Back in the '80s, Eddie was a Jersey rocker who could reliably fill the Stone Pony long after Bruce Springsteen
had outgrown it. Following a bitter label dispute and a string of self-released recordings, Who the Hell is John Eddie?
is his first major-label-distributed CD in over a decade. During the intervening years, his roots rock has drifted closer to country-rock, the best example of which is "Let Me Down Hard," though echoes of Springsteen can still be heard on a few songs, such as "Everything." These songs are fine, if a bit generic, but they're better than Eddies attempts at humor, which represent nearly half the album. "Low Life," for example, is closer to Jeff Foxworthy
territory than the Randy Newman
satire to which it aspires. And "Forty" is worse: an older guys lament that doubles as an insult to his even older friends
. Clearly, Eddies taken some hard knocks--the album's title comes from the sort of drunken heckler hes faced many times during his down years--but an overblown, self-pitying response like "Play Some Skynyrd" offers perhaps too clear an answer: Hes a competent club rocker who splits his time between mugging for his audience and mocking it. --Keith Moerer