Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Best Albums You Never Heard

By Kurt Torster

John Eddie - John Eddie (1986)

A product of the incredibly vibrant Jersey Shore scene of the 70s/80s, it’s a scene that produced some of my favorite acts...many of which I still listen to this day including Bon Jovi, The Hooters, Southside Johnny, Glen Burtnick and of course, Bruce Springsteen. John Eddie could be described somewhat of an artist that combined all those elements into one “superstar in waiting” package that somehow never was meant to be.

From seeing him live many times I know he had the goods, as his front man skills were about as honest and true as I’ve ever seen. For the album, produced by Bill Drescher, he surrounded himself with talent like Nils Lofgren, Max Weinberg and Mike Landau .

This relative failure couldn’t be because of the songs, which are all quite Springsteen-like in their approach and come from a lyrical storytelling place that only Jersey could produce. Although “Jungle Boy” was a minor top 40 hit, it was songs like the straight up arena rock of “Dream House”, the epic pleading of “Please Jodi” (which would have been massive in the hands of Bon Jovi) or the crashing hard rock riffs of “Waste Me” that bring me back to this set time and again.

My favorite song here, depending on the day (ask me tomorrow and I might answer different), is “Hide Out,” which hammers home the pain of being on the wrong end of a cheating lover better than just about any song of the decade and is still laying there waiting for someone in Nashville to discover it and turn it into the hit it deserves.

John would go on to release about a half-dozen albums and EPs over the years and is still a fixture of the south Jersey music scene. He’s also written a handful of hits for artists in Nashville including Kid Rock. You cannot go wrong with any of his efforts, but this debut still tweaks the right spots in my heart and brings me back to one of the best times of my life.