Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Robbie Fulks - Happy

Freak show that he was, it's hard to dispute the musical legacy of Michael Jackson. I can't say that I throw Ben or Off The Wall on with much regularity, but I'm a sucker for most of the Jackson 5 ouvre. While I'm dropping caveats, I can't say that Robbie Fulks would be the first guy I'd pick to hear interpreting the MJ catalog either. On the other hand, his cover of the Cher superhit Believe (complete with Dave Smalley-esque faux-auto tune vocal hook) is absolutely stellar and he sure knows his way around a hook, so here we are.

Initially, I wondered how Fulks would approach the songs. A wacky tact would get old pretty quickly, and while Robbie has a great voice, I'm not sure he could pull off playing the standards card. For the most part he doesn't. All fourteen of the tracks are definitely approached with respect for the song, but if it takes reworking Billie Jean as a brooding murder ballad or Going Back To Indiana as a bluegrass number, Robbie Fulks has no qualms going there. Whether or not you do is up to you, but the wiser JS-NYC fan would do well to pick up happy here.


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