100 for 2000 – #55. Amy Rigby – Little Fugitive

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2005 – #5. Amy Rigby – Little Fugitives
(Signature Sounds)

Geez. 2005 in retrospect was quite the adult contemporary year! The only other person I knew who liked Amy Rigby was my friend Sam, who told me that this album, Little Fugitives, was a bit too adult contemporary for her.

Although there is little that is as studied or well produced as Ben Folds, Josh Rouse, Aimee Mann, etc. This is a lo fi, indie record. It’s just one made by a mid 40s single mother. If anything, I like it more than Til the Wheels Fall Off or Diary Of a Mod Housewife. And since there was almost nothing that changed in her approach, her voice, her sound or anything like that, it basically comes down to the songs.

Like Rasputin, the opener, is the best thing on here. As cool as early Lou Reed, she sings of Rasputin, the crazy Russian monk who could not be killed, and compares it to her love life where she keeps coming back. It’s fun, it’s cool and it sets the stage for a great record.

Another real highlight is Dancing With Joey Ramone. A garage rock-ish ode to the late singer (who died in 2001), it’s a rock ‘n’ roll daydream of the highest standard. Joey would be proud. If you love the Ramones, you would love this.

Needy Men sounds like a 50s TV theme, but dissects the kind of men that just want a new mother, with her startling wit and a cheesy smile. It’s Not Safe plays on the urgent guilt of having hurt someone. I Don’t Want To Talk About Love No More is another garage/blues influenced track that pleads for less talk, more action.

It’s her inescapable wit and her smarts that really make this album, and her career as an artist. She’s fallen in and out of love, and she gives it all back to us with Woody Allen eye for the funny and the sweet.

Which is why it’s so great that she has found happiness and from left field. Rigby, with her power pop background and US roots, met Wreckless Eric, the Stiff records stalwart who was living in France. I love both artists, and followed their lives in songs. They fell in love and got married, and released their first album as a duo in 2008.

So two of the biggest losers in love found eachother. This makes me so happy. Happy that Wreckless Eric did go the whole wide world to find her. And that if there’s hope for Amy Rigby, there is hope for everyone.

(again, no videos)

100 for 2000 – #39. Amy Rigby – Til the Wheels Fall Off

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2003 – #9. Amy Rigby – Til the Wheels Fall Off
(Spit & Polish)

I loved a whole bunch of country-ish female singer songwriters around this time. Lucinda Williams, Laura Cantrell etc. But I’ll distill it down to one, because one rose above the pack. Amy Rigby’s Til the Wheels Fall Off.

I have since learnt her history. She was married to Will Rigby of the DBs, and made an acclaimed solo album called Diary Of a Mod Housewife (it’s great). But I found her on this record, after Laura Cantrell covered her song Don’t Break the Heart.

My insatiable appetite for music at this time led me to her newest album, without a note heard. She is a fiery, female, funny Elvis Costello. The songs are interesting composition wise, but her lyrics are always clever, and she’s always got her heart out.

Another reason I love this record on a personal level was it let me dwell in the confusion of relationships and love. It seems being a 22 year old boy and being a 44 year old single mother had a lot in common. The other sex was still confusing.

It’s those batch of, I guess I can call them, WTF songs that really hit home. It opens with Why Do I? – a largely spot on assessment on not being comfortable when I should be, not being happy when things are going great. Even better is Shopping Around, about how the generation before us never met as many people as we did – no wonder it was easier for them to choose someone.

There’s The Deal – a doomed agreement between two lovers to leave the baggage out of it, done as a note perfect Bacharach pastiche. O’Hare compares the wasting time of circling planes to the long drawn out waits between courtships.

Then there’s the rocking Are We Ever Going To Have Sex Again? Ok, so maybe not my life, but a great song about the passion going out, done with such wit that it is still a mainstay in Rigby’s sets today.

The music is pretty great. Bit of rockabilly, a bit of garage rock keyboards, plenty of cool guitar work. It might not be everyone’s sound, this sort of gritty, rootsy rock. But by damn it sure is my sound.

Amy Rigby is having fun on this record, while still talking about big subjects. Sometimes you just sit back and think of your problems and just throw your arms in the air, laugh, and say, this world is mad. And that’s what this record is good for.

(And then the next record was even better…)