As you all know I am prone to sing the praises of Mr. Lucas so I was excited when Collection came out and was itching to write about it. Then I apparently lost my damn mind and never put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard with the mind to inform folks that this album is way more than a few rough cuts and lesser known tracks. While Collection is comprised of songs off of Austin’s release At War With The Freak Folk (which was originally the demos that would become Somebody Loves You), tracks from splits with three other artists, a Dolly Parton cover and one new song it’s way more than a collection of rarities for hardcore fans. Austin has a quality to his music such that even the raw tracks off of the demo aren’t just gems for a collector. In fact I would venture to say that if you gave this album to someone and didn’t tell them that the first six tracks were originally demo tracks they would never even know.
Every track on this one is great but a couple stand out more than the others. Austin’s cover of To Daddy makes me tear up even if I haven’t been drinking whiskey. He takes that Dolly Parton tune and makes it truly his own. If you have never heard the Dolly version then you need to hear it first because if you listen to Austin’s version first then Dolly’s just doesn’t have much of an effect. Wild Boar is the other track that gets stuck in my head way too easily off of this one. This one brings to mind a different time with different values as it tells the old Appalachian story of Bangum and the boar in a way that only Austin could have interpreted it. While on the surface this may seem like a collection of previously released tracks it’s much more than that. This is truly a case of the sum being greater than the whole of the parts. It’s a damn fine record and as sure as Houston is hot in August it’s Essential Listening.