Peddling racist trash is unworthy of songwriter

Angered by the free trading of their music, many artists have begun selling and re-releasing old material that is being traded online. No problem here, just a few music artists trying to make money off of their own work.

But what about country singer/songwriter David Allan Coe, who wants to make money off of two albums that are frequently traded online but which he doesn’t want to put his name on. Why not? Because the music is, at best, sexually explicit, racist, homophobic and misogynistic.

The two albums, "Nothing Sacred" and "Underground," were made in the early ’80s and have been combined into a double CD, "X-Rated Hits," being sold on Coe’s official Web site. Although it appears Coe doesn’t want to affiliate himself with the music (his name isn’t on the album, he refuses to promote sales and he won’t perform any of the songs in public), apparently he has no qualms about making money from it. According to the his site, the release of the "collector’s item" is "due to recent bootleg versions of David Allan Coe’s two ‘Xrated’ albums being sold on CDs without David being paid and without his permission."

It’s hard to determine which is worse: actually writing songs that now appear on racist Web sites or profiting from their sale. While Coe’s conscience might have caught up and left him too ashamed to put his name on the music, it seems to have found room to make money off an album that promotes hatred.

It’s distressing that such behavior occurs in a person of considerable talent. While the public may not be familiar with Coe as an artist, most recognize Coe’s songwriting. He penned Johnny Paycheck’s "Take this job and shove it" and Tanya Tucker’s "Would you lay with me (in a field of stone)." Coe is now being introduced to a new generation of music lovers, having opened for white rapper Kid Rock on his latest tour. Playing with a confederate flag painted on his guitar, Coe did not perform any of his "X-Rated" songs but, according to the New York Times, some fans report the double CD was for sale at the concerts; according to concert spokespersons, they weren’t.

While it is unclear whether or not concert fans discovered Coe’s dirty secret while discovering the rest of his music, it is clear that his profiting off these songs is despicable. While some artists are fighting to be paid for their work on the Internet, they also claim the music as their own and are proud of their work.

Apparently, Coe isn’t claiming to be proud but still wants to profit. A disgusting paradox but, hey, anything for more money.

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