"I like your albums, but they just don't compare to your live show." This is what Eddie from Ohio's audiences have been telling them for years, they admit, and it's not hard to understand why by listening to this double live album. The group's music, propelled by percussionist Eddie Hartness, proves energetic and kinetic onstage in a way it doesn't without an audience cheering along. Songs that seem slight in terms of musical and lyrical content turn out to be crowd pleasers. Mildly amusing novelties become laugh-out-loud funny. And by mixing in covers of everything from Lyle Lovett's "If I Had a Boat" to the Grateful Dead warhorse "I Know You Rider"/"Turn On Your Lovelight," the group makes use of material that is more clever and rocking than their own. Michael Clem's novelty songs (including three new ones: "Jack Can't Cook," "Not Enough Gold in the World," and "Smoke") come off better onstage than Robbie Schaefer's more earnest ones. But if Hartness is the secret weapon, the best all-around performer is the much-improved (and recently married) singer, Julie Murphy Wells, who often betters her studio versions of the songs. A group like this makes its money on the road, not on records, and Portable EFO Show will be a terrific enticement to listeners to go out and see them in person.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2