Like most people outside the US, the name Eddie Rabbitt was mostly familiar to me owing to a song which was played left, right and center since it was first released in the 80’s: “Drivin’ My Life Away”. While I always knew the song note by note, and I admit it is infectious like nothing else, I was of the opinion that its excessive fame was a little unwarranted. However, that song created a strong desire in me to know more about the man who composed it, and I hesitated not a single minute to pick up this compilation when I finally found it after actively searching for it and having learned more about the man himself.
This single CD (first released in 1991) has ten tracks. All of them were Top 20 hits, and several hit the top spot. The first two songs, actually, come from the same album and are two of his signature tunes: “I Love A Rainy Night” and (of course) “Drivin’ My Life Away”. They are a little similar from a structural viewpoint, and I have to say they might be my least favorite songs on the album. But they basically redefine the concept of catchiness, and if you have never listened to either let Mr. Rabbitt himself fill you in:
Terrific. OK, it does not resonate with me the way it does with others, but it is a terrific song. Now, come the third track and you will find a song I actually can not do without: “Gone Too Far”. The melody is superlative, and Eddie’s timing and phrasing couldn’t be better all the way through, and in particular towards the end. I often spin the album just to listen to that song, and the colossal “Rocky Mountain Music”. That is a song I often play to people who know nothing about country as an introduction to the genre. And, you know, while they do not necessarily become fans they always ask, “Hey, can I listen to more songs like that, please?”.
Elsewhere, you have the really big hit “Suspicions” and one imminently hummable song after the other. I especially like “Pour Me Another Tequila”, as the instrumentation recreates the mood of the bar described on the song minutely.
If you were to get stupidly picky you could criticize the length of the album – it is a CD that has just little over half an hour of music. But that would be pointless – simply look at the actual quality of the songs on offer. The case rests there.
As I said, “Gone Too Far” and “Rocky Mountain Music” are two songs I just can’t do without. And the rest of the album holds up more than its own against anything you can pitch at it. I am glad I could find it, and if I ever come across more albums by Mr. Rabbitt I am not passing on them. Because in addition to what I listened to in here I have a few country compilations that include other songs of his like “The Best Years Of My Life”, and I am more than aware that there is much more from where this came from.
Finally, I would like to make a comment on Eddie Rabbitt himself. He was an extraordinary human being, and his songs fully portray him as a truly affable and considerate person, aware of the role somebody who is looked up by others plays out in life. He was actively involved in several charities throughout his short lifetime (he passed away in 1998, aged 56), and he captured the heart and soul of Americans all over his home soil. I felt that was something I had to mention, so that those who are new to him are aware that behind the incredible musician there was a human being that touched others and taught everybody that life can and should be faced with an open heart and a frank smile.
Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes
Do I feel like digging deeper into his catalog after listening to it: Yes