Personnel: David Allan Coe (vocals, guitar); Pete Bordonali, Johnny Christopher, Ray Edenton, Reggie Young , Teddy Irwin, Billy Sanford, Bobby Thompson (guitar); Terry McMillan (harmonica); Jim Condor, Shane Keister, Bobby Wood (keyboards); Henry Strzelecki (bass guitar); Don Soapes, Jeff Hale, Kenny Malone, Jerry Carrigan (drums); Dolores Edgin, Darlene Groncki, Doug Clements, Ginger Holladay, Lori Westerman Brooks, Phil Forrest, Dianne Davidson, Johnny Lee, Karen Brooks, Marie Cain, Martha Adcock, The Nashville Edition, James Ferguson, Karen Taylor , Louis Dean Nunley, Rita Remington, Lea Jane Berinati, Wendy Suits (background vocals); Eddie Adcock (guitar, background vocals); Tommy Allsup, Warren Haynes (guitar); Lloyd Green, Pete Drake (steel guitar); John Hartford, Buddy Spicher (fiddle); Charlie McCoy (harmonica); Hargus "Pig" Robbins (keyboards); Buddy Harman (drums).
Photographers: Beth Gwinn; Larry Dixon; Jan Olof Fritze; Beverly Parker; John David Miller; Mark Tucker .
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.