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Greatest Stiffs

Wreckless Eric

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Album Review

There's one complaint with Metro's Greatest Stiffs collection — Wreckless Eric's unhinged version of Devo's "Be Stiff," the song that the British indie Stiff made all their second-wave artists record, isn't here. It was the best out of all the versions of "Be Stiff," and it would have been a highlight of his Stiff recordings even if he'd been the only one to cut it there. Apart from that, and maybe the absence of his smashing version of Ian Dury's "Rough Kids," this is a flawless collection of his terrific recordings for Stiff, drawing highlights from those three full-length albums, including songs that haven't been easily available on CD. And while Wreckless' incoherent, slurred growl may be an acquired taste, it's totally rock & roll, and the best early songs here — "Whole Wide World," "Reconnez Cherie," "Semaphore Signals," "Take the Cash (K.A.S.H.)," among others — are wild, terrific rock & roll, while the songs toward the end of the record prove that he's a fine pop songwriter as well. Wreckless Eric may be a cult act, but this record proves why he has a cult.

Biography

Born: May, 1954 in Newhaven, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Wreckless Eric gained notoriety as part of Stiff Records' highly eccentric roster of punk and new wave artists during the late '70s. With his whiny, slurred cockney voice, Eric couldn't carry a tune, but that didn't prevent him from being an enjoyable, if limited, rock & roller. With his early Stiff singles "Whole Wide World," "Semaphore Signals," and "Take the Cash (K.A.S.H.)," Eric bashed out a series of ragged, chaotic, three-chord punk-pop singles driven by his pent-up energy and a knack...
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Greatest Stiffs, Wreckless Eric
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