Recording a record of covers is always a hit-or-miss, but Robbie Fulks really did it right. His 2001 album, 13 Hillbilly Giants, is, as you would imagine, a baker's dozen of mostly obscure songs from Hillbilly and Country & Western artists. Recorded in a slapdash two-day session with Steve Albini, this record is as fresh and as vibrant as many of the original versions. The songs run the gamut, too; some songs are about drinking, about not drinking because of paternal responsibilities, loving one's wife; one song, "Knot Hole," is an ode to the joy of voyeurism! Then there's "Jeannie's Afraid of the Dark," an utterly depressing and totally obscure weepie about a dead child, written by Dolly Parton. I'm also fond of "Family Man," a minor hit for Frankie Miller, about not being a carouser because there are babies at home. It's a nice sentiment, and Fulks has me convinced that it's his song. That's when you know a cover is effective; if you make the listener feel the words deep inside. Good show, sir, good show!
Listen To: Family Man
13 Hillbilly Giants was released with love back in 2001 by Bloodshot Records
Labels: Bloodshot Records, Friday Flashbacks, reviews f, Robbie Fulks