David Allan Coe born September 6, is an American singer and songwriter. The latter inspired the movie of the same name. Coe was born in Akron, Ohio , on September 6, Coe claimed he received encouragement to begin writing songs from Screamin' Jay Hawkins , with whom he had spent time in prison. After concluding another prison term in , Coe embarked on a music career in Nashville, living in a hearse which he parked in front of the Ryman Auditorium.
He caught the attention of the independent record label Plantation Records and signed a contract with the label. The title of Coe's third album, The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy , refers to the gimmick Coe adopted several years before Glen Campbell had a hit with the song " Rhinestone Cowboy ": dressing up in a rhinestone suit and wearing a Lone Ranger mask.
I met him when I first went to Nashville and he had an office down on Music Row. I was over there talking to him in his office, and he opened up the closet to get something and he had a whole closet full of rhinestone suits.
I just freaked out on that. Then I got the mysterious rhinestone thing from my father. He asked me, 'You know the only way that The Lone Ranger can go into town? I said, 'No, I don't know what you mean.
I thought, what is my dad talking about and trying to tell me? He said, 'Well son, you have to wear a mask and then when you don't want to be David Allan Coe, you can take your mask off and go anywhere and not be like Elvis with people messin' with you all the time. Coe's version became his first country Top 10 hit single, peaking at 8 in , and includes a spoken epilogue where Coe relates a correspondence he had with Goodman, who stated the song he had written was the 'perfect country and western song'. Goodman's equally facetious response was an additional verse that incorporated all five of Coe's requirements, and upon receiving it, Coe acknowledged that the finished product was indeed the 'perfect country and western song' and included the last verse on the record:.
I was drunk the day Mama got out of prison And I went to pick 'er up in the rain But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck She got runned over by a damned ol' train. Coe was a featured performer in Heartworn Highways , a documentary film by James Szalapski. Coe also wrote "Cocaine Carolina" for Johnny Cash and sang background vocals on the recording that appeared on Cash's album John R. By , the outlaw country movement was in full swing as artists such as Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson were finally enjoying massive commercial success after years of fighting to record their music their own way.
Coe, however, was still somewhat an outsider, almost too outlaw for the outlaws, a predicament summed up well by AllMusic:. His wild, long hair; multiple earrings; flashy, glitzy rhinestone suits; Harley Davidson biker boots; and football-sized belt buckles had become obstacles to getting people to take him seriously as a recording artist.
Other singers continued to record and succeed with his material, but the author himself — who was as good a singer as almost anyone and better than most — languished in obscurity. Rather than tone it down, Coe characteristically shoved the stereotypes in their faces. He retired the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy persona and billed his new album as 'David Allan Coe Rides Again as the Longhaired Redneck', something equally off-putting to institution types. Longhaired Redneck was Coe's third album for Columbia in three years, and the first where he wrote or co-wrote all the songs; the outlaw country zeitgeist was summed up well in the title track, which recounts playing in a dive 'where bikers stare at cowboys who are laughing at the hippies who are praying they'll get out of here alive'.
The song, which has an unmistakable rock swagger, features Coe performing impressive imitations of Ernest Tubb , Bill Anderson , and Merle Haggard , making it irretrievably country as well, illustrating the dichotomy of what was being referred to as 'progressive' country music. Coe later explained, 'It was terminology that I'd made up at the time. I was trying to tell people that not everybody with long hair was a hippie.
Not everyone was the kind of person that thought you could punch them out, take their money and that they'd say, 'I won't do nothin' about it'.
By , the outlaw movement was nearing its apex, having seen the release of Willie Nelson 's blockbuster album Red Headed Stranger and country music's first platinum selling album, Wanted! The Outlaws. Coe considered himself as integral as anyone in the evolution of the outlaw country genre, and began saying so in his music. As noted in AllMusic 's review of the album, 'On Rides Again , by trying to make a conscious outlaw record and aligning himself with the movement's two progenitors on the opening track, 'Willie, Waylon, and Me' Coe already set up self-parody unintentionally — something that continued to curse him.
Coe was also permitted to use his own band on several tracks, a major concession for Columbia at the time. However, some of his peers resented Coe placing himself in such exalted company, and felt he was exploiting his relationship with his fellow outlaws.
A great singer. But he could not tell the truth if it was better than a lie he'd made up. Waylon didn't make him comfortable enough to hang around. But Willie did. I was around Willie quite a bit and David Allan was with him eighty percent of the time. Willie allowed him to hang around.
In his autobiography, Jennings mentions Coe once in a chapter titled "The Outlaw Shit" , calling him 'the most sincere of the bunch'  of bandwagon jumpers, but contends 'when it came to being an Outlaw, the worst thing he ever did was double-parking on Music Row',  adding:.
He wrote a song called "Waylon, Willie, and Me" at the same time he started taking pot-shots at us in interviews, saying that Willie [Nelson] and Kris [Kristofferson] had sold out, that I was running around wearing white buck shoes, and none of us were really an Outlaw. He was the only Outlaw in Nashville I saw him in Fort Worth and I put my finger right up to his chest. Throughout the rest of the decade, Coe released a string of strong recordings, some of which, such as Human Emotions and Spectrum VII , were concept albums with each side of the discs given their own theme.
