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Penitentiary Blues Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, August 23, 2005
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 23, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: HackTone Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,327 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Deluxe Reissue Of The Debut Album From This Influential Country Renegade...On CD For The First Time Ever! An Album So Outlaw It Was Written Behind Bars

David Allan Coe is one of the most popular and controversial figures in modern country music. It’s ironic then that his debut album, Penitentiary Blues, wasn’t a country album at all, but a blues album through and through. Though it received only limited distribution upon its 1968 release, it has achieved cult-classic status. Shout! Factory, in association with HackTone Records, is proud to release Penitentiary Blues on CD for the first time. The packaging mimics the original die-cut album cover, and in addition to a booklet with notes by Grammy-winner Colin Escott, we have put together a bonus booklet consisting of excerpts from Coe’s legendary self-published book, EX-Convict. The result is the ultimate edition of this prison classic.


(4 stars) A raw, stubborn, stare-you-down kind of album. Chilling. --Blender --Blender

(10 Best Reissues of 2005) A set of straight electric blues about life on lockdown that's as hard in its way as Cassidy's 'I'm A Hustla' --SPIN --Spin

(10 Best CDs of 2005) Solid barroom blues with a sense of urgency as pressing as waiting for a call from the Governor to commute your sentence. --NPR --Npr

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on August 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Coe's 1969 debut has become quite the collectable over the years, sought after by his fans as much for its rarity as for its raw look at the songwriter's roots. Written primarily while serving his final stint of prison time (3 years at Marion), its both a punctuation mark on the end of 20 years of off-and-mostly-on incarceration, and the launching point for Coe's entire musical career.

Recorded in Nashville for Shelby Singleton's SSS label (a sister to the Plantation label on which Singleton had cleaned up with Jeannie C. Riley), the basic blues lineup of guitar, bass, drums and harmonica hardly predicts Coe's later success in Country music circles. Yet, the raw-to-the-bone songs of prison life's hardships weren't all that different from those lamenting the circumstance of poor mountain dwellers and displaced Okies, and Coe's notion of an ex-con's worth clearly informed later successes like "Take This Job and Shove It."

These tales from the inside are more Leadbelly than Cash, and the music has more in common with Jerry Lee's post-Rock 'n' Roll blues sides (mixed with Screamin' Jay Hawkins' hallucinatory hoodoo imagery) than anything Nashville was producing in 1969. Coe's prison tattoo of an album didn't even acknowledge the system that was bucked seven years later by Waylon & Willie.

HackTone's deluxe CD reissue (the first legitimate CD issue for this title in its 36 year history) reproduces the album's original die-cut prison bars cover in digipack form, includes informative new liner notes from Colin Escott, and adds a telling excerpt from Coe's self-published book "Ex-Convict." [©2005 hyperbolium dot com]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Mccarthy on October 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having been a metal and hard rock fan for most of my life, I find it strange to be writing a review for country legened David Allan Coe. But as I get older I'm finding it a little easier to have an open mind, albums like this make it extremely easy!

First off, this ISN'T a Country album, this is Blues and some old fashioned Rock n Roll. The structures are simple/basic blues patterns. Very easy to get into. Anyone who loves the blues, oldies rock, funny story songs and obviously anyone who likes DAC should own this. Not a bad song here.

Note: Penitentiary Blues is not listed on the tracklisting here on Amazon for some reason. It is track #1

One of the coolest things about this CD is the way they reproduced the original LP version; the digi-pack type packaging, tri-fold gateway cover, die-cut bars over the cover. Very nice booklet with some DAC history and an excerpt from his book "ex-convict".Very nice package for any collector of old rock/blues music. Nice to have a peak into the beginnings of such an infamous singer/songwriter.
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By Doug Davis on April 7, 2014
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I've always been a DAC fan but never ever heard this album. I listened to it on and had to have it. This is more of a rockin' blues album rather than country. Another reason I like it. DAC is one of the most underrated songwriter's of our time.
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