17 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In country music, many claim to be “outlaws” but few have actually lived it. Even Johnny Cash, the king of outlaw country, has only been in jail once (for drunk driving). David Allan Coe is legit. He was a juvenile delinquent before squandering the crux of his 20s in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Upon his parole in 1967, Coe headed for Nashville to pursue a musical career. He wrote songs for George Jones, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette and Johnny Paycheck, who landed a number-one hit with Coe’s blue-collar anthem “Take This Job andnd Shove It.” 17 Greatest Hits may be basic for his cult members, but it’s a great place to start for the casual fan or curious newcomer. “She Used to Love Me a Lot” opens with Coe’s throaty croon before he segues into more breathy inflections on Johnny Cunningham’s “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile,” a tune that flirted with countrypolitan while showcasing Coe’s versatile voice. More autobiographical songs like “Longhaired Redneck,” “This Bottle (In My Hand) and the Byrds-bashing “Willie, Waylon and Me” prove to be worth the price of admission.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In country music, many claim to be “outlaws” but few have actually lived it. Even Johnny Cash, the king of outlaw country, has only been in jail once (for drunk driving). David Allan Coe is legit. He was a juvenile delinquent before squandering the crux of his 20s in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Upon his parole in 1967, Coe headed for Nashville to pursue a musical career. He wrote songs for George Jones, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette and Johnny Paycheck, who landed a number-one hit with Coe’s blue-collar anthem “Take This Job andnd Shove It.” 17 Greatest Hits may be basic for his cult members, but it’s a great place to start for the casual fan or curious newcomer. “She Used to Love Me a Lot” opens with Coe’s throaty croon before he segues into more breathy inflections on Johnny Cunningham’s “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile,” a tune that flirted with countrypolitan while showcasing Coe’s versatile voice. More autobiographical songs like “Longhaired Redneck,” “This Bottle (In My Hand) and the Byrds-bashing “Willie, Waylon and Me” prove to be worth the price of admission.

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