Robbie Fulks
Country Love Songs (Vinyl Only Release)
Bloodshot Records

A Country Music ‘Game Changer’ In So Many Fabulous Ways!

Robbie Fulks is probably ‘taken for granted’ by several generations of Alt, Country fans as he is constantly touring and regularly releasing albums; yet there was a time when what he does so well and so naturally was as rare as hens teeth!
But thankfully the home of Insurgent Country have always appreciated what a rare talent he has; and to help celebrate their very own 25th Anniversary they are re-releasing his debut album COUNTRY LOVE SONGS as a 180 gram Vinyl record.
It may sound as fresh as a mountain daisy today in 2019, but even I as a Fulks Fan can’t imagine how extraordinary the twisted opening song Every Kinda Music, But Country must have sounded in 1996!
Just like all the others here, it’s a love song but one that Fulks tips his ‘knowledgeable cap’, back to the Glory Days of Hank, George and Chet with more than a dash of cheek too .
I own 6 Robbie Fulks albums, but never this one; so hearing Barely Human, Tears Only Run One Way and the other ‘live favourite’ The Buck Starts Here for the first time has been as exciting as I’ve hoped for two decades.
I can’t work out how old/young Robbie would have been way back then; but what a burgeoning talent he had for not just songwriting and storytelling, but adding a catchy melody too – which was way out of fashion in the 1990’s!
After praising him to the hilt, I must also mention two tracks which may not have aged as well as the rest; The Scrapple Song is a comical ode to Pennsylvania’s favourite foodstuff apparantly and the instrumental Pete Way’s Trousers kind of jars with everything either side of it …… but I could be wrong.
Man…… what to select for a Favourite Song?
The powerhouse album closer Papa Was a Steel Headed Man certainly showcases what a talent Fulks was and still is; while the left of centre tearjerker Barely Human is/was probably the first song in a style which is now synonymous with Robbie Fulks; but I’m closing my eyes and selecting She Took a Lot of Pills (and Died) because, yet again it’s 25 years old it sounds as fresh as a daisy with Fulks taking the baton from George or Hank and sauntering in the direction of Alt. Country, Americana and/or Countrypolitain without a care in the world! I hope someone out there can tell me who the mysterious actress of the story was.
I will leave the last word to Robbie himself; and the note he attached to the tape he originally sent to Bloodshot in 1996:-

13 original country songs with an early 50’s production aesthetic (hot vocals, robust bass, live instrumental tracks) and arrangement, reviving certain types of songs long abandoned by mainstream country music. Likewise in retro spirit, these songs will frequently violate current country songwriting trends which hold as taboo themes of negativism, forceful expression, and points of view uncongenial to the prevailing ideology of fatuous feelgoodism; they will instead reflect a modern sensibility in their emotional graphicness, vigorous iconoclasm, and sense of humor. In composition and presentation the music will honestly reflect the heart and personality of its author/singer, and in its fundamental sincerity will stand resolutely against the poisonous tides of camp.”

Released July 26th 2019

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