Saturday, November 16, 2013

David Allan Coe - Panheads Forever

The old that is strong does not wither. - J.R.R. Tolkien

It's not known whether Tolkien rode on two wheels, other than a bicycle.  Probably not.  But he was an arch conservative in the way that counts - what has worked in the past should be cherished, and preserved.  And so to motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson introduced the panhead in 1948, and it quickly became, well, mythic.  "Easy Rider" used panheads.  Old School, not your metric or Bimmer - this was know-your-choke and be ready for a workout getting it turned over when it was cold.  But still mythic.

David Allan Coe is also mythic.  He was 9 years old when the panhead was introduced, but he didn't ride it.  You see, he was sent to a reform school that year.  He spent a lot of the next two decades in and out of prison, but that was where he started writing music.  And what music it was.

You've heard it.  He wrote "Take This Job And Shove It".  He wrote "Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)" which Tanya Tucker took to #1 on the charts.  He wrote "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile". But he never lost his up-close-and-personal relationship with life.  Rich after songwriting success, he got into tax trouble.  The IRS seized his house, and so he lived in a cave in Tennessee (!).

Maybe more than anyone his voice and singing style reminds me of Waylon, or maybe Hank, Jr..  That's high praise.

Panheads Forever (Songwriter: David Allan Coe)
She's hard to get started
She's always so cold
In the mornings I find her -
She's looking so old
There's so many miles
I've been down that road once or twice
She's not much to look at
When we ride thru town
But I know when the chips fall
She won't let me down
She knows how to run
And she don't run around on her man
She's a high flyin' lady
She takes me where I want to be
There's no other woman
Standing between her and me
I'll always be faithful
And keep her 'til the end of time
God knows I'll always love
That old Panhead of mine
I've seen fancy dressers
And they've caught my eye
I rode'em to ride'em
Then I told them goodbye
I flirted with Low Riders
Sportsters and Shovelheads too
I cussed her and beat her
And kicked her to just get her started
A couple of times
God knows I'll always love
That old Panhead of mine.


doubletrouble said...

Heh. Even more than "know-your-choke"; you had to know your timing, too.
My chopped '58 Duo-Glide had the distributor cable control rodent-engineered in such a way that you needed two right hands to work it. If I didn't turn the distributor 'just so', the kicker would try to launch me over the handlebars.
It succeeded a few times, as I remember.
Good times.

Six said...

2 Harley posts in a row. I'm sensing a theme here....