Tattoo and Family Album mark singer/songwriter David Allan Coe's fifth and sixth albums for Columbia, respectively, issued in 1977 and 1978. They also make up the third volume of Bear Family's Columbia Records retrospective covering the years 1974-1981. The issue of Tattoo marked the third album Coe issued in 1977. First there was the often-angry Rides Again, where the "Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy" made his final recorded appearance; then the self-released Texas Moon, recorded on the road; and finally Tattoo. Tattoo also marks the beginning of Coe's association with Billy Sherrill (though Ron Bledsoe would remain with him until 1980's Invictus Means Unconcquered). Tattoo and Family Album mark a far more sensitive side of Coe. Tattoo features more love songs than most Coe records, and there are some fine ones, such as "Just to Prove My Love for You," "Face to Face," "You'll Always Live Inside of Me," and "Just in Time (To Watch Love Die)." Family Album centers more on the connection to one's roots and connections not only between Coe and his family of origin (raised a Mormon, he was the son of polygamy), but his progeny and the concept of family as a universal concept. Inexplicably, in keeping with his contradictory nature, Family Album also contains the classic "Take This Job and Shove It," which Johnny Paycheck took to number one, and the tasteless "Divers Do It Deeper," which sounds more like Jimmy Buffett than Coe. These albums are generally overlooked in Coe's catalog and shouldn't be; they are consistent, literate, and represent the other side of the outlaw persona Coe worked so hard to create.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek