Personnel: David Allan Coe (vocals, guitar); Eddie Adcock, Tommy Allsup, Warren Haynes (guitar); Lloyd Green, Pete Drake (steel guitar); John Hartford, Buddy Spicher (fiddle); Charlie McCoy (harmonica); Hargus "Pig" Robbins (keyboards); Henry Strzelecki (bass guitar); Buddy Harman (drums).
Though he wasn't an originator of the style, no one embraced the 1970s Outlaw Country aesthetic more wholeheartedly than David Allan Coe. He burst onto the country scene with a larger-than-life image and reputation; unconfirmed rumors abounded about him doing time for killing a man, and he came off as one of the roughest, hardest-living bad boys to ever hit Nashville. All the hype would have been for naught if Coe wasn't also an excellent songwriter and powerful performer.
THE ESSENTIAL DAVID ALLAN COE provides an excellent thumbnail sketch of Coe's career, hitting all the highlights. Coe's gift for self-mythologizing (an important skill in country music) is exemplified by his outlaw manifesto "Willie, Waylon and Me." "Take This Job and Shove It" was penned by Coe, but is best known as a huge hit for Johnny Paycheck, and it's great to hear it interpreted by its author. "If That Ain't Country" is emblematic of Coe's irresistible, in-your-face approach, and his ballad "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)," a hit for Tanya Tucker, presents another, more sensitive side of the hell-raising songwriter. Coe is a force of nature, a musical tornado bowling over everything in its path, and this collection is the measure of his devastating impact.