Chicagoan Robbie Fulks and country stalwart Linda Gail Lewis join forces on Wild! Wild! Wild! | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicagoan Robbie Fulks and country stalwart Linda Gail Lewis join forces on Wild! Wild! Wild! 

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click to enlarge Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis

Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis

Andy Goodwin

When most rockabilly artists make comeback albums, they always seem to include at least one song that looks back on the way things were at the dawn of their genre. Carl Perkins probably did this more than anybody, reminding everyone that He Was There When Rock 'n' Roll Started. The title track of Wild! Wild! Wild!, the new Bloodshot release from Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis, continues that tradition, reminiscing on rock’s early days while taking a few potshots at today’s sounds. But Fulks’s snarky sense of humor and Lewis’s charisma save it from being total nostalgia or cliche. For those who need an introduction, Fulks has been writing and performing traditional country music nonstop since he came to Chicago in 1983. Linda Gail Lewis’s career goes back further; the sister of country/rockabilly titan Jerry Lee Lewis, she started releasing her own music in the 1960s, and through the decades she’s put out a ton of great records. She was still performing regularly when Fulks approached her, and based on the one show Fulks and Lewis played at the Hideout two years ago, their current collaboration is a must-see. This album is split evenly between “hillbilly boogies” and honky-tonk country. Even though Fulks is featured prominently as a vocalist, there’s plenty of Lewis to go around. At least two of these numbers, “Memphis Never Falls From Style” and “It Came From the South,” pay open tribute to the mecca of roots music. Even then, there’s an irreverent tone that keeps it from being too stuffy. Kudos to Fulks for bringing this legend back to the light, and to Lewis for proving that there was more than one Ferriday Fireball in the family.   v

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