Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby – Two-Way Family Favourites

January 01, 1970

Domestic Recordings)




There are few
things more deliciously prismatic than a fine singer-songwriter truly taking on
a well-chosen cover… except this Transatlantic twosome doubling down on the 11
songs of this collection and bringing a sumptuous feast to table. And whether
the song is world famous (like Abba’s biggest single “Fernando” and Brian
Wilson’s Beach Boys gem “In My Room”), overlooked (Tom Petty’s “Walls” and Pete
Townshend’s “Endless Wire”) or obscure (the anthemic CD closer “Silver Shirt”
by ‘70s Brit pub-rockers Plummet Airlines), Wreckless & Rigby refract their
own bright lights through them all to reveal new rainbows of color, tone and
ultimately appeal.


So after a
winning eponymous debut together on their own songs (and one cover), Two-Way Family Favourites furthers this
duo’s creative equation to prove that not only one plus one can equal far more
than two but reveal an even greater than mathematical sum for two times two.
And at the same time make a case for their own masterful writing talents by
showing just how adept they are at the tricky skill of making songs by others
not just work but play anew and, in a fashion, as all but original.


“In My Room”
makes that case by ramping up the drama on the bridge to suggest a more modern
case for refuge that enhances the sweet solitude of Wilson’s original intent,
while the irresistible infectiousness of “Fernando” by Abba (to the point of
irritation for some ears) undergoes an alchemic transformation to become
utterly mesmeric. On “Walls” and the latter-period Byrds song “Ballad of Easy
Rider” they reveal the songs as etched in stone folk classics the equal of the
narcotically swirling snippet of “Loch Lomond” that opens “Scotland Then &
Now” yet seamlessly shift both to electrifying pop-rock in the same takes. And
where “Endless Wire” didn’t quite coalesce on the last Who album, here it
subtly soars to its full and true potential. Plus The Flamin Groovies’ “You
Tore Me Down” and “Silver Shirt” prompt one to start digging for the originals
– an adjunct effect of any great cover.


It’s all wrapped
within a lo-fi scrim of sound with nonetheless near Spector-ian impact in which
guitars shimmer and chime and keyboards waft and bubble to create a seductive
melodic dreamscape. And while Eric’s deep Brit brogue and Rigby’s Americana
alto might seem chalk and cheese at first blush, they entwine into a gorgeously
rough woven yin/yang tapestry of congruence and contrast.


But what
ultimately makes this work like a bounty of charm isn’t just the musicality and
imagination that has also made both perhaps the most ingenious near-cult singer-songwriters
of our day (and their days past), but the rare spirit and sensibility of
genuinely creative and gifted artists. Hence they and their Family Favourites can’t help but become
beloved in our homes and future timeless heirlooms.


Standout Tracks: “Walls,” “Endless Wire,” “In My Room,”
“Silver Shirt” ROB PATTERSON




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