Music today has been Todd Rundgren’s debut solo album Runt (1970). I love the sound of this album and it’s a lot to do with his vision as an engineer/producer although on this album Electric Prunes lead singer Jim Lowe engineered in LA and Jack Adams in New York. I wonder is this where he started to learn or was he contributing sonically to the album already? He had Hunt and Tony Sales playing drums and bass and he did everything else, keys, guitars, bass, singing, songwriting. But it’s not just his multi-skills, it’s the sensibilities of the time and I love the songs starting with Broke Down And Busted, lots of guitars and then Believe In Me, lots of piano. There’s a lot of lovely melodies that continue through Side One, We Gotta Get You A Woman was a US No. 20 in 1971. Who’s That Man into the lovely Once Burned. You can hear his Laura Nyro influence, there’s Brian Wilson influence and no doubt The Beatles, but he makes it all his own. There’s heavy soul in Devil’s Bite. I’m In The Clique seems like a shot at those who ‘know people in the biz’, more a complaint than a song. There Are No Words is his instrumental vocal Beach Boys experiment. Then the three-in-one of Baby Let’s Swing/The Last Thing You Said/Don’t Tie My Hands, from ‘goofing off’ to singing to Laura, ‘the Laura’ one presumes – it could be her as a man. Then more soul-pop, he did it so well and the way these three pieces are put together might suggest he heard Side Two of Abbey Road. The last track, Birthday Carol, is 09:16, starting with a string section that turns into a raucous power trio jam session before stopping abruptly and becoming a piano lullaby at exactly three minutes. At six minutes exactly it changes again and briefly reverts back to the ballad before heading off into new territory with brass galore and guitar soloing. It gives you a clue about the range of his skills, the depth of his vision and a glimpse into the future with an inkling of what was to come. People talk about Prince, this is Todd Rundgren, who incidentally ends the song with the strings and brass together – of course he does, and by the way, he was just 22 years old.
Music Of The Days
The musical musings in this post are an excerpt from my daily blog, TO WHERE I AM NOW, featured on my main website. See more pictures and read the full post here.