Robbie Fulks The Very Best of Robbie Fulks (Bloodshot)
Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, Fri., Jan. 21, 2000
The Very Best of Robbie Fulks (Bloodshot)This ironically titled anthology actually contains stuff that never made it on to other Robbie Fulks releases for one reason or another; Fulks teamed up with producer Steve Albini to pull together this material. From the first track to the last, it's filled with Fulks' admittedly weird and savage sense of humor as well as his head-spinning guitar work. "Roots Rock Weirdos" is a jab at the greasy-haired groupthink that constitutes much of his fan base (if you're offended, then the song was on target). A live version of Moon Mullican's "Wedding of the Bugs" rocks out like the Replacements rather than Robbie Fulks. "Hamilton County Breakdown" is an instrumental reel dating back to his bluegrass days in Special Consensus, while "Parallel Bars" is a honky-tonk duet with Kelly Willis. Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising track of all is "White Man's Bourbon," the story of a great white hunter and his Nubian date, a song whose questionable taste is bound to tweak those with sensitive barometers of political correctness (and that's not even mentioning the weird, flatulent baritone-guitar solo). Fulks acquits the song nicely in his liner notes, though; his commentary on each song shows a great reluctance to take himself or his music too seriously. With songs like "Jean Arthur" and "That Bangle Girl" (an ode to Susanna Hoffs), ferocious playing and razor-sharp Albini production, this may not be "the best of Robbie Fulks," but it certainly is the most eccentric.