David Allan Coe
32:31 min • DAC • January 8, 1978
Quite possibly one of the favorite gems in my extensive archive of bawdy, offensive records, David Allan Coe’s Nothing Sacred offers ten tracks of the sickest country music recorded in the later part of the 20th Century. Singing freely about slutty women, mountains of cocaine, and sticking a middle finger to moral crusaders everywhere, this is the perfect album to spin when you feel the squeeze of the religious right and political correctness on your nuts.
Opening with the title track, ‘Nothing Sacred’, Coe and his band mix a classic country blues groove with a heavy dose of psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll feedback. The lyrics are a satire of the establishment ranting against the hippies and freaks, mixed with a tale of a man who catches his wife with another man. He laments the loss of morality, meanwhile his wife goes to church to tell the preacher what she did, instead the preacher screws her right there in the church. The feedback takes over the last part of the song as the preacher rants against immorality, with the chorus ringing out;
Ain’t there nothing sacred no more, lord, ain’t there nothing sacred no more?
What the hell’s happening, Jesus Christ?
Ain’t there nothing sacred no more?
‘Pussy Whipped Again’ puts a humorous spin on relationships in country music, with a solid slow bar dancing rhythm behind our man’s lament about how he’s tried to just be friends with the ladies he comes across, but he finds their temptations too strong and he ends up in a series of bad relationships, one after another. As he sings,
Blame it on the whiskey and gin,
Oh Lord, pussy whipped again –
He ups the sexual ante with the fourth track ‘Linda Lovelace’, an extremely vulgar slice of bragging where our man goes down the list of the women he’s screwed, amongst them the Queen of England, of whom he says,
Why the Queen of England –
gave me the keys to the whole damn Country of France,
And it only took me 15 minutes to get into her pants –
But his biggest accomplishment was getting Linda Lovelace (star of the film Deep Throat) to gag on his junk. As far as he’s concerned, it’s the gold standard for sexual accomplishments;
And don’t talk about being no full-time lover,
cause mister, that’s my bag,
I’m the only motherfucker in the damn world,
that can make Linda Lovelace gag –
The highlight of this extremely vulgar album is no doubt the fifth track, ‘Fuck Anita Bryant’, a direct stab at the moral crusader who first organized the Religious Right against the gay community. This song was almost my pick for our History Month Music series; it may be the first humorous pro-gay song in the annals of American music. Coe’s shows his support with a blunt,
Hey, Fuck Anita Bryant,
Who the Hell is she?
Before moving onto;
Wash your clothes,
clean your cell,
help you drain your hose,
give you smokes,
laugh at jokes,
sew up all your clothes,
rub your feet,
beat your meat.
Heaven only knows,
What I’d do without those homosexuals –
Sure, it’s tasteless, offensive, and would probably cause more than one pretty boy to scream in outrage, but to hell with it. It’s a tongue-in-cheek song and it took quite a pair to write a song on our side back in 1978.
But Anita ain’t the only target in Coe’s musical firing line; Jimmy Buffet gets his ass handed to him in the aptly named ‘Jimmy Buffet’. Mocking the popularization of the Buffet sound, while the man himself doesn’t live as a beach bum anymore, Coe slings his vulgar venom expertly;
Now Jimmy’s moved to Malibu with all those other stars.
He’s not down at in Duval Street hangin’ out in bars.
All them God damned tourists, got to be a bore.
Jimmy Buffet doesn’t live here anymore –
Taking a break from extreme sexual decadence, Coe sings of his love for the devil’s dandruff in ‘Rails’. Telling his friends to lay out some white powder and don’t mind the craziness that occurs,
So, lay me down some rails boys,
don’t put me in jail boys,
and if I make a little noise,
just leave me alone –
Throughout the song he blames the coke for his hard right political statements, his violence, the works. But in the end, he says blow is too much fun to give up, even for all the pain its caused. This song is sort of like a twisted re-write of such anti-cocaine folk songs such as ‘Take a Whiff On Me’ and ‘Cocaine Blues’.
The album ends with one last round of grotesque intimacy, this one directed at every man’s favorite solitary vice, a funky rock ‘n’ roll groove called ‘Masturbation Blues’. While the lyrics describing a woman pleasuring herself are nothing compared to the rest of the album, Coe gets one more bout of shock and awe with the male half of the song,
He picks up the dirty picture, with his dick hard in his hand,
with a stroke you see him moving, with the music of the band,
against the wall you see him jerking, as the cum spills on the floor,
as he swells in the mirror, he won’t do this anymore,
he’s not worried bout me watchin, it’s too late now to refute,
nightly fever you can’t refuse, masturbation blues –
Now this is not an album for the easily offended, as you can no doubt tell from the song titles and lyric samples, but it’s still a very funny album. Because it’s not serious, Coe is being completely tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic here. This album tears down barriers in language and content that still stand thirty-five years after its release. Coe had to self-release this LP and I would imagine that an artist today who made such a transgressive comedy album would likewise have to self-release, no label out there today would touch a record like this.
The bottom line, if you can dig the films of John Waters or the literature of William S. Burroughs, give this album a try. It’s base and extremely vulgar, but there’s a certain brilliance in creating a record that could still be so offensive over thirty years after its first release.