Riff Raff continued Edmunds' collaboration with Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne; Lynne produced six tracks on the albums, and wrote three of the songs as well. However, compared to the pair's success with Information (which hit #51 on the Billboard 200 album chart and spawned a top-40 single in "Slipping Away"), Riff Raff was a commercial flop. The album made it to only #140, and the single "Something About You" failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 at all (although it did hit #18 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart).
Riff Raff was the last time Edmunds and Lynne would collaborate on record; meanwhile, Edmunds wouldn't make another studio album for six years (although he would release a live album in the interim).
The majority of the tracks on Riff Raff are originals by Lynne, Edmunds, and bandmember John David. The most notable cover is the aforementioned "Something About You", originally a top-20 hit for the Four Tops in 1965.