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Thursday, 22 May 2014
"A Wizard, A True Star" by TODD RUNDGREN (2014 Edsel Deluxe Edition Book Pack Reissue/Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...
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after the double-album artistic high of "Something/Anything?" in
March 1972 – in the eyes of most fans June 1973’s single LP "A Wizard, A
True Star" only cemented Rundgren’s genius even more. It was psychedelic,
fun, melodic and more adventurous than the double that preceded it – and it was
cool too. It’s hardly surprising therefore that Edsel have chosen it as one of
many Todd Rundgren albums worth celebrating with a packaging (book pack) upgrade.
Here are the Zen Archer details…
released 19 May 2014 (27 May in the USA) - "A Wizard, A true Star" by TODD RUNDGREN on Edsel EDSA 5028 (Barcode
740155502836) is a single CD reissue of their October 2011 Expanded Version - only this time it’s in a limited edition Hardback Book cover
Never Never Land
Tic Tic Tic It Wears Off
You Need Your Head
Rock And Roll Pussy
You Don’t Have To Camp Around
Just Another Onion Head - Da Da Dali
When The Shit Hits The Fan - Sunset Blvd.
La Feel Internacionale
Sometimes I Don’t Know What To Feel [Side 2]
Does Anybody Love You
Medley: (a) I’m So Proud (b) Ooh Baby Baby (c) La La Means I Love You (d) Cool
Jerk [Impressions, Miracles, Delfonics and The Capitols]
Hungry For Love
I Don’t Want To Tie You Down
Is It My Name?
Just One Victory
1 to 19 are the vinyl album “A Wizard, A True Star” – released June 1973 in the
USA on Bearsville BR 2133 and in the UK on Bearsville K 45513.
attached 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. The gatefold sleeve to the Bearsville vinyl album is here – as
is the lyric insert that came with original copies. Unfortunately the barely
legible hand-written details and lyrics on that page insert are now shrunk –
and even more unreadable. The hard card case bound book has a details sticker
on the outer shrink-wrap that easily peels off (if you want to attach it to the
is no new remaster that I can hear – this is the Edsel October 2011 version -
that in itself was a PETER RYNSTON UK master using the 1993 American Rhino
remasters. Don’t get me wrong – the sound is superb – but the only real upgrade
here is the packaging - which is a rather lovely thing to behold…
and playing every instrument whilst being (admittedly) stoned out of his tiny
fuzzed-up mind – “Wizard’s” various 19 tracks sound like a splurge – but a good
one at that. “Zen Archer”, “Le Feel Internacionale”, “Sometimes I Don’t Know
What To Feel”, “I Don’t Want To Tie You Down” and the fabulous upbeat glory to
“Just One Victory” – it’s all so melodic and trippy cool. Tracks like “You
Don’t Have To Camp Around” and “Rock And Roll Pussy” with their one-minute
madness can admittedly irritate and the four-cover-versions medley of 10
minutes may overstay its welcome somewhat especially when it gets into the mad
“Cool Jerk” end piece (David Sanborn, Mike & Randy Brecker guest on Horns)
- but the melodies are all gorgeous. And at a playing time of 56 minutes – the
original vinyl LP was always a compromise as a listening experience – so the
remaster alters all of that – and so much for the better. The “...gimme gimme
gimme...” piano and guitar of “Hungry For Love” segues into the gorgeous piano
warmth of “I Don’t Want To Let You Down” – one of the albums true masterpieces
of melody. It ends on a song that is somehow now synonymous with Rundgren - the
anthemic hope of “Just One Victory” – a tune that would melt the hardest of
hearts – especially in a live setting.
would release the massively disappointing double album “Todd” next in May 1974
- but 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”.
Wizard, A True Star" won't be everyone's cup of Darjeeling for sure and some
may feel that in 2015 it's rather dated now. But for me this is a very cool
reissue indeed – and from here its jump back Jack to
"Something/Anything?" for more of the Toddster's glory daze…