This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
WHO HE IS: Chicago singer-guitarist Robbie Fulks follows in the tradition of great songwriters like Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Randy Newman and Elvis Costello, using his hummable melodies as the spoonful of sugar to help his smart, often acerbic lyrics go down smooth.
WHAT THIS IS: 13 Hillbilly Giants, his sixth release and second in less than a year, is just what it says — a collection of classic, if lesser-known Americana tunes reproduced here with back-porch authenticity, enthusiasm and simplicity (the latter thanks to the under-production of long-time collaborator Steve Albini).
HIGHLIGHTS: The bittersweet Cocktails, along with the zippy I Want to be Mama’d and Knot Hole, perfectly illustrate Fulks’ ability to balance hilarity and heartbreak, while Burn on Love Fire smoulders like an old Roy Orbison track and Lotta Lotta Women is a rollicking rockabilly raveup.
C&W CRED: With tracks by Jimmy Arnold, Bill Anderson, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, this disc is the real deal.
LAST WORDS: If there’s any justice, 13 will be Fulks’ lucky number.