Monday, April 12, 2010

Todd On Monday : Todds And Ends

Volume 3 of Todd Rundgren Mondays continues, with this, Burning Wood's 500th post! (Thank you.)

I've gathered some stray tracks that will surely be of interest to Todd fans, and may even raise an ear on you not so ardent Todd followers.


From the ill-fated 1994 release "No World Order," here is the first single, the title cut, edited and remixed for Japanese radio. Todd Rundgren rapping over electronica is/was a recipe for disaster, but beneath the obvious problems, is a killer melody and what might have been a hit single, had someone said, "Todd...please...just sing."


From the Shanachie Label, we have Todd, Chuck Jackson, and Gary US Bonds with their tribute to Peter Wolf's favorite soul man, Don Covay.


Todd sings Jeff Lynne. This was taken from the very solid ELO tribute, "Lynne Me Your Ears, courtesy of Not Lame records. Todd was still in a bit of his trancey electronic phase here, but I happen to think he pulls it off with this cover from ELO's third, "On The Third Day."


B-side of Utopia's "One World" single whose only commercial CD release was on a limited edition, Japanese remaster of 1981's "Swing To the Right" album. I've never been quite sure who sang lead on this. Was it John Wilcox or Kasim Sulton?


This is Todd's contribution to "That's The Way I Feel Now," the long out of print tribute to Thelonius Monk.


From the wonderful, but short-lived "Joe's Pub In The Park" concert series, this is Todd with Joe Jackson and string quartet Ethel covering The Beatles. Sound quality is a B, but where else are you gonna get a Todd/JJ duet?

From the 2002, Hall, Oates and Rundgren tour, this again suffers a bit in sound, but these three guys really need to make a record together. (Anyone care to hear about my adventures in Long Island and how I was almost killed at this show, while 3 of my friends laughed?)


A 1980 benefit for John Anderson's presidential campaign, check this band out:
Todd Rundgren (guitar, vocals), Ian Hunter (guitar, piano, vocals), Tom Mandel (keyboards), Stephen Dees (bass), Michael Shrieve (drums). (Full show down the line...maybe.)


Bonnie Tyler and Todd Rundgren duet on yet another unintentionally hilarious Jim Steinman tune. This was a single, in a much shorter 6 minute version. Production is mammoth, but Todd delivers a fine vocal.


From the Kurt Weill tribute "Lost In The Stars,", Todd pulls no theatrical punches here. Not for the squeamish.




steve simels said...

500 posts? Why it seems like I read the first one, back when Warren G. Harding was president, just the other day.

Congrats in any event. This blog, in case I haven't told you, totally rocks.

Sal Nunziato said...

Thank you Steve. And please, feel free to tell me as often as you like.

allen vella said...

That's great Sal..Keep on, I always look forward to new Burnin Wood! We gotta plan that Fest memorial weekend..
and Steve..I go to Power Pop right after stopping here..Lovely blog, great music.
Thank you both

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks Allen. We will.

Grey said...

I know you weren't thrilled about the Todd Rundgren's Johnson project, but were you at the show in Ridgefield last night anyway? If so, your thoughts?

Sal Nunziato said...

Grey, I've been watching the PPV. Band sounded good. Black Maria was particularly smoking. And I'm sure that being there up close may add more to it. But no matter how many ways I look at it, it always comes out the same---unnecessary and just not very worthwhile.

Todd mentions early on that the band really "isn't tributing Johnson, but tributing the British blues guys, Clapton, Beck, who were tributing Johnson."

From the lack of finesse and heart exhibited, it sounds more like they are "tributing" Ratt and Guns & Roses.

I just don't like it.

Grey said...

I was there, and yeah, being up close probably did add a bit to it. As you said, the band sounded good. "Black Maria" was intense.

That being said, for me the show was about half good. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that I am simply not a Robert Johnson fan, nor a fan of that kind of blues in general. It just doesn't interest me. (So you woke up this mornin' and your no-good woman did you wrong? Really. Say, could you please repeat that? I don't think I caught it all the first time.) So while the performance was solid, it was still pretty workmanlike. Nothing exceptional, and it wasn't any sort of vehicle for Todd's vocal talents.

I liked Todd's own material a lot better, and it was a kick hearing songs going all the way back to the Nazz days. Now and then there were flashes of Soulful Todd, and it made me wistful. I wanted more of that kind of Todd, the goofy Todd whose songs go straight to your heart and make it sing like a tuning fork. Sloppy and glitch-plagued as the Stamford AWATS show was, I preferred it to last night's show because the music was so much closer to my heart.

Eh, what do I know. Maybe I shouldn't have spent so much time last week listening to Nearly Human.

Sal Nunziato said...

"It just doesn't interest me. (So you woke up this mornin' and your no-good woman did you wrong? Really. Say, could you please repeat that? I don't think I caught it all the first time.)"

Grey, I think what you said here is very key. If you watch a true bluesman, someone who has lived this life, the material will affect you, the same way a "goofy" Todd song goes straight to your heart. Todd can sell a ballad. A man who has lived through the blues can make "I woke up this morning and my baby was gone" tear a hole in your soul.

I don't think Todd or the band is selling this. It's not a train wreck, but it's no more sincere to my eyes and ears, then listening to some overproduced pop singer covering classic soul tunes.

Leslie said...

Congratulations on 500 posts! And to think of all the posts I've missed being late to the party. *sigh*

And yes, I really do want to hear the story of how you were nearly killed.

Sal Nunziato said...

The archives, Leslie! As for the story...

Noam Sane said...

Congrats Sal, I love this place.

Percy Mayfield wrote my favorite variation on the "woke up this morning" trope:

"I got up early one morning
Got drunk, and I laid back down."

I appreciate the further Toddage. I've never left a Todd show disappointed, but some are better than others....

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks Noam, I love creating this place.

I can say I am always happy to be at a Todd show, though when he excused himself to use the bathroom at B.B. King's, right in the middle of the set, claiming the A.C. was up too high, I thought I'd never return. I got over it.

misospecial said...

excellent picks on the third edition, salster. and big mazel tov on #500!

cmealha said...

Really nice nuggets! Thanks

Jeff W said...

Jim Steinman song titles are either based upon existing cliches or are apparent attempts to create new ones. I still like some of the songs anyway...

big bad wolf said...

no, sal, thank you. keep the posts coming

FRANCIE said...

Hi.Sal, Congrats on 500 POSTS from one TODD fan to another. I know it's been a long ride for me. It has always been the ballads that have always gotten me and always will. In PHILLY he was another BLUE EYED SOUL performer.I always enjoy reading,TODD or no TODD. Good luck to the next 500!!! KEEP ON KEEPIN'ON. FRANCIE

cmealha said...

Just got around to listening to 'Four In One' which I had never heard before. How wonderfully bizarre.
'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' made me go back to his studio version which has one of the wickedest solos ever.

Rexxx said...

I have been a great fan of Todd since the creation of Utopia-One.

I saw the "Wizard a True Star" Tour when he first introduced Utopia during the 2nd half of the show at Carnegie Hall.

Anyway, I was really pumped to get your zip file and it was kaput?

Maybe cause it's Memorial Day Weekend?

Hope it gets fixed, soon.


Sal Nunziato said...


There is nothing wrong with the file. Still there and still working fine. NO other complaints, so maybe it was some anomaly on your end. Please try again. Music is waiting for you.



Rexxx said...

I stand corrected.
I got the Download. I just didn't know it.
sorry for the confusion.
Anyway. thanks for the memories and I love your blog.