Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis: Wild, Wild, Wild

Linda Gail Lewis was asked by Robbie Fulks to collaborate on this CD ‘Wild, Wild, Wild’: a varied compilation of historical styles in (country and rock ‘n’roll) music from The South, and particularly Memphis it seems, stretching from the ‘30’s to the ‘70’s.

Both Lewis and Fulks are veterans in the music recording industry. Piano playing singer Linda Gail Lewis is of course the little sister of Jerry Lee Lewis and Robbie Fulks, with a background in bluegrass music, was nominated a Grammy-award as an alternative country singer-songwriter.

Most of the material on ‘Wild, Wild, Wild’ is written by Fulks and most songs are duets. Some of the songs seem written for Linda Gail exclusively like ‘Round Too Long’ and ‘Boogie-Woogie Country Girl’, one can say biographical songs. In the latter you can’t deny hearing her big brother’s living spirit, instrumentally and vocally. The piano is pumped by Linda Gail herself of course, but she also proves to be sensitive and elegant in ballads like ‘Hardluck Louisiana’.

Picture by Andy Goodwin

Robbie Fulks shows his skills as a songwriter in the outlaw country ballad ‘I Just Lived A Country Song’ and his mastery of flat picking the guitar in the gospel ‘On The Jericho Road’. On the beautiful melancholic ‘Memphis Never Falls Out Of Style’ he plays old time banjo, joined by trumpets and clarinet.

‘Foolmaker’ is pure Memphis Soul while ‘Your Red Wagon’ grooves with a jazzy Hammond organ. Don Gibson’s ‘Who Cares’ has a late 1950’s/early 1960’s Country Pop feel. And although it seems like this amazing musical showcase the lyrics are all up-to-date and contemporary and to the point: sentimental when necessary, cynic where required. These artists fit each other like a glove being both great vocalists … and they’re obviously having fun! As producer Robbie Fulks put down a great album with Alex Hall engineering the sound (as he did for Pokey LaFarge, J.D. McPherson and The Cactus Blossoms), a list of acclaimed musicians on the side too long to mention.

If you are just into golden era rock ‘n’ roll it might not be your thing. If you can also appreciate the musical (country music) heritage and contemporary observations this is your thing definetely.

‘I Lived A Country Song’ and ‘Boogie-Woogie Country Girl’ are my personal favorites, but I listened to the entire album about ten times in two days: no boring stuff here!