You Never Even Called Me by My Name

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"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
Single by David Allan Coe
from the album Once Upon a Rhyme
B-side "Would You Lay with Me"[1]
Released June 1975
Format 7" single, airplay
Genre Country
Length 5:16
Label Columbia Nashville
Writer(s) Steve Goodman
John Prine (uncredited)
Producer(s) Ron Bledsoe
David Allan Coe singles chronology
"Would You Be My Lady"
(1975)
"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
(1975)
"Longhaired Redneck"
(1975)

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" is a song written and recorded by Steve Goodman and John Prine, and later recorded by country music singer David Allan Coe, produced by Ron Bledsoe. It was the third single release of Coe's career, included on his album Once Upon a Rhyme. The song was Coe's first Top Ten hit, reaching a peak of number eight on the Billboard country singles charts.

Content[edit]

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" is accompanied mainly by resonator guitar, pedal steel guitar and electric guitar. In the song, the narrator addresses a former lover, who has rejected him to the point that he considers it "useless to remain."[2]

The song is most notable for its satirical final verse, preceded by a recitation in which Coe explains that "a friend of mine named Steve Goodman" wrote the song and considered it "the perfect country and western song."[3] However, Coe told him that it was not the perfect country song because it "hadn't said anything at all about mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk."[4] Goodman then proceeded to add the final verse, incorporating all five of Coe's requirements but completely unrelated to the rest of the song ("I was drunk, the day my Mama got out of prison/And I went out to pick her up in the rain/But, before I could get to the station in the pick-up truck/She got runned over[sic] by a damned ol' train"), whereupon Coe agreed that now it was "the perfect country-and-western song."[2]

Critical reception[edit]

In the book Whiteness: A Critical Reader, author Mike Hill cited the song as an example of Coe being the "'hardest' and most burlesque performer of recent times," adding that the "perverse hokiness" of the song's final verse made it "perfect."[2] Irwin Stambler and Grelun Landon wrote in Country Music: The Encyclopedia that the song helped Coe gain recognition, as it was his first Top Ten hit,[5] and The New Rolling Stone Album Guide cites it as Coe's signature song.[6] Lost in the Grooves by Kim Cooper and David Smay said that "the joke [in the final verse] is funny, but the real key to the song's success is Coe's execution."[7]

Chart performance[edit]

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" by David Allan Coe spent seventeen weeks on the Billboard country singles charts, peaking at number eight.[1]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 8
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 4

Doug Supernaw version[edit]

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
Single by Doug Supernaw
from the album Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind
B-side "State Fair"[8]
Released August 1994
Format CD single, airplay
Genre Country
Length 4:04
Label BNA
Producer(s) Richard Landis
Doug Supernaw singles chronology
"State Fair"
(1994)
"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
(1994)
"What'll You Do About Me"
(1995)

In 1994, Doug Supernaw recorded a cover version on his second studio album, Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind.[9] Supernaw's rendition features a guest vocal from Coe himself, as well as guest appearances by Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride,[9] all of whom are mentioned in the original song's second verse. It was the second single release from Supernaw's album.

Critical reception[edit]

Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly considered Supernaw's cover the "most interesting" cut on the album, but thought that it was in too high of a key for the guest vocalists involved.[9]

Chart performance[edit]

This version spent seven weeks on the Billboard country charts, peaking at number 60. Only Supernaw was credited for it on the charts.[8]

Chart (1994) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[10] 68
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[11] 60

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 98. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ a b c Hill, Mike (1997). Whiteness: A Critical Reader. NYU Press. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0-8147-3545-2. 
  3. ^ Fox, Aaron A. (2004). Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture. Duke University Press. pp. 241–242. ISBN 0-8223-3348-1. 
  4. ^ Ellison, Curtis W. (1995). Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven. University Press of Mississippi. p. 162. ISBN 0-87805-722-6. 
  5. ^ Stambler, Irwin; Grelun Landon (2000). Country Music: The Encyclopedia (3 ed.). MacMillan. p. 98. ISBN 0-312-26487-9. 
  6. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4 ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 175. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  7. ^ Cooper, Kim; David Smay (2005). Lost in the Grooves. Routlege. p. 50. ISBN 0-415-96998-0. 
  8. ^ a b Whitburn, p. 412
  9. ^ a b c Nash, Alanna (23 September 1994). "Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "RPM Country Tracks." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 17, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  11. ^ "Doug Supernaw Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Doug Supernaw.

External links[edit]