Music / David Allan Coe
David Allan Coe (born September 6, 1939) is one of the predominant figures of Outlaw Country Music
, and one of the first names people think of when they think of this subgenre. While largely underground, he has had some success as a songwriter, penning several songs that were crossover pop hits Covered Up
by other artists, including "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)," made famous by Tanya Tucker; and "Take This Job and Shove It," popularized by Johnny Paycheck (also covered by Dead Kennedys
, as well as being the main sample in "Shove This Jay-Oh-Bee", a song by rappers Canibus and Biz Markie appearing in the movie Office Space
Beginning at age 9, he spent 20 years in and out of various correctional facilities before beginning his music career in 1968, as a Blues
singer. Penitentiary Blues
is about Coe's experiences in prison. He began recording Country Music
in the early '70s. His music anticipated the "fuck you" attitude of Punk Rock
, and proved influential on alt-country, especially the bands that attempted to fuse punk and country. Coe's music and attitude was not only formed from Country, but from blues and early rock and roll.Controversially
, Coe recorded a pair of X-rated country albums called Underground Album
and Nothing Sacred
. His legacy has been cemented by influencing the Groove Metal
, rapper and singer Kid Rock
and Neo Classical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly
artist Hank Williams III
for Take This Job and Shove It
David Allan Coe provides examples of the following tropes:
- Bleached Underpants: Shel Silverstein served as "the devil on Coe's shoulder" inspiring Coe to record some X-rated country songs. The albums were basically a joke and didn't make him much money. They were sold through ads in biker magazines, and now through his website.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The spoken interlude on "You Never Even Called Me by My Name" includes Coe's discussion of the song with its writers, and how it was "the perfect country and western song".
- Caught with Your Pants Down: "Masturbation Blues" is about this.
- Gay Aesop: "Fuck Anita Bryant" is one of the first pro-gay rights songs.
- Heavy Meta: "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" is a parody of the notion that Country songs are all trucks, trains and getting drunk.
- N-Word Privileges: Coe's defense of these lyrics was that they were not meant to be taken seriously, and that the drummer on these tracks was African American and married to a white woman:
- Coe's 1977 single "If That Ain't Country" contains the line "workin' like a nigger".
- If the above line doesn't sound too offensive, there's "Nigger Fucker", in which the narrator bemoans that his spouse left him for a black man because the black man was better in bed than the narrator.
- If you're still not offended, "Rails" contains the lyrics "niggers made me vote for segregation" and "the Ku Klux Klan is bigger, so take the sheets of of your bed and let's go hang a nigger". Even though this was supposed to be a satire, it still Crosses the Line Twice.
- Neo Classical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Recorded the album Rebel Meets Rebel, which is essentially Coe fronting Pantera. Read more on Coe's style in general here.
- Take That!: Jimmy Buffett accused Coe of ripping off Buffett's "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" and turning it into Coe's "Divers Do It Deeper". Coe responded by writing the song "Jimmy Buffett", which appeared on the X-rated album Nothing Sacred. Coe essentially called Buffett a poser, mocked Buffett for moving from Key West, Florida to Malibu, California but continuing to represent himself as being a part of Key West culture (Coe still lived in Key West after Buffett moved to California), and suggested that they "get drunk and screw".