David Allan Coe 

Penitentiary Blues (Shout! Factory/Hacktone)

What country music needs is a few more young guys like elder statesman David Allan Coe, one of the last dangerous men in C&W. A couple of weeks ago, re-release specialist Shout Factory dusted off Penitentiary Blues; out of print for 30 years, it's the debut Coe penned while in the joint in the early '70s. Songs such as the hilarious "Death Row," the laconic "Oh Warden," and the intensely bluesy title track ("All that marijuana/Sellin' cocaine/Now they're takin' blood tests/From my heroin veins") blaze with a hard-won authenticity. Hell, this special edition even comes with an extra feature Snoop Dogg probably wishes he had thought of first: a 20-page Coe-penned pamphlet titled "How to Pull Time (and Parole)." "When some guy puts his hands on you," Coe writes, "then you should do everything in your power TO KNOCK HIS FUCKING BRAINS OUT." Even though the expletive is prudishly crossed out in the notes, that's still pretty damn gangsta.

More by John Nova Lomax


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