Country Throwback: Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock Perform ‘You Never Even Called Me By My Name’ in 2016

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Kenny Chesney delighted his audience when Kid Rock made a surprise appearance on stage. They played two surprise songs, including “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.”

That was back in 2016. Fans had no idea Chesney would be pulling a rock star from stage left. But they shouted their approval for Kid Rock because the crowd was from Detroit and Kid Rock was one of them. The singer, back when he was known as Robert James Ritchie. grew up in nearby Romeo, a small, rural bedroom community.

First Up For Kenny Chesney and Kid Rock Is “Cowboy”

Chesney and Kid Rock first played “Cowboy.” That’s a Kid Rock classic from 1999. Some music critics have called it country music’s first rap song. It’s about “pimping” on a trip through the country to California. The song was Kid Rock’s first on the Billboard Hot 100.

But if you want to entertain a true country audience, dip back to an old-school classic, a song in which everyone, young or old, knows the words.

How about “You Don’t Even Call Me By My Name.” Great choice, Kenny Chesney and Kid Rock! We know Chesney loves the throwbacks.

Now, That’s the Perfect Country Song

“You Don’t Call Me By My Name” literally has a verse about being the perfect country song. Because it checks all the boxes — tongue and cheek, of course. It’s likely Kenny Chesney knew all the words when he was growing up in Knoxville.

Steve Goodman and John Prine wrote the song in the early 70s, when Kenny Chesney and Kid Rock were toddlers. Prine didn’t want a credit for it, because he claimed it was a “goofy, novelty song.” Maybe it was. But everyone learned the words after David Allen Coe recorded it in 1975.

Coe was a salty, but super singer songwriter. He spent part of his youth in and out of jail and reform schools. Then he became a part of country’s outlaw, anti-establishment genre.

He could be best known for the songs he wrote for others. His best-known song probably is the working-class anthem “Take This Job and Shove It” by Johnny Paycheck. Tanya Tucker also recorded his song “Will You Lay With Me.”

But everyone who ever danced at a country club probably knows “You Don’t Even Call Me By My Name.” Grab a longneck and sing.

Go On, Sing, You Know The Words

The best part of the song was when Coe sang about some suggestions for last verse to make it the “perfect country song.”

“Well, he sat down and wrote another verse to the song. And he sent it to me. And after reading it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country & western song. .. I felt obliged to include it on this album

“The last verse goes like this here. 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. And I’ll hang around as long as you will let me. And I never minded standing’ in the rain.”

Kenny Chesney likes to sing the song, but he’s never recorded it. He does like to sing it with rockers. Check out this version with Uncle Kracker.

But just remember, you don’t have to call me darlin, darlin, to sing this song, no matter who is on stage.

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