Picks and Pans Review: Invictus (means) Unconquered
This bourbon Coe-boy's got a voice clearer than Willie's, a look meaner than Waylon's (with earrings, diamond encrusted rings on every digit and tattoos) and a background that's earned him the Nashville nickname "Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy." As David Allan tells it, after a childhood spent in reformatories, he killed a fellow inmate in the Ohio State Penitentiary, earning a lease on Death Row until capital punishment was banned. That perhaps vain-inglorious tale has never been verified, but it's on the record that he was paroled from prison in 1967 and parlayed a decent voice and guitar skills into a career that's gained him respect if not platinum albums. These 10 songs (he co-wrote four) are full of vinegar rather than the molasses that mucks up so many C&W records. As Far as This Feeling Will Take Us and The Best Game in Town feature Coe in his first duets ever with a woman—Karen Brooks ("I once said I'd never do a duet with a woman unless she was as earthy as I was"). The results leave one hankering for more. I Love Robbing Banks, dedicated to John Dillinger, and Ain't It Funny the Way Love Can Do Ya, dedicated to Coe's former wife, both pack sardonic bite. But the song worth the purchase price is the Billy Sherrill-Tammy Wynette classic Stand by Your Man, executed with originality, emotion and respect. With suburban rocksters covering country tunes and counterfeits cluttering clubs the ilk of Gilley's, here's the real thing.