Kickstart Country Standard Time to Nashville
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Robbie Fulks

South Mouth – 1997 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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Kickstart Country Standard Time to Nashville

CDs by Robbie Fulks

A combination of catchy tunes and witty, often irreverent lyrics, made Robbie Fulks's debut "Country Love Songs" a cult sensation. This is more of the same - but completely different. Musically, most songs have familiar sounds. Some of the more obvious influences heard on this album are The Everly Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, Dwight Yoakam, Hank Williams and Tex Williams (on the same song, no less) - and there's even a nod to Memphis R & B. But Fulks has an encyclopedic musical knowledge allowing him to never pay homage to the same source twice, so none of these old friends wears out its welcome.

Anyway, it's lyrics that make Fulks a treasure. Whether it's laugh-out-loud funny ("Fuck This Town"), more subtle humor ("Heart, I Wish You Were Here"), a bare and relentlessly bleak number ("Forgotten But Not Gone"), or one of two variations on the Appalachian death ballad ("Cold Statesville Ground," "South Richmond Girl"), Fulks always provides an original spin on country traditions. It's just as well Fulks doesn't have hit singles - his songs are all so different from each other that no one of them can properly represent his albums. Fulks is head and shoulders above the crowd.