David Allan Coe Castles in the Sand / Hello in There Plus
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- Released: May 23, 2005
- Label: Bear Family
- 1.Cheap Thrills
- 2.Son of A Rebel Son
- 3.Fool Inside of Me
- 4.Castles In The Sand
- 5.Gotta Serve Somebody
- 7.I Can't Let You Be A Memory
- 8.Missin' The Kid
- 9.Don't Be A Stranger
- 10.For Lovers Only (Part 1)
- 11.Crazu Old Soldier
- 12.Out of Your Mind
- 13.Mister, Don't Speak Bad About My Music
- 14.Drinkin' To Forget
- 15.Gotta Travel On
- 16.He Will Break Your Heart
- 17.For Lover Only (Part Ii)
- 18.Hello In There
- 19.Someone Special
- 20.I Ain't Gonna Let You Go Again
- 21.My Father Smoked His Pipe
Recording information: Eleven-Eleven Sound Studios, Nashville, TN.
Illustrator: R.A. Andreas.
Photographer: R.A. Andreas.
Bear Family continues its David Allan Coe reissue program with 1983's Castles in the Sand and Hello in There; both albums were produced by Billy Sherrill. Castles in the Sand is one of Coe's most underrated and consistent. Coming well after his glory -- and scandal -- years in the 1970s, Coe and producer Billy Sherrill integrated their partnership into a seamless whole. Coe wrote a big chunk of the album and his tunes are as solid as the material on 1982's Rough Rider and D A C The standouts include "Son of a Rebel Son," and the utterly haunted title song written as a tribute to Bob Dylan, followed by a funky country read of Dylan's own "Gotta Serve Somebody" with Lacy J. Dalton, who adds a certain depth and wildness to the mix. More than on any of their other collaborations, Sherrill showcases Coe as a fine, understated, interpretive singer. One of the eeriest covers Coe ever cut is of the J.B. Detterline, Jr./Gary Gentry classic "The Ride," about the ghost of Hank Williams making an appearance to offer advice to a young Turk. Coming at the place it does in Coe's career -- on the downside, but certainly not out -- its irony is particularly poignant. "Missin' the Kid" is a self-penned waltz that is sad and hunted, full of regret and remorse over the loss of his daughter when his second marriage broke up, something he never got over. It's also one of the most sensitive things he's ever written, as it is full of empathy for a daughter he hasn't seen in over ten years. Also included here is "I Can't Let You Be a Memory," an early original by Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule guitarist who played with Coe for 15 years. The album closes with two love songs, the bittersweet Karen Sue Brooks/Coe tune "Don't Be a Stranger," a duet with Eve Shapiro, and Coe's own "For Lovers Only (Part 1)." Like a Tom Waits ballad, the keyboard whispers as Coe begins to sing from a barstool, offering a portrayal of himself trying to write the song in some gin mill -- asking an imaginary waitress for a Jack Daniels and water, and a pencil with an eraser on it. He stumbles, flubs, and finds his way through a fond wish for those who dare to love and not give up, no matter how rough the breaks can be.
Hello in There is less a concession to radio country than Castles in the Sand, it's wilder in some senses and less focused, but no less compelling a listen. Divided into two sections, a country side and a city side, Coe explores the rocking side of country and the country side of rock conversely. Coe wrote only four tunes on the album, but his interpretive singing is so idiosyncratic and authoritative he makes them his own. The set opens with Paul Kennerley's honky tonk reverie "Crazy Old Soldier," that juxtaposes regret, defiance, acceptance and resignation. "Out of Your Mind" is one of Coe's better broken love songs and "Drinkin' to Forget" is the other side of the equation. The title track written by John Prine feels strange being on the "city side" of the record, but Coe's interpretation is wonderful. He turns the lyric inward, like a reflection in a mirror. "For Lovers Only (Part II) is the sequel to a tune with the same name on Castles in the Sand. Coe comes off as if he is writing the song during its recording, and though gimmicky, it works. There is an immediacy and warmth that carries it to the listener whole. The CD closes with the profoundly beautiful "My Father Smoked His Pipe," a leftover from the session. It's a deep meditation on the ever -hanging nature of family and its labyrinthine twists and turns. Once more there is evidence that Coe's entire period with Columbia and his partnership with Sherrill resulted in consistently high-level work despite the fact that Nashville was changing around him and his trademark brand of restless yet utterly faithful country music was being squeezed from the picture. ~ Thom Jurek
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