Sometimes two musicians come together for a project and you wonder why it didn't happen previously. That is definitely the case with the new album Wild! Wild! Wild! by Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis.
It doesn't take long to hear that Lewis carries the spirit that made her brother one of the pioneers of rock and roll. At the beginning of the opening track "Round Too Long," you hear a piano riff that is pure rock and roll, then you hear the lyrics "I'm the sister of a hellraiser." (That would be Jerry Lee Lewis). She goes on to sing that she was drowning in a sea of whiskey when other girls were dreaming of Liverpool. Lewis doesn't just carry the spirit of her brother, but also that of Wanda Jackson as she belts out the lyrics.
Lewis and Fulks switch gears completely for the next track, "I Just Lived a Country Song." This has the feel of an old honky-tonk song - even in the theme of being tired of honky-tonk living. Fulks sings about how his dad only played Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and "all those outlaws." A little bit of the outlaw sound is in this song - particularly in the pedal steel vocals that are reminiscent of George Jones.
When you see the title "Boogie Woogie Country Gal," you might think this is a cover of the Sleepy LaBeef song. It's not, although it has a lot of similarities to LaBeef's songs. The intro goes on for about a minute, and it is so delightful, you think it wouldn't be so bad if this were an instrumental song. It features Lewis hammering out a boogie-woogie rhythm on the piano that is sure to get you moving. The piano is definitely the centerpiece of the song, but in the first instrumental break, the two guitarists go at it pretty furiously. If you heard this song performed live, it's a pretty sure bet that the dance floor would be full.
"Your Red Wagon" is one of those classic duets where the two vocalists take turns with the verses of the song in a sort of good-natured verbal sparring. This song is a bit different than the rest of the songs on the album. The organ gives the song a soulful sound while the rolling bass line adds a bit of blues. The worst part of this song is that it's less than three minutes long and definitely leaves you wanting more.
From sad country songs to old-time rock and roll, this album is enjoyable from beginning to end. Fulks and Lewis work incredibly well together, and this album will leave you hoping that they work together more in the future. Wild! Wild! Wild! (Bloodshot Records) will be available everywhere on Aug. 10.