David Allan Coe

Darlin', Darlin'

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Darlin', Darlin' is one of the strangest records in David Allan Coe's catalog. For starters, Coe wrote only two songs on the set, a spiritual song called "Mary Go Round the Birth of Jesus" and the fourth and last part of "For Lovers Only," which closes the album. Musically, this is a big production number -- even for Billy Sherrill. There are keyboards winding through everything, big backing vocals, and layered pedal steel and electric guitars. Some of the covers are curious choices as well: Smokey Robinson's "My Girl," a soul holdover from Just Divorced, and J.J. Cale's "Call Me the Breeze." The rest were written by a current crop of Nashville songwriters, like the spooky minor key "She Used to Love Me a Lot" and Sherrill's brilliant "My Elusive Dreams." There is also a duet on the disc: "Don't Cry Darlin'" puts Coe in the company of the Possum, George Jones, and unfortunately, it's one of Darlin', Darlin''s low points. For the most part, the set showcases Coe as one of the great country singers, wrapping his throaty baritone around love songs, pop songs, and rock tunes. And as a singer's recording, as odd as some of the material choices are, it works and works well -- check Sharon Rice's "Too Close to Home," with keyboard and saxophone solos, but it's Coe's voice that carries the day. This is not the best place for the curious to begin with DAC, but for those who are die-hard fans, this is an essential recording.

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