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Inspired And Faithful: Wreckless Eric And Amy Rigby’s Two-Way Family Favorites

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Must say I wasn’t expecting an all-covers album from this most dynamic duo, especially following a double A-sided seven-inch containing two stunning originals (namely, “Bobblehead Doll” and “Teflon Wok”).  What’s even more surprising are some of the choices here.  The program includes songs by Tom Petty, the Byrds, the Who, the Beach Boys, a bit of Four Seasons and Abba (yes Abba), alongside material from lesser knowns such as The Flamin’ Groovies, P.F.  Sloan, Smokie, and Eric’s old labelmates, Plummet Airlines.

Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” leads it all off very strongly and the pair stay focused throughout, trading lead vocals pretty much song by song and helping each other out on the choruses.  Rigby’s Danelectro 12 string sparkles above Eric’s driving bass and his various forms of “trickery” (as it says in the credits), all of it adding up to a perfect combo of sugar ‘n spice.  Their rendition of P.F. Sloan’s “I Get Out of Breath” is particularly spirited, and the Groovies neo-merseybeat classic, “You Tore Me Down,” long a staple of Rigby’s live repertoire, is transformed into something positively holy.  Smokie’s long forgotten tongue-in-cheek hit, “Living Next Door To Alice” gets an almost “River Deep” Spector-ish production and ends up downright eerie.

What comes across throughout the set is a very sincere and serious approach to these songs (most notably on Abba’s “Fernando” the lyrics of which I must confess I never paid attention to before).

A fine playlist of inspired interpretations, unique enough to add something, yet faithful enough to remain in tribute to the originals.  Well worth tuning in.