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Todd Rundgren/Utopia - Massive Expanded Catalogue Reissue

Posted by Alan

Click on the following links for all the track details and to pre-order:

1) Todd Rundgren - Runt (Two Versions) / The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren...plus (2CD)

First album “Runt” (1970), features the hit pop single “We Gotta Get You A Woman” as well as the nine-minute rock epic “Birthday Carol”. The Band’s Levon Helm and Rick Danko play on “Once Burned”, while “There Are No Words” hints at future experimentation. This edition features for the first time ever on CD, all the different mixes, performances and exclusive songs from the November 1970 mis-pressing of the album. The songs “Say No More” and “Baby Let’s Swing” (complete version) appear nowhere else. “The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren” (1971) features more of Todd’s Laura Nyro-inspired soul/pop ballads, and another hit in “Long Flowing Robe”. The four bonus tracks are all radio performances from this era. The package contains ephemera and rare photos, all the lyrics, and extensive notes by Paul Myers, extracted from his recent definitive book on Todd Rundgren “A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio”.

2) Todd Rundgren - Something/Anything? ...Plus (2CD)
The double LP “Something/Anything?” (1972) is regarded as Rundgren’s pop masterpiece, and was recently compared to Paul McCartney’s early solo work by Mojo. Todd plays all the instruments himself on the first three sides of the original album, kicking off with his best-known hit “I Saw The Light”, an inclusion on many “Guilty Pleasure”-type compilations, as well as the oft-covered “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference”. Perennial concert favourite, the heavy metal anthem “Black Maria” also features. By contrast, the fourth side included six live-in-the-studio performances with large ensembles, and featured the hit re-working of The Nazz’s ”Hello It’s Me”, the first song Rundgren ever wrote. The bonus tracks are a demo of “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” and a two-minute compilation of six multi-tracked a cappella radio commercials which Todd recorded for radio ads. The package contains ephemera and rare photos, all the lyrics, and extensive notes by Paul Myers, extracted from his recent definitive book on Todd Rundgren “A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio”.

3) Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star/Todd (...Plus) (2CD)

“A Wizard, A True Star” (1973) is Rundgren’s psychedelic masterpiece. By his own admission written and recorded under the influences of psychedelic drugs, the album features two LP side-long streams of consciousness, all segued together. The twelve tracks on the original side one veer from electronic fanfares to heavy metal to pop ballads to jazz rock to vaudeville, and even take in a cover of “Never Never Land” (from Disney’s “Peter Pan”). Side two is more soulful, including the classic “Sometimes I Don’t Know What To Feel” and the 10-minute soul medley. This features songs by Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson and Thom Bell, and contributions from Mike and Randy Brecker. The album closer is Todd’s anthem “Just One Victory”, still the final song at every Rundgren concert to this day. Two LP set “Todd” (1974) explored synthesizer experimentation more on extraordinary tracks like “The Spark Of Life”, but still found room for hit single “A Dream Goes On Forever”, guitar rock ballad “The Last Ride”, metal anthem “Heavy Metal Kids”, novelty song “An Elpee’s Worth Of Toons” and a cover of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song”! The bonus tracks are live performances of “Ooh Baby Baby” from 1971 and “A Dream Goes On Forever” and a cover of The Move’s “Do Ya” from 1975. The package contains ephemera and rare photos, all the lyrics, and extensive notes by Paul Myers, extracted from his recent definitive book on Todd Rundgren “A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio”

4) Todd Rundgren - Initiation/Faithful...Plus (2CD)

When it was issued in 1975, at 68 minutes, “Initiation” was the longest album ever on one piece of vinyl. It starts with Todd’s classic Philly soul single “Real Man” and continues with the a cappella “Born To Synthesize”, heavily sampled for Simian Mobile Disco’s “Synthesize”. Soul ballad “Fair Warning” features Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer and Dan Hartman, while the title track features an amazing solo from sax legend David Sanborn. The entirety of side two was taken up with the 36 minute synthesizer extravaganza “A Treatise On Cosmic Fire”, which broke new ground in its use of technology for creating music. It also marked the first appearance of future Utopia keyboard player Roger Powell. On “Faithful” (1976) Todd pays homage to the artists and songs that influenced him when he turned professional in 1966 at the age of 18. Starting appropriately with The Yardbirds’ “Happening Ten Years Time Ago” (Jeff Beck’s guitar style was big influence), Todd continues
with the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and two John Lennon Beatles songs, all originally issued in 1966. And these are not cover versions, they are note- and sound-perfect faithful reproductions. Side two of “Faithful” featured six new Rundgren originals, including perhaps his best Philly soul ballad “The Verb ‘To Love’”, and two more perennial concert favourites in “Cliché” and “Love Of The Common Man”.The bonus track is a live Utopia recording of The Nazz’s “Open My Eyes”. The package contains ephemera and rare photos, all the lyrics, and extensive notes by Paul Myers, extracted from his recent definitive
book on Todd Rundgren “A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio”.

5) Utopia - Ra/Oops! Wrong Planet (2CD)

Rundgren started the band Utopia in 1974 to run concurrently with his solo career. Whilst using many of the same musicians, the band was a more democratic affair. The first two albums “Todd Rundgren’s Utopia” (1974) and “Another Live” (1975) will be issued later in Edsel’s reissue programme. By mid-1976, when they appeared on the bill at The Rolling Stones’ Knebworth Concert, Utopia’s line-up had settled to the quartet of Todd (guitar), Roger Powell (keyboards), Kasim Sulton (bass) and John Wilcox (drums). All four contributed vocals and compositions. The first release by this line-up was the prog classic album “Ra” in January 1977, featuring the 18 minute epic “Singring And The Glass Guitar” and the disturbing “Hiroshima”, which they had performed at Knebworth. Supported by an extravagant Egyptian-themed European tour, the album became Rundgren’s highest charting UK album. The swift follow-up album “Oops! Wrong Plant” (September 1977) was a completely different affair, containing twelve short songs, a mixture of pop rock and heavy rock, but ending with another of Todd’s anthems “Love Is The Answer”. The cover version by England Dan and John Ford Coley was a US Top 10 hit in 1979. The package contains ephemera and rare photos, all the lyrics, and extensive notes by Paul Myers, extracted from his recent definitive book on Todd Rundgren “A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren In The Studio”.