Sunday, May 16, 2010


Yesterday, I laid out the ground rules I followed when choosing my list. I know it's a few hours before the 17th, but some of us gotta work in the morning!

So, without any further rambling, here are the fifteen discs. Further insight onto each title selected follows the list should you care to read it.

(1) Todd Rundgren, “Complete Bearsville Box”
(2) Todd Rundgren, “Nearly Human”
(3) Utopia, “Ra”
(4) Utopia, “An Evening With Utopia”
(5) Al Stewart, “Modern Times”
(6) Bruce Springsteen, “Born To Run”
(7) Southside Johnny, “Hearts Of Stone”
(8) Graham Parker, “Squeezing Out Sparks”
(9) Tom Waits, “Closing Time”
(10) Todd Snider, “Songs For The Daily Planet”
(11) Popa Chubby, “Booty And The Beast”
(12) Jonathan Edwards, “Jonathan Edwards”
(13) Original Soundtrack, “The Commitments Deluxe Edition”
(14) Bob Dylan, “Blood On The Tracks”


1-This was released in Japan in the early 90’s, and contains all of Todd Rundgren’s Bearsville catalog in one convenient box set. It’s got one UPC code, and is not a whole lot bigger than a double-sized jewel case. Before you cry foul, remember from yesterday