Thursday, 22 May 2014

"Todd" by TODD RUNDGREN - A Review Of His 1974 Double LP on Bearsville Records - Now Reissued On CD In 2014 By Edsel Of The UK In DELUXE BOOK PACKAGING...




TODD RUNDGREN is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00LQKMC6I

"...Join Me Within My Dream..."

Coming after the artistic high of "Something/Anything?" in 1972 and "A Wizard, A True Star" in 1973 - March 1974's 2LP effort "Todd" on Bearsville Records promised so much - but despite its size - delivered precious little. It landed with a huge disappointing thud - and in my mind has stayed there ever since.

UK released 19 May 2014 (27 May in the USA) - Edsel EDSA 5029 (Barcode 7401555022935) is a single CD reissue of their October 2011 Expanded Version of "Todd" - only this time it’s in a case bound hardback book (76:41 minutes). The expanded booklet within has liner notes by Paul Myers from his superb tome "A Wizard, A True Star – Todd Rundgren In The Studio" and is an excellent read. Lyrics are provided – but unfortunately the poster that accompanied the original vinyl double with a massive collage of fan names is AWOL (probably due to licensing reasons).

Five of the 17-songs are meandering instrumentals, two are vaudeville Gilbert & Sullivan pastiches and it ends on a live track (“Sons Of 1984”) that should have been a studio recording. The rest are a very mixed bag – the cod New York Dolls rock of “Heavy Metal Kids” irritates rather than pleases – but “ I Think You Know” and “Do You Ever Learn” are good ballads – but the only real light in the tunnel is the gorgeous "A Dream Goes On Forever" which hankers back to the glory of the 1972 double "Something/Anything?" It was an obvious choice for a lead off 7” single (May 1974 in the UK on Bearsville K 15515).

It’s not all bad news - the 3 bonus tracks are shockingly good. First up is a 30 June 1971 Live Broadcast for WMMR-FM in the USA – a cover of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles Motown classic “Ooh Baby Baby”. It’s properly gorgeous and makes me think of Rundgren’s recent sessions with Daryl Hall on his Live From Daryl’s House Internet broadcasts. It’s followed by two more live cuts from a concert at St. Louis on 9 November 1974. He covers “Do Ya” by The Move - an obscure rocking Jeff Lynne B-side to “California Man” on Harvest Records in 1972.  And he plays a lovely keyboard version of “A Dream Lives On Forever” – complete with a witty intro about hit singles…

Rundgren would regain his crown with November 1974’s “Todd Rundgren’s Utopia” which was an entirely Prog Rock album - and is a masterpiece of the genre in my eyes – especially the astonishing 30-minute Side 2 opus “The Ikon”.

There are 3 releases so far in this Deluxe packaging for May 2014 – “Something/Anything?” and “A Wizard, A True Star” are the other two.

As a double-album - you'd think “Todd” would be ripe for reappraisal - but relistening to it in May 2014 (in this admittedly gorgeous Deluxe Edition Book Pack upgrade) - doesn't change my mind about it. Better to start with the aforementioned two and work towards the dream...

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