Album Review

Robbie Fulks - The Very Best of Robbie Fulks

Robbie Fulks - The Very Best Of Robbie Fulks

By all accounts, Robbie Fulks' major-label bid was a misadventure for all concerned. While negotiating a release from Geffen and likely returning to the Bloodshot fold, he has delivered this curio independently. The title is an in-joke; the disc is composed completely of previously unreleased songs, though some of them will be familiar to those who've seen Fulks live. In the liner notes, Fulks smirks that these 14 cuts represent "the cream of the last ten years of my exciting and multidimensional recording career," adding that "the theme is Fun, yours and mine." Mostly, The Very Best Of Robbie Fulks delivers on that latter promise. If these are largely lightweight efforts, there is much here to please fans who prefer Fulks' pre-Geffen sound. (It helps that a few of these songs feature the great Skeletons as the backing band.) "Parallel Bars", a duet with Kelly Willis, is a clever bit of wordplay; "White Man's Bourbon" is cheerfully offensive; and "That Bangle Girl" is a wise-guy poppy paean to Susanna Hoffs (he's so devoted to her that he even "sat through her movie"). Then there's "Roots Rock Weirdos", a pretty hilarious, if overdrawn, send-up of...well, probably a pretty sizable share of Fulks' own fans. All this plus, as a bonus track, if it can be called that: a completely straight-faced version of "Leaving On A Jet Plane".