The song is a first person account of a man who has worked for fifteen years with no apparent reward, and it struck a chord with the public, even inspiring a film of the same name. Although Coe's name was credited, the assumption by many was that Paycheck, an acclaimed songwriter himself, composed the tune; this would feed into Coe's growing bitterness with the industry as another one of his peers exploded in popularity. Coe had been incorporating Caribbean sounds into his music, as is evident on his album Compass Point.
This process was continued the following year on Invictus Means Unconquered , with Sherrill couching the songs in tasteful instrumentation that put the spotlight squarely on Coe's voice. In his AllMusic review, Thom Jurek labelled it 'arguably the finest album of his career'  By , the outlaw country movement waned as the slicker 'urban cowboy' era took hold in country music, typified by the Johnny Lee hit "Lookin' for Love", which critic Kurt Wolff panned as an example of 'watered-down cowboy music'.
Refusing to give into the flavor-of-the-month generic country 'talent', Coe stuck to what he knew and sharpened the edges. Coe's highest- charting single during this period was "Get a Little Dirt on Your Hands", a duet with Bill Anderson, which peaked at As if aware of the compromises he had been making, Coe chose to close out his album D. Makin' records is, uh, somethin' that's kind of hard for me to do because I'm an entertainer. So I made my mind up a few albums ago that I was gonna do so many songs for the record company and so many for myself So this is for all you David Allan Coe fans that's been with me for a long time who didn't really care if I got played on the radio or not.
Castles in the Sand would be a huge comeback for Coe, peaking at 8 on the country albums chart, his highest showing since Once Upon a Rhyme hit the same mark eight years earlier. Its success was spurred on by "The Ride", which was released in February as the lead single from the album and reached 1 on the June 4 Cashbox Country Singles Chart.
The ballad tells the first-person story of a hitchhiker's encounter with the ghost of Hank Williams, Sr. The song's lyrics place the events on U. Route 31 or the largely parallel Interstate Buoyed by the single, Castles in the Sand became the mainstream breakthrough that Coe and producer Billy Sherrill had been trying for since the decade began. In Canada, it reached No. The song features one of producer Billy Sherrill 's most elaborate productions, with one critic commenting, 'The layered strings and organ work are slick, but they add such warmth and depth in contrast to Coe's voice that it works to devastating effect.
A version of the song by Johnny Cash was recorded in the early s, but remained unreleased until It was written by Dennis Morgan , Charles Quillen, and Kye Fleming , as Coe - who continued to write songs of high quality - nonetheless relied on outside writers to get him in the charts.
The album Son of the South would include contributions from fellow outlaw legends Nelson, Jennings, and Jessie Colter. His final recording for Columbia, the concept album A Matter of Life…and Death , was released in He also sings in the video. Although capable of writing deeply tender love songs, Coe's outrageous appearance, defiant attitude, and controversial background kept him from being fully embraced by the mainstream in the same way some of his peers would be.
Coe's integrity was called into question after his previous claim that he had spent time on death row for killing an inmate who tried to rape him, was debunked when a Texas documentarian discovered Coe had done time for possessing burglary tools and indecent materials - but never murder. There was a lot of alcohol and drugs or whatever.
I told my band, 'Don't worry about it. We'll provide our own protection. I had my Outlaws' colors on, I had my pistol in my pocket, and I rode my motorcycle up on stage while Waylon was singing. I got off my motorcycle and went out and started singing with Waylon. And then Willie came out and sang with us. There was a picture of us in the paper that had an arrow pointing to the pistol in my pocket, and another arrow pointing to where it said, 'Outlaws, Florida.
Coe was uncompromising when it came to his lifestyle and language, even though it kept him off country playlists and award shows. For example, "The House We've Been Calling Home", from the album Rides Again , explores the theme of polygamy 'me and my wives have been spending our lives in a house we've been calling a home The song paints a picture of a Texas family that verges on caricature, with the narrator describing his tattooed father as 'veteran proud' and deeming his oldest sister 'a first-rate whore'.
The song further alienated Coe from the country mainstream, and kick-started accusations that he was a racist, a charge he always vehemently denied. In he remarked:. I am a songwriter, you know, and to me it has always bothered me that actors in the movies can say whatever they want to say, kill people, rape people and do things and no one ever accuses them personally of being that way.
But when you write a song and then all of a sudden you are being accused of something. To me, songwriting is painting a picture and all you have to work with is words I grew up with all my life hearing, 'lazy as a Mexican', 'stingy as a Jew', 'working like a nigger', or 'dumb as a Polack'. It's stereotype stuff that you hear growing up that immediately puts a picture in your head. The cover of the release Son of the South , which displayed Coe holding a baby with a Confederate flag draped over his shoulders, galled many industry insiders, although Coe did print a message on the back of the album to defuse any potential backlash:.
I was born in Akron , Ohio, and I moved to the South when I was in my early twenties, which made me a ' yankee ' rebel son. I am not against anything or any place or any nationalities. Regardless of what you've heard about me, there are two things I am very proud of. One of them is my son Tyler, who is my first born son. And the other is my personal relationship with God. I am proud of that relationship as I am proud that my son was conceived in Nashville , Tennessee and he is truly a song of the south.