Album: Upland Stories
. . .
Alt-country weirdo lifer Robbie Fulks has been making records since the mid-1990s, and I’ll admit that I still haven’t heard half of them, but one of the ones I have heard was 2016’s Upland Stories, which ended up being one of my favorite albums of that year, which utterly surprised me.
Though a lot of records I loved that year surprised me: had you told me at the beginning of the year that my Pazz & Jop ballot would include records by vets like Beyonce, Fulks, Danny Brown & The Monkees, I would have laughed and laughed. Of course, it was hardly the biggest surprise of that year. BTW, have you voted yet? I’ll wait.
Anyways, Upland Stories — produced by Steve Albini, of all people — was chock full of great performances of great songs that got under your skin outta nowhere, most especially “Never Come Home,” the utterly gorgeous “Baby Rocked Her Dolly” and fiddle-driven “Aunt Peg’s New Old Man.”
We came up the hill to meet him
In the dirt patch he was waiting
That was our first look at Aunt
Peg’s new old man
Uncle Hank was seventy five
He lived well and then he died
And none of us had nothing against her
New old man
It’s all good, though: Aunt Peg’s new old man turned out to be a righteous dude: a fine cook, handy in the yard, good with the fiddle, and it was clear that he was going to make Aunt Peg happy in the twilight of her life, all of which Fulks lays out in the hilarious chorus.
She liked just fiddling
Liked his help on the rural route
And the rest didn’t bear thinking about
Aunt Peg’s new old man
I love that chorus, because it’s catchy, poignant and funny in equal measure, and it’s about growing older while still retaining a zest for life. All of which is contained in the line “the rest didn’t bear thinking about,” meaning that it was all they pretty much thought about.
“Aunt Peg’s New Old Man”
“Aunt Peg’s New Old Man” Live on Audiotree, 2016
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