Wreckless Eric came up with the Stiff and alt-wave crew: Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, Rachel Sweet, you know the story. Amy Rigby has been an NYC fixture since about the same period, and both have a love for folk-country blent with psychedelia and various odd slants, some indefinable. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the pair's Two-way Family Favorites is not all that far from Vetiver's covers-au-go-go of 2008, Thing of the Past (here): idiosyncratic, rootsy, peripherally weird, and storm cellar tasty, strange winds blowing in through cross-barred planks.
The source of the selected cuts is eclectic, ranging from Abba to P.F. Sloan to Tom Petty but ends up quite harmonic. Along the way, Pete Townshend's Endless Wire seems wrought by Roger McGuinn while McGuinn's "Ballad of Easy Rider" takes on a more reverential Bob Dylan cast—were Zimmerman, that is, to adopt a dash of Cockney. Between the two players and a porta-studio, the tracks manage to sound as though fleshed by an informal group meeting in the back room of a long barn for a lazy and sometimes emphatic evening. The version of Beach Boys' In My Room, on the other hand, seems as though a lost track from The Electric Prunes.
There's an artful artlessness throughout that's hard to pass up. Living Next Door to Alice almost drowns the old Chinnichap composition, a trait in itself charming, kinda like Radiohead deconstructing Ray Davies with Sonny & Cher looking on, everyone barbled out at the Whiskey. It's obvious Eric and Rigby had a great time recording everything, and even the ghost of Nico ambles around with a tanpura-ish harmonium droning in various cuts, though nary a threepenny opera anywhere, just lysergic cowboys, rainbow sunsets, loco weed weekends, and mom's chicken, um, pot pie. Dig in, grin, and sing the old refrains, friends and neighbors, and, hey, are the patterns on the wallpaper starting to spin, or is it just me?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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