Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

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.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by John Nova Lomax

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays