David Allan Coe (born David Alan Coe on September 6, 1939 in Akron, Ohio) is an American outlaw country music singer who achieved his greatest popularity in the 1970s. He has written and performed over 280 original songs throughout his long career.
Known for his outlaw persona, Coe supposedly spent most of his youth in various prisons until releasing his debut album, ''Penitentiary Blues'', in 1968 and touring with Grand Funk Railroad. His concerts were wild and unpredictable, as Coe began calling himself the "Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy" and he wore a rhinestone costume and Lone Ranger mask, riding into concerts on a motorcycle.
He was not able to expand beyond a cult following, however, and other artists found more success than him with his songs. Tanya Tucker, Billie Jo Spears, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson and Kid Rock all recorded Coe compositions. Johnny Paycheck even made a short acting career out of Coe's "Take This Job and Shove It."
Coe finally hit the Top Ten with "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" in 1975. The song, written in conjunction with Steve Goodman, is known as "the perfect country and western song". It includes a narrative in which Coe explains that the perfect country and western song has to mention "Mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or gettin' drunk", whereupon he sings the last verse: :Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got out of prison, :And I went to pick her up in the rain, :But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck, :She got runned over by a damned old train.
His songs are known for strong rock arrangements, often with a Caribbean touch ("Divers Do It Deeper"), a tough band with tough guitar solos ("Longhaired Redneck"), a personal touch ("Willie, Waylon, and Me"), and verbal facility.
Coe is often considered a racist by critics, who use his song ''Nigger Fucker'' as evidence. Coe claims that he is not racist and that the song is a satire. He uses a guitar painted with the Confederate flag; however, for a short time he had an African American drummer in his band. (The drummer, who was married to a white woman, can be seen on Coe's "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" DVD, released in 2002.)
Various other racist songs exist as bootlegs and rehearsals, and have been incorrectly attributed to Coe. The most likely source of the falsely-attributed racist material is Johnny Rebel (a.k.a. Clifford Joseph "Pee Wee" Trahan), a racist songwriter whose music is usually released in single and bootleg form. Coe has been accused of being Rebel himself, though Rebel's recording career began several years before Coe's. Coe is aware of this controversy, and on his own web page, he has posted the following infomation, written in capital letters, as shown:
"I, (DAC) AM NOT JOHNNY REBEL. NEVER WAS & NEVER WILL BE!
DAVID ALLAN COE."
Coe's long career has included 26 LPs, with 1987's ''Matter of Life... and Death'' being one of the most successful and critically acclaimed. He even put out a concept album, ''Compass Point'' that threads his autobiography (or that of his persona) through an encounter with the famous Caribbean studio for which it was named and where it was recorded.
Tax trouble contributed to his career's instability, though Coe continued touring throughout the 1980s and '90s, also doing some writing and acting work. He played a crooked bounty hunter in the movie, "Buckstone County Prison".
After Johnny Paycheck's brief and strife-filled career ended, Coe made fun of him in his sequel, "You Can Take This Job and Shove It Too" with the line, "Paycheck you may be a thing of the past". He also made fun of Glen Campbell's singing a song called "Rhinestone Cowboy" with the line: "I've been the rhinestone cowboy for so long I can't remember."
He is also known for his top country hit, "The Ride", which chronicles a driver picking up an Alabama hitch-hiker. The driver turns out to be the ghost of Hank Williams.
Coe's concerts, particularly in the '70s and early '80s, often attracted a rough and rowdy crowd, and Coe seemed to feed off the energy of his fans: a mixture of bikers, cowboys, and hippies.
In concert, he frequently said after one of his hard-rocking numbers, "Take that, Bill Monroe!" Monroe is a country traditionalist, but so is Coe in his own way: "I can sing you every song Hank Williams ever wrote, and I can sing all them songs about Texas...".
Coe has been lionized in the past couple of decades by punk rock and heavy metal artists. Dead Kennedys covered "Take This Job And Shove It" on their final studio album ''Bedtime For Democracy'' in 1987, while GG Allin transformed Coe's "Longhaired Redneck" into his own "Outlaw Scumfuc" on his 1988 album ''Freaks, Faggots, Drunks and Junkies''.
In November 2005 Coe was featured with Merle Haggard, Toby Keith, Billy Joe Shaver, Jack Ingram, Elton John and Shelby Lynne on CMT's CMT Outlaws 2005.
In the early 2000's Coe met and befriended Pantera/Damageplan members and brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul; the trio recorded a project that has been tenatively titled ''Rebel Meets Rebel''. The album is set to be released on Vinnie Paul's record label "Big Vin Records", on May 02, 2006.
* Penitentiary Blues * Requiem For A Harlequin * Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy * Once Upon A Rhyme * Longhaired Redneck * Texas Moon * Rides Again * Greatest Hits * Tattoo * Family Album * Human Emotions * Buckstone County Prison * Spectrum VII * Compass Point * Nothing Sacred * I've Got Something To Say * Invictus Means Unconquered * Tennessee Whiskey * Rough Rider * D.A.C. * Underground * Castles In The Sand * Hello In There * Just Divorced * Darlin Darlin * Unchained * Son Of The South * Matter Of Life And Death * Crazy Daddy * 1990 Songs For Sale * Standing Too Close To The Flame * Granny's Off Her Rocker * Living On The Edge * If That Ain't Country (Live) * Reccommended For Airplay * Songwriter Of The Tear * Live At The Iron Horse Saloon * Live At Billy Bob's Texas * For The Soul And For The Mind *18 X-Rated Hits * All I'll Ever Be (only available on his official website)
Rebel Meets Rebel
Band, Date of US Release, Title, Label, Chart positions, US sales
Rebel Meets Rebel May 2, 2006 ''Rebel Meets Rebel'' Big Vin Records - -
In much the same way that "Weird Al" Yankovic constantly gets credited with songs he had nothing to do with, David Allan Coe constantly gets credited for Johnny Rebel's songs, and also parody songs such as "Marajuanaville", in which the singers sound nothing like David Allan Coe. Most of this is the result of internet filesharing, where the songs are mislabelled. David Allan Coe had nothing to do with these songs.