Castles in the Sand is one of David Allan 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 DAC. 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 Detterline/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 Brooks/Coe tune “Don’t Be a Stranger,” a duet with Eve Shapiro, and Coe’s own “For Lovers Only, Pt. 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 not to give up, no matter how rough the breaks can be.