David Allan Coe, “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)”

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David Allan Coe – he of the beaded beard and the Confederate-themed guitar – has been accused of writing and recording some of the most racist, misogynistic, sexually explicit material ever, self-distributed on albums that no major label would touch. But he also had a long country music career on Columbia, and was one of the songwriting greats of 1970s Nashville. He’s a complicated man to be sure. He can be unabashedly vulgar and insulting one minute, but can then reveal a tenderness that rivals the female side of any male country artist, as he did with his song “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone.)”

Coe recorded two different versions of this ballad, first on his 1975 album Once Upon a Rhyme, and again on his 1978 album Human Emotions. The two arrangements differed a little, but both renditions were definitive in their own rights. The song’s meaning has been a matter of conjecture; while it’s generally viewed as being about a relationship between a man and a woman, many believe it is also about the crucifixion of Christ.

Possible biblical references can be found in the last two lines of the first verse:

Would you lay with me in a field of stone
 If my needs were strong would you lay with me Should my lips grow dry would you wet them dear
/ In the midnight hour if my lips were dry And in the chorus of: Would you go away to another land Walk a thousand miles through the burning sand Wipe the blood away from my dying hand 
 If I give myself to you

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