Today I went to the last resting place of vinyl, it was a bizarre Goodwill warehouse filled with large piles of stuff. Hidden in the corner being ignored by the diggers for gold in the bins and piles was a section for vinyl. All the discarded vinyl from who knows where. None of it was sorted and it was a literal pile. It almost made me tear up at the thought that at one point these had been well loved possessions. All for 50c a piece how can you go wrong. The funny thing is there was less Mangione and Streisand in this vinyl landfill.
As I rooted around feeling like a grave robber I found a Todd Rundgren album. The live album Back To The Bars from 1978. I almost passed it by, Rundgren is an unknown quantity, he is either accessible or too far out there. Like Zappa he has a catalog that is not easily defined and therefore is a little scary to just plunge and a live album at that.
In the past I have owned two Rundgren albums. A Wizard a True Star and Initiation and a couple of Utopia albums one of which was a weird Beatles pastiche. Now I only own one but I think I will be getting more.
I have a very good friend who idolizes both Zappa and Rundgren. It is easy to see why, they are both highly unpredictable and incredibly varied and versatile in their music. When listening to Rundgren he almost has a physical reaction to it jerking around as if every note being played is having an impact on his body.
Rundgren at times sounds like Prince before Prince was really around and then he messes with your head like Zappa. He has a truly amazing voice that moves between genres in the midst of songs from soulful to folk to blues shouter. Then he hits you with a pop hook that could drag you to the dance floor all of the time amidst this intense almost progressive rock sound that is filled with melody and fun and pop sensibility. It is strange to think he is not bigger on some level.
To the album. It has Daryl Hall and John Oates on it, Stevie Nicks takes the time to warble along and it even has Spencer Davies turning up.