Ms and when ur back again ask Squench about the Rader's and I would love to meet you next time ur here 24 hours u spent in that tAttoo chair I'm told, "that beast mode."
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True, lol!!
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kperutz
Sure has been under-rated, He not only DOES country, he spoofs it too!
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rosstempleto n 6 9
And sound a lot like David Allen Coe
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Solid COUNTRY GOLD
Can u make folks feel what you feel inside
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its willie, Waylon and me not Waylon willie and me
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daphsjunk
Don't read this.you will be kisses on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Now you've started, but don't stop. If you read this and ignore it you will have bad luck. Post this on 15 other songs in 143 minutes. When your done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters. This is so freaky it actually works.
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He's a f**king god
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He's my favorite singer and my role model
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Amen to this man right here
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one of the most under rated Country singers. . .
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His underground stuff is badass!
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Of that ain't country says a lot Can we. Please have that in the white. House. ������
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we need more of DAC and less luke bryans
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Want to hear dance Dakota bear then I'll be pleased
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Love his music!!! The things that he sings about really touches most Americans that are tired of big government and the rich and corrupt in this country. God bless you David as well as Hank ,Waylon, Johnny and the rest of you country boy's!!!
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His songs are so great
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He sure does sing GOOD!!!!!!!!
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Love this man & love his music. Happy to say I met him in person. I even play his music with my kids!!!
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DAC is one 9f the best songwriters of all time. He was hanging out with the Outlaws MC in KY when his friend a Louisville Outlaw gave him a car and 2 women to make $ with and sent him to Nashville. I have been around for a while and I know this to be true. The Outlaw who helped DAC in the early days died in 2015. JT 1%er GBNF
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One of the best country outlaw musicians
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americanmade b o y
Hero! The king of outlaw country!
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Once they go black, we don't won't em back!!! Amen
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There definitely ain't nothing lower than a white girl and a n**""#er
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Lead me home
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nickyp51
And I still do all of the sad ones that I know makes them sound like a queer he is a racist people need to check your fax
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Hank would agree
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Yeeeeeee Haw'rawa
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One of THE Best
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David Allen Coe is one of the great ones.......w i t h o u t question
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kh1100
Bad Man - Great Music
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Hey! If you don't like his music? Use the mute or change the song. Idiots!?
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David is a good old boy....luv yall
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All of you dumbass people who are calling him racist, take a look at his drummer. Next time you people have a thought, do us all a favor and let it go
Report as inappropriate
I saw Coe in Mobile Ala. he was playing a beer joint. Never have stopped listening to him. That was 1974
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Best drinking and road tripping tunes
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I have like his music my whole life ......
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Love u
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Johnny PayCheck sings also too Man
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Amen zuluchild
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hdsmiley69
D.A.C. you have been my HERO for a lot of years! !!!!!!! �� AND MANY MORE TO C*M!
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He is the bad pass I love all of his music
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If you don't have great memories of this song, then you can *********
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YEAH
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chrisbuffalo 7 7 7
If that ain't country I'll kiss your a$$
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Recorded the greatest country western song ever.
Show more

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