David Allan Coe has enjoyed a career that is like few others in the music business. His chart resume isn’t really that impressive — with only eight singles of his finding a home within the Top 40 on the Country Singles chart. However, his music has reached a loyal following over the years that borders on cult status.
From his incarceration at the Ohio Penitentiary to once living in a hearse outside of the famed Ryman Auditorium to his marriages and even his pair of infamous X-rated albums (Nothing Sacred and Underground Album), the Akron, Ohio native has always played by his own rule book, with a unique blend of country, rock and blues that definitely sets him apart from the pack. Here are 10 David Allan Coe tracks that are fine evidence of that talent!
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10. David Allan Coe feat. George Jones – “Don’t Cry Darlin'”
Once you separate the singer from the bravado image that is David Allan Coe, you will find one of the most convincing vocalists in the country format. This 1985 single showed that talent, combined from a classic-sounding recitation from the legendary George Jones.
9. David Allan Coe – “Now I Lay Me Down To Cheat”
A minor David Allan Coe song hit from 1982, this gripping performance showcased the emotions of a man who knew he was doing the one he loved wrong — but yet couldn’t help himself. The song stands as one of his most underrated classics.
8. David Allan Coe – “Willie, Waylon, and Me”
With his checkered past — and sometimes present — David Allan Coe carved out a reputation as one of the more mysterious artists in the genre’s history — and one of the more outspoken. Some doubted his “Outlaw” cred over the years, but the singer made no secret of where he felt he stood in this 1976 Top 30 hit.
7. David Allan Coe – “A Country Boy (Who Rolled The Rock Away)”
One of the last chart hits for Coe, this 1986 single paid tribute to the artists who charted their own path — regardless of what conventional wisdom might have said. The single was from his Son of the South album, one of the finer albums from his later years.
6. David Allan Coe – “Tennessee Whiskey”
Before George Jones and Chris Stapleton, the original recording of this Dean Dillon/Linda Hargrove composition was none other than David Allan Coe. The track was the perfect showcase for his rough-hewn vocal approach. The track only made it to No. 77 on the charts, but definitely made an impact on Coe’s loyal fan following.
5. David Allan Coe – “She Used To Love Me A Lot”
In the winter of 1984-85, the singer released a chilling ballad from the Dennis Morgan/Kye Fleming catalog — written with an assist from Charles Quillen. The track was one of the more regret-filled performances of the David Allan Coe song catalog. The lyrics told the story of a man who lamented the fact that he walked away from someone who once was devoted to him — and not was nonchalant about the entire experience.
4. David Allan Coe – “Long Haired Redneck”
Coe penned this early hit with Jimmy Rabbitt. It was one of the first country singles that mentioned the “outlaw” movement by name — and also featured Coe’s impersonations of Country Music Hall of Fame members Ernest Tubb, Merle Haggard and “Whisperin” Bill Anderson.
3. David Allan Coe – “The Ride”
Many songs have been written over the course of time regarding the spirit of Hank Williams. Perhaps the best came with this 1983 top 10 David Allan Coe about an unlikely meeting between “Luke The Drifter” and a hitchhiker who has no idea about the history lesson that he is about to receive from the ghost of one of America’s most beloved entertainers.
2. David Allan Coe – “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile”
Johnny Cunningham provided Coe with the lyrics that would provide the singer with his biggest hit, peaking at No. 2 in the spring of 1984 with this winning ballad that compared the song’s subject to the classic painting from Da Vinci. The song ranks as one of the more haunting releases in the Coe library.
1. David Allan Coe – “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”
Seriously, did you expect the top of this list to look any different? While the song only peaked at No. 8 in the summer months of 1975, this Steve Goodman/John Prine collaboration remains the quintessential David Allan Coe song — even after 40-plus years. Who hasn’t sung along with this one in a bar at some point in their lives? Is it the perfect “country and eestern” song? Well, we will leave that subject to your opinion, but truth be told, it does rank pretty high on the list!