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Music Review: Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby – Two-Way Family Favourites

Wreckless Eric is probably best known for his 1977 break-out hit "Whole Wide World" which has recently seen a rekindling of popularity due to its brilliant use in the Will Ferrell/ Emma Thompson film, Stranger Than Fiction. A veteran of British punk and early (late) Stiff Records he has been rocking the whole wide world for three decades.

Amy Rigby has also had a long musical history performing everything from country to rock to punk in bands of her own creation. amy_rigby_music_reviewA prolific solo artist, her album Diary of a Mod Housewife became a hit in 1996 — although some of us still prefer 2005's Little Fugitive. Honestly, "Dancing With Joey Ramone" will always be one of the greatest punk rock, dead crush, geek girl anthems ever written. I'd stake my black-framed, birth control glasses on it.

Two-Way Family Favourites, the second album Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby have recorded as a duo, is an album of duets featuring musical offerings that span many genres. Together they've taken rock, pop, punk, and folk classics and re-created them. So as not to hurt the feelings of some of my favorite bands, let's just keep this between you and I — in some cases their versions are notably better than the originals. I hate to have to say that, being a fan of classic rock and punk, but it's true.

As the only musicians who appear on the album, they've layered the instrumentation and vocals, rendering an album rich in acoustic melodies and over-lapping vocal harmonies that still maintains a raw pub-rock sound.

There's an acoustic version of Tom Petty's "Walls" that I would recommend to… well — Tom Petty, for one. My second favorite cut on the album, the vocals and guitar, along with the backing harmonies, are amazing. Oddly enough this song was also re-made by Glen Campbell, and well done, as a country single in 2008. It's a song that seems to fit the duo's punk/folk style and Eric's vocal lead gives it a very British, pub-rock feel.

wreckless_eric_music_reviewThe choice to include the song "Silver Shirt" by Plummet Airlines was brilliant. A little known band from Eric's Stiff Records days, this was their only release on the label. Eric does his former mates proud on this cut. The combination of his unique vocal talent and the duo's incredible guitar playing make this song stand out. Their version actually sounds similar to classic Jagger-Richards from the Exile on Main Street era. Very well done.

Personally, my favorite track on this album is an incredible rendition of the Who's 2006 single "Endless Wire", a song that I've always liked, and now, (dare I say it and risk bringing the wrath of fellow Who fans down upon my head?) it has finally been given its due. This version far exceeds the original, just in the vocals alone. Pete Townshend sang it originally — need I say more? Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby have made it the song it should always have been. Still a rock ballad, yet poignant and full of meaning, and it hasn't lost any of its thrust. I'd extend my apologies for my betrayal to my Dead Crush Keith Moon, but I believe he'd be just as pleased as I am to hear this song brought to life — and in a way that gives it new-found rock integrity.

I have to admit that I didn't make the connection between the title and the original when I first looked at the track listing for "Endless Wire". I was thinking of the Gordon Lightfoot song by the same name and how much I had been looking forward to never having to hear it ever again. The first chords struck me immediately; a wave of nostalgia that made me have to stop everything I was doing and sit down to listen, then hit the button and play it again. Even now I find myself turning up the volume when I hear the opening intro.

About A Geek Girl

  • http://etierphotography.blogspot.com/ FCEtier

    Black-framed glasses are hot!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/a-geek-girl A Geek Girl

    Thanks chipparoo. Honestly–they are great birth control too. Absolutely no chance of getting pregnant whilst wearing the dork glasses.

  • alison overton

    Hi! Just want to say I enjoyed reading your insightful review. Thanks for writing and posting! I, too, love “Silver Shirt”. xox

  • http://www.tnbt.co.uk Lindsay Hutton

    Nice one. That would be the Flamin Groovies “You Tore Me Down”… plus don’t miss the hit, “Scotland Then and Now” that crossbreeds “Loch Lomond” with some BCR action. Nobody but these two could pull off that feat.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/a-geek-girl/ A Geek Girl

    Alison, this is a great album and I love that song too. Very much!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/a-geek-girl/ A Geek Girl

    Thanks Lindsay, much appreciated.