Monday, April 26, 2010
Todd On Monday : The "Prog"-idal Son
I know not everyone can swallow the prog-rock pill with ease, especially coming from a man who stole your heart and tore it into bits with some of the finest pop, rock and soul music your body could handle without prescription drugs. But what makes Todd Rundgren's occasional foray into prog rock waters okay by me is that the result is drenched with the same passion as those pop records that placed TR in your hearts in the first place. Take it or leave it, Utopia did it well.
I won't use too much of this space to express, yet again, my boredom with Todd's current toe-dipping into waters so charted, whales have been overheard complaining, "Really Moby? 'Sweet Home Chicago' again?" (This Robert Johnson tour and upcoming record is making me mental.) I will say that, listening back to this 1977 broadcast from the UK of the 4 man Utopia touring behind "Ra," an uneven, but still quite listenable record, made me long for the days when you could hear the sincerity dripping off the grooves. Just listen to Todd greeting the audience after the first number. Can any of you die-hards out there remember the last time he sounded this pleased?
There are hits--"Communion With The Sun," "Jealousy"-- and misses--"Hiroshima," "Emergency Splashdown." There is also some coolness in hearing, then newcomer Kasim Sulton take the lead vocal on "Windows," a track that appeared on the follow-up LP, "Oops Wrong Planet," sung by its writer, Utopia keyboardist Roger Powell. And if you haven't already run away screaming from the opening narration of "Singring & The Glass Guitar," you will find some solid melodies and musicianship. (It IS 24 minutes long. Gotta be something there, no?)
Communion With The Sun
Love Of The Common Man
The Verb To Love
Singring & The Glass Guitar