Country’s Best Drinking Songs, No. 4: David Allan Coe, ‘You Never Even Call Me By My Name’
Cheers-worthy lines: “I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison / And I went to pick her up in the rain / But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck / She got run over by a damned old train.”
This David Allan Coe song isn’t primarily about drinking. It’s just a helluva lot of fun to sing when you’re drunk.
The song was the third single release of Coe’s career and is from the record Once Upon a Rhyme, garnering him his first Top 10 hit and peaking at No. 8 on the country chart.
The lyrics are the star of the song. They’re satirical, self-described as “the perfect country and western song,” dropping names like Merle Haggard, Charley Pride and Waylon Jennings and telling the country music industry exactly what songwriter Steven Goodman and Coe thought of the country music industry: not much.
“Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song / And he told me it was the perfect country & western song / I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was / Not the perfect country & western song because he hadn’t said anything at all about mama / Or trains / Or trucks / Or prison / Or getting’ drunk,” Coe sings.
Coe also notes in the song that he doesn’t expect the country industry to recognize him as an individual, hence the line “But the only time I know / I’ll hear “David Allan Coe” / Is when Jesus has his final judgment day.”