Hank Williams III shared a cover of David Allan Coe’s 1975 classic “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.” It was originally written by Steve Goodman and John Prine in 1971, although Prine took his name off of it because he reportedly thought it was just a “goofy, novelty song” and was afraid it might “offend the country music community.”
The cover was uploaded to YouTube as “Hank3 does an Outlaw Classic Country Cover” and reportedly recorded in real-time without editing. Coe’s version was much more maximalist for the genre and much more radio-friendly in spite of its satire. Hank3’s rendition is sparse and more drawn-out with an echoing vocal effect and standard, yet stripped-back outlaw country chord fingering. Williams kept Coe’s iconic spoken part about how Goodman jokingly told Coe that it was the “perfect country & western song,” and how Coe had disagreed since it didn’t have anything to do with “Mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk.”
At that point, Goodman historically added a final verse which made Coe agree that it was in fact the “perfect country & western song.” The verse goes, “Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison/And I went to pick her up in the rain/But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck/She got run over by a damned old train.”
Williams’ rendition of the song is his first new release since the 2015 compilation Take As Needed for Pain, which opened with a David Allan Coe tune that Hank3 had been featured on, called “Get Outta My Life.” He had also collaborated with Coe on their seven-minute-long 2013 single, “The Outlaw Ways.”
Williams’ last album also came out in 2013, titled Brothers of the 4×4. He has released 11 studio albums in total, not including his debut collaboration with his dad, Hank Williams, Jr. and archival recordings of his grandfather, Hank Williams, called Three Hanks: Men With Broken Hearts. Hank Williams III notably dabbled in metal on his 2011 albums Hillbilly Joker, ADD: Attention Deficit Domination and Cattle Callin. mxdwn had the chance to interview Hank3 about his eclectic releases back in 2013.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat