Johnny Paycheck would have turned 83 this past Monday. In 1977, he scored three consecutive Top 10 country songs, including his biggest hit, the No. 1 “Take This Job and Shove It.” But while Paycheck, who died at age 64 in 2003, is synonymous with the song about sticking it to — and flipping off — The Man, it was actually written by David Allan Coe. Coe cut his version for his 1978 Family Album and performed it frequently in his shows, including on the latter-day concert document Biketoberfest ’01: Live From the Iron Horse Saloon.
Recorded live in 2001 in Daytona Beach, Florida, during an annual motorcycle rally, Live From the Iron Horse Saloon received its first vinyl release last month via Cleveland International Records. Coe’s rendition of “Take This Job and Shove It” is especially defiant here — he knows the rowdy audience before him and accentuates the chorus kiss-off, at one point beckoning the crowd to “get ready now” and spit out the signature dismissal with him. While the musical arrangement is stripped-down (Coe’s strummed electric guitar and a simple drumbeat form the skeleton), the pissed-off quality of the country outlaw’s voice supplies the muscle.
Along with “Take This Job and Shove It,” Live From the Iron Horse Saloon includes Coe staples like “Son of the South,” “You Never Even Called Me by My Name,” and the Hank Williams ghost story “The Ride.” There’s also a cover of Kid Rock’s “Only God Knows Why,” off the rapper’s 1998 breakthrough Devil Without a Cause, as well as the only recording of Coe’s self-mythologizing origin story, “I’m an Ohio Boy.”
Biketoberfest ’01: Live From the Iron Horse Saloon on vinyl was produced by Coe and executive produced by Steve Popovich Jr. of Cleveland International Records. The album is available now.
1. “I’m an Ohio Boy”
2. “Son of the South”
3. “59 Cadillac, 57 Chevrolet”
5. “Nothing to Lose”
6. “When I Was a Young Man”
7. “If That Ain’t Country Part II”
8. “Only God Knows Why”
9. “Single Father”
10. “Drank My Wife Away”
11. “A Harley Someday”
12. “Take This Job and Shove It”
13. “The Ride”
14. “You Never Even Called Me by My Name”