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Don't Call Me Darlin'!

Updated on August 24, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

(Writer's Note: I wrote this piece as a request for my friend, Colin (epigramman). I hope he likes it! )

A friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song” is what David Allan Coe was heard to say as he explained the lyrics of Goodman’s song “You Never Even Call Me By My Name”. Now, when Goodman, who is now deceased (RIP), wrote this song and sent it to Coe, he told him that it was “the perfect country and western song”. Well, according to Coe, after reviewing it, he sent it back to Goodman and informed him that it was not any such thing because it had not mentioned anything about “trains, trucks, prison, or getting’ drunk, or mama.” As the story goes, Coe sat down and wrote another verse to the song and include those subjects thus making it the “perfect country and western song”. Let’s break it down and discuss why that would be the case.

There are a lot of songs about trains that have been written since back before there was a label called “country and western music”. They called Jimmy Rodgers, “The Singing Brakeman” because he sang so much of trains and the hobos who rode upon them. Arlo Guthrie saluted the “City of New Orleans” and sent us off down the track on that ride describing all that was about us. Kenny Rogers met up with “The Gambler” as he rode the train sharing his last drops of whiskey and furnishing smokes all in the name of getting a little advice on living. Johnny Cash sang of trains in every shape and form it seems logging in with “Hey Porter”, “Blue Train”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, and many, many others. Guy Clark wrote and performed “Texas 1947” detailing the excitement of living in a far west Texas town as a child and awaiting the arrival and passing of one of the speedy new trains on the line. In the chorus, Clark wrote, “Look out here she comes, she’s comin’, Look out, there she goes, she’s gone, screamin straight through Texas like mad dog cyclone.” Why every time I hear him sing it, I feel like I am standing there watching just caught up in all the excitement and speed. Trains make you feel country, feel free, feel cowboy. That’s why it is so important to sing about trains if you are singing the perfect country and western song.

Trucks are another important element of good country music. Who can forget Red Sovine singing “Phantom 309” or “Teddy Bear”? What about Dave Dudley’s great song, “Six Days On The Road”? Jerry Reed hammered out “Eastbound and Down” for the “Smokey And The Bandit” soundtrack. He had us all walking around humming that song for days on end. Then there was old C.W. McCall who showed up right in the middle of the CB radio craze and gave us “Convoy”. Man, there are some good words there like, “Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June in a Kenworth haulin’ logs. Cabover Pete with a reefer on and a Jimmy haulin’ hogs…”. Aw, we loved it man! The song is still a classic today. There’s no way you can be country and not sing about trucks and truckin’, no way!

Of course, what would country do without prison? Man it would be a drag! Cash sang “Dark As A Dungeon” which told about a “prison” of sorts, at least to all those folks working deep in those dark old coal mines. They all felt like prisoners. Lefty Frizzell sang of “Miller’s Cave”, another prison of sorts to the men who inadvertently became lost in it. Merle Haggard gave us “Branded Man” and “Mama Tried” both outlining the hardships of men who have ended up spending time in prison. Cash sang “Folsom Prison Blues” and gave us a double-dose perspective of both trains and prison. Grand Ole Opry star, Webb Pierce, sang “He’s In The Jailhouse Now” and made it a big hit with folks. You start thinkin’ prison, buddy, you are thinkin’ hit song…that’s what I say!

Then there’s that popular pastime that many of us have enjoyed over the years called “gettin’ drunk”. Country music is about drinkin’ and country music singers not only sing about it, they do it with great gusto. Webb Pierce sang “There Stands The Glass”, Jim Ed Brown did “Pop A Top Again”, George Jones came along with “White Lightnin’” and Johnny Cash sang sadly of the damages of alcohol on the Indian, “Ballad of Ira Hayes”. Waylon Jennings offered “Drinkin’ And Dreamin’” which came with the lyric, “Drinkin’ and Dreamin’ knowin’ damn well I can’t go. I’ll never see Texas, L.A. or Old Mexico. But here at this table, I’m able to leave it behind. Drinkin’ And Dreamin’, a thousand miles out of my mind.” Hank Thompson sang “I got time for one more round and “A Six Pack To Go”. The list is almost endless, the situations different, but all involve gettin’ drunk and all of them have added up to some hit music on the country charts.

Last but not least of course, there’s “mama” who just by simply thought can bring a tear to the eye. Mama has been the subject matter of some songs that have gone straight to the heart on their way to becoming country hits. Merle Haggard sang of “Mama’s Hungry Eyes” in his tune about the rigors of camp life in the dust bowl era. He also spoke of mama’s importance in the song “Daddy Frank” when he sang, “Daddy Frank played the guitar and the French harp; sister played ringin’ tambourine. Mama couldn’t hear the pretty music but she read our lips and helped the family sing. That little band was all a part of livin’ and our only means of livin’ at the time. But wasn’t no ordinary combo for Daddy Frank, the guitar man was blind”. Steve Wariner and Glenn Campbell sang, “Hall Of Fame For Mamas”. Willie and Waylon pleaded “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Be Cowboys” and the Judds did “Mama, He’s Crazy”. Mama knows how to make country music, that’s for sure!

Well, that pretty much covers the five most important things in the perfect country and western song according to Mr. David Allan Coe. I think Mr. Coe pretty well got it right although some would argue there is a sixth with the subject being “Love” or the lack there of. I can give credence to that argument and there are plenty of good songs out there to prove it. But, based on the five highlighted by Coe, it was all he could do to make that last verse (included below) that part which indeed did make it "The Perfect Country & Western Song". All I can do is close out this article with a statement made famous by Coe when he said, “Now, if that ain’t country, you can kiss my ass!” Night, Darlin’.

"I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison

And I went to pick her up, in the rain

But before we could get to my pickup truck

She runned over, by a damned old train

So I'll hang around as long as you will let me

And I never minded standing in the rain

No, you don't have to call me darlin', darling,

You never even call me by, I wonder why you don't call me,

Why don't you ever call me by my name" - Steve Goodman

© Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved

You Never Even Call Me By Me Name


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Billrrrr....True,it is a split genre now and rightly should be...the subject matter quite different. Thanks for the read and the good comments. WB

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 

      7 years ago from Cape Cod

      Great hub.

      Only problem I have, is that it is not a "Country and Western" song.

      It is a "Country" song.

      If it were a Western song, it would need to include 'Ridin', 'Ropin', 'Cow Punchin' and 'Brandin' etc.

      Nowadays, a lot of people forget "Western" music is "Western Music", not 'country and western' music.

      The genre is represented today by Michael Martin Murphy and Riders in the Sky. Past greats include The Sons of the Pioneers and all the great singing cowboys; Gene, Roy, Rex, Tex et al.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RF Raizor...Yes, I did but that would been a tangent that I didn't want to get on. Per the writer's note, this piece was in answer to a challenge from a friend to write a story around the last verse to Coe's version of the song, which by the way, according to Goodman, was heavily written by John Prine in its original verse though Prine takes no credit at all. The irony of it all is that Coe likely made the song a classic standard in his format...something it likely would not have achieved otherwise. While Goodman did write "City of New Orleans", I think this is another case where Arlo Guthrie did such a fine job with it that it became a standard.

      Coe is something else altogether. I have heard much of his early stuff on bootleg cassettees with no names assigned. Still the voice was too distinctive to mask. He can get down in the gutters with the best of them but as you point out has a side that seems totally foreign to his physical presentation. He seems to have mellowed a bit with the years and toned down the look but I am not sure anybody really knows who he is as a person. I particularly am a fan of the song, "The Ride" which he recorded several years back. I enjoy playing and singing that one. Thanks for all the good comments and info. I appreciate you taking the time to read it. WB

    • KF Raizor profile image

      KF Raizor 

      7 years ago

      It's interesting that you mentioned "City of New Orleans" without noting that Steve Goodman, who wrote "You Never Even Call Me By My Name," also wrote that classic.

      For the record, as detailed in Clay Eals' excellent biography of Goodman, the final verse was NOT written at Coe's insistence. Goodman was rather upset when he heard Coe's recording making that claim. (They weren't really "friends," either, they met one time before Coe recorded the song.) Goodman wrote the final verse to the song in 1972, some three years before Coe recorded it. Goodman's original ending to the song was a take-off of the conclusion of Jerry Lee Lewis' song "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye," ending, "It's not her heart, it's her mind, she didn't mean to be unkind and she never even called me by my name."

