Not so long ago, yours truly was part of a comedy troupe known as The Last Known Foto Group. We had an Internet radio show featured at GiveMeTalk.com (don’t go looking for it now; the joint folded a while back and last time I looked, typing that address in took you to a porno site) called Big Nuts! One of our episodes was entitled “The Show Me The Eddie Money Revue”. In it, a recurring character named Doane (last name alternated between Philips and Swanson) got a crack at recording his very own album. But instead of recording his own songs about Bondo (Doane was a freakish Bondo artiste), he wanted to “become” Eddie Money and do nothing but Eddie Money songs. His managers and agents told him no way in hell was that going to happen, but during Doane’s big live premiere, he turned into Eddie Money, even fooling Meat Loaf, who was also sharing the bill that fateful night. Unfortunately for Doane, the crowd noticed the impostor and canned his ass.
I tell you this story because the skit was conceived from a love of Mr. Money and his music, not out of disrespect. Granted, we weren’t Meat Loaf fans, so tossing him in there as Eddie’s opening act was good enough. It just seemed that the time was right for an Eddie Money comeback. The fact of the matter is that Money never vanished. He made a number of albums throughout the Nineties. However, thanks to the old regime being taken over by grunge, swing-lite, and ultimately bubblegum, Eddie’s hitmaking days seemed a thing of the past. Well thanks to the good folks at Columbia and Legacy Records, The Best of Eddie Money has recently been issued. What can I tell ya? Money still fucking rocks.
The only thing about this compilation and its generous helping of 16 tracks is that none of Eddie’s ’90s albums are featured. Maybe that’s because of a change in labels, but it still makes it look like Eddie’s history ended in 1989. Ah well. You can’t often have it all in these “best of” situations, but the truth is that The Best of Eddie Money is a great collection, indeed. Only a couple of times does the damn thing sputter, and even then it doesn’t miss by much.
The track list is not chronological here. However, that’s not a detriment to the listening enjoyment. Sometimes a collection is better suited if it goes year by year in the order that its songs were released, and other times a disc such as this benefits from being allowed to jump back and forth through time. But let’s face it, the first quarter of this album, represented by the hits “Two Tickets to Paradise”, “Shakin'”, “Take Me Home Tonight”, and “Wanna Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star”, is tough to beat. It’s true that “Wanna Be” wasn’t even released as a single, but it did get played on the radio a ton when Eddie’s debut LP was issued, and it stands as one of his best songs ever. And honestly, “Take Me Home Tonight” has aged gracefully, even if I got sick of the damn thing when it was first released back in ’86.
After that killer batch of tunes, The Best of Eddie Money hits a few spots that I wasn’t overly familiar with. I have to admit that I think “Walk On Water” from Nothing To Lose isn’t very good at all. It sounds like one of those hellish productions from the late ’80s, with plenty of synth, processed drums, and a production job that would have made Phil Collins proud. However, things get back into gear with the cool reggae of “Running Back”, the rockin’ “Think I’m in Love”, and the undeniably classic “Maybe I’m a Fool”. The latter tune is Eddie’s funky stab at disco credibility, and certainly holds up great after all these years with its Studio 54 strings and slick rhythm guitar work.
The hardcore Eddie Money collectors haven’t been overlooked as live versions of “Rock and Roll the Place” and “No Control” are included here, taken from a couple of promo Eps (one known as Givin’ It Up). Eddie’s live sound on these cuts is as tough as his studio sound, his band packed with energy and attitude. Of course, Money’s super-smash “Baby Hold On” is pumped into the middle of the disc here, and it still sounds great coming over any set of speakers. Lots of funky soul still embedded into the notes of that song.
The rest of the collection includes another ’80s-drenched tune, “We Should Be Sleeping” that fortunately sounds better than “Walk on Water”, the stately “Trinidad” which features some great guitar hooks, the blue eyed soul of “I Wanna Go Back”, the groovy “Where’s the Party” from Eddie’s 1983 album of same name, and “Peace in Our Time”. I’m not a big fan of the last tune, but hey, it’s tough to complain when this disc features so many great songs. So I won’t complain and will just leave it at that.
The Best of Eddie Money is a damned fine collection of songs that should easily suit the casual and longtime fan. If nothing else, it will certainly whet your appetite for more of Money’s music and create the need to explore and discover the rest of the man’s catalog. To some, Eddie Money might be a joke, or not worthy of even a mention, but to me the guy still rocks and still makes a lot of insanely inspiring faces when he belts out his tunes. If you want to hear a legend and some of the great music that got him there, then this is the album for you.