Even though David Allan Coe hasn't had the commercial success of Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson, the grizzled ex-con can not only kick the shit out of 'em both (it helps that one is dead) but also is the credited author of the archetypal country-and-western song. Like some hat-wearing, whiskey-soaked Aristotle, Coe established the poetics for the "perfect" song when he first performed Steve Goodman's "You Never Even Called Me by My Name" in 1975. Whereas any given country song contains at least one of the five essential elements drunkenness, mama, prison, trains or trucks this ballad includes them all. That feat isn't so surprising considering Coe started out singing the blues. His debut album, Penitentiary Blues, recalls the wit of Lightnin' Hopkins matched with the misogyny of Bo Diddley. Released in 1969 and reissued in '05, the album is a bildungsroman in which Coe comes of age after nearly 20 years behind bars. With songs that play like pleas to an merciless prison warden, Penitentiary Blues is a must-have for anyone who thinks Tookie got a bum rap.