      My favorite Coe song is "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)." If you listen to all his other raunchy material then hear that you can only wonder how he ever managed to write such a song in comparison!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      8 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...Thanks much for stopping by Sally and I am so glad you enjoyed this one. It was a challenge from a friend so I took it on! Hope to see you again! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      8 years ago

      I am a big c/w fan, and I loved the trip down memory lane. I grew up on many of the songs you mention. Thanks

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      9 years ago from Texas

      @dahoglund....You got that right, I guess that is the reason so many folks like that C&W Music! Thanks for the visit and the comment! WB

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      All these have one thing in common, they are the things ordinary people care about.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      9 years ago from Texas

      @50 Caliber...They just don't make 'em that good every day and ol' Coe hit 'er slam out of the park. Everybody wants to sing along when that comes on and it can't come on too much! Thanks for the read! WB

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Wayne, all I can say is "shit boy howdy!" that song was the perfect gettin drunk and fighting song ever pressed I do believe, you have done a great job framing it here I bumped your up buttons all the way. If I listen to that song in the quiet out here it takes my mind on trips to a lot of places from trail riding in the Superstitions to campfires and on to bars and bar fights as well as sitting on the juke box of 45s. The owner of a box said it was the record that he had to replace the most due to wear and tear (back in the late 70s or early 80s don't remember for sure but while he was working on the box in my hang out bar I asked him how long a record lasts and we got off on that conversation. Thanks for the thought as I have it up and playing right now, 50

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      9 years ago from Texas

      EpGMan...somehow I have missed that article over at your place. I am gonna get over and read it! WB

    • epigramman profile image


      9 years ago

      lol lol - at least the one you can sing in public!!!

      yes David Allan Coe can get quite earthy and racy!

      I wrote one about a week ago now called 5 essential subjects in country and western music - c'mon over and check it out!

      And as always Mister Brown - a pleasure to spend some quality time here 'at the best little hub-house in Texas'

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      9 years ago from Texas

      EpgMan...glad you liked it...I told you that I knew the makings of a good country song. My favorite Coe song (at least the one that you can sing in public) is "The Ride". I perform that one myself a bit on my guitar. I am also a huge fan of Billy Joe Shaver, a very prolific songwriter! Glad you like this! WB

    • epigramman profile image


      9 years ago

      yes I love it Mr. B - then again John Wayne did not get on that 'stagecoach' to save the day - you did!

      and I SIMPLY love David Allan Coe - what an outlaw - like Waylon Jennings, Willie, and Billie Joe Shaver - but sir you do me proud - and this hub will become my home home on the range!!!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      9 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      You are the MAN, Wayne Brown! Phantom 309 is one of my very favorite songs, ever. And of course the subject of this hub is so reminiscent of days past. I can just hear Coe's voice growling out that last verse.


      "And there *she* went, clean out of sight."

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      9 years ago from Texas

      Thank you, Valerie...Epigramman started all this by asking me if I knew the five characteristics of the perfect country and western song. Luckily, he kept me in that box otherwise, like you, my hub would have listed a ton of songs. I just did a poem on Cash. You might want to check as well. Glad you stopped by and I have you come back! WB

    • valeriebelew profile image


      9 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Great hub. I enjoyed it to the max, as I am a lover of all types of music, and country is no exception. I love Toby Keith, who you didnt mention, and his "How do ya like me now," and "Curtesy of the Red, White, and Blue," as some of my favorites. I also love those you did mention, and listen to Johny Cash, and his daughter as well. Great hub. Voting this one up too, and might join your fan club. Too many cooking hubs, and recipes lately from my female writers, and cooking hubs put me to sleep. I am glad the silly hubalicious contest is over, or almost over, as I'm ready to read something I couldn't find in a cookbook. What a waste of good talant! I only read em if i'm about to prepare a meal. LOL. Voting you up, as music is one of my passions. (:v

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      9 years ago from Texas

      This is one of the first songs that I learned to sing when I first started playing is such a fun song when everyone has had a couple of beers! Thanks for your comments Lisa! (P.S. - Lisa, if you want to get into some ponderous thought, check out "blake4d" here on the hub. He has some interesting reads!) WB

    • lisadpreston profile image


      9 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I had just listened to this song when I stumbled across this hub. LOL! I have to admit this is one of my favorites. I grew up on country music. I come from a family of country singers. Johnny Paycheck lived with us right before he got famous. In fact my grandpa helped him get started and sent him to Nashville.

      This is the perfect country and western song for sure. Thanks! LP

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      9 years ago from Texas

      @optimus grimlock....I have always loved this song, it's the perfect country and western song! WB

      @samboiam...A classic for sure and I had fun with it! WB

    • samboiam profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      What a classic country song. I enjoyed the hub it was a great read.

    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 

      9 years ago

      you never even call me by my name!!!! lol thats a great sond and a good hub as well


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