Sunday, 17 July 2016

"Life For The Taking" by EDDIE MONEY (2013 Rock Candy ‘Remastered & Reloaded’ CD Reissue) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...Can't Keep A Good Man Down..."

Ex New York City Cop and raspy vocalist EDDIE MONEY produced a slew of albums for Columbia Records (CBS in the UK) between 1978 and 1992. But his reputation as one the great Ian Hunter Rock 'n' Roller-types rests on his first four albums - which America's 'Rock Candy Records' have chosen to reissue in 2013 as 'Collector's Editions Remastered & Reloaded'.

I bought the vinyl LPs at the time and loved every good time minute of them - in fact I worked with a band in Dublin called 'Rogue Angel' who used to cover several of his tunes in their brill residency at Toner's Bar in Baggot Street (great memories). But frankly the quality of Money's songs began to taper off by his third platter "Playing For Keeps" in August 1980 and "No Control" in July 1982 wasn't a whole lot better. For me there's only ever been his rattling "Eddie Money" debut from late 1977 and this - it's brilliant and upbeat follow-up "Life For The Taking" released Stateside in January 1979. You 'can't keep a good man down' as they say - so here are the lifelike details...

USA released January 2013 - "Life For The Taking" by EDDIE MONEY on Rock Candy Records CANDY173 (Barcode 5055300356574) is a straightforward Remaster of the 1978 US LP with upgraded booklet and plays out as follows (40:41 minutes):

1. Life For The Taking
2. Can't Keep A Good Man Down
3. Nightmare
4. Gimme Some Water
5. Rock And Roll The Place
6. Maybe I'm A Fool [Side 2]
7. Love The Way You Love Me
8. Maureen
9. Nobody
10. Call On Me
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 2nd studio album "Life For The Taking" - released January 1979 in the USA on Columbia JC 35598 and March 1978 in the UK on CBS Records S CBS 83159. Produced by BRUCE BOTNIK (of The Doors fame) and Recorded/Engineered by ANDY JOHNS - it peaked at No. 17 on the US LP charts (didn't chart UK).

Musicians:
EDDIE MONEY - Lead Vocals, Piano and Harmonica
JIMMY LYON - Guitar
DAVID LINDLEY - Guitar on "Gimme Some Water"
LLOYD CHIATE and JOHN WHITNEY - Guitars on "Maybe I'm A Fool"
ALAN PASQUA and NICKY HOPKINS - Piano
GREGORY PHILLINGANES - Piano on "Maybe I'm A Fool"
JESSIE BRADMAN - Piano on "Rock And Roll The Place"
RANDY NICHOLS - Organ on "Rock And Roll The Place"
TOM SCOTT - Horns
LONNIE TURNER - Bass
TIM SHERIDAN - Bass on "Rock And Roll The Place"
GARY MALLABER - Drums
DAVE DANZA - Drums on "Rock And Roll The Place"

The 12-page booklet is pretty to look at - live photos from the period - repro's of Japanese and US singles, picture discs and new liner notes from HOWARD JOHNSON which include recent interviews with Eddie about that heady time (his debut had peaked at No. 39 but this album went Top 20 eventually peaking at No. 17 and lasting an impressive 26 weeks on the charts). Fans will know that only a couple of tracks from "Life For The Taking" have been available on a 'Greatest Hits' set as remasters - this is the first time the entire album has been done (ditto for the other three). There are no lyrics and its hugely disappointing that there isn't 'anything' extra but at least the Audio makes up for those shortcomings...

Experienced Audio Engineer JON ASTLEY (The Who, Pete Townshend, Tears For Fears, The Boomtown Rats, Bad Company and more) has handled the 24-bit Digital Remaster from original tapes at 'Close To The Edge' Mastering in Twickenham, England - and this sucker 'rocks' for all the right reasons. How good is it to hear songs like "Can't Keep A Good Man Down" and "Love The Way You Love Me" sound this good...

The album opens with the slow and weary-from-losing "Life For The Taking" - an Eddie Money original about his harsh upbringing in the big choke. Instant rush hits you with the fantastic 'rawk' of "Can't Keep A Good Man Down" - a song Money co-wrote with Dan Alexander of The Rockets and Chris Solsberg. This 'made some plans myself' thing kicks like a mule and that Jimmy Lyon Guitar solo roars out of your speakers ready to trample all over your apartment’s Feng Shui placements. The preposterously catchy "Nightmare" is a co-write Jimmy Lyon and features a riff many rock bands would nobble a close relative for. Upbeat riffage continues with Money's "Gimme Some Water" where our hero takes of guns and dead men on the Mexican Border (not that border rhymes with water you understand). Like a call to arms 'everybody' "Rock And Roll The Place" is a great Saturday Night booze and bands rocker and brings back great memories of doing just that in 1979.

After all the men-in-tight trousers Rock of the Side 1 - the flip-side opens with a disconcerting "Maybe I'm A Fool" - a stab at Rock-Soul that aims its Saxophone and Lush Strings firmly at the crossover Top 20 without really convincing either (arranged by Albhey Galuten). Things instantly improve with "Love The Way You Love Me" - a joyful Rock romp that actually has Soul in it - the Remaster lifting up that great solo. We enter Southside Johnny & The Asbury Dukes territory with the Tamla Motown bop of "Maureen" while its finishes with a wicked one-two sucker punch - a Funky "Nobody" and the big pleader ballad "Call On Me" where Eddie wants his girl to give him a tinkle on the blower when she's tired and feeling weak (any other time she can bugger off).

"Life For The Taking" only consolidated the strides Money made on his "Eddie Money" debut LP after years in the Rock 'n' Roll wilderness (he'd been gigging since 1974). Despite the lack of extras and that greedy full-price tag - this is a stone 5-star CD remaster and I recommend you 'Rock and Roll' your place with it right soon...

The January 2013 'Rock Candy Records' CD Remasters for EDDIE MONEY are:

1. Eddie Money (November 1977 debut LP) - Rock Candy CANDY172 (Barcode 5055300356567)
2. Life For The Taking (January 1979 2nd LP) - Rock Candy CANDY173 (Barcode 5055300356574)
3. Playing For Keeps (August 1980 3rd LP) - Rock Candy CANDY174 (Barcode 5055300356581)
4. No Control (July 1982 4th LP) - Rock Candy CANDY175 (Barcode 5055300356598)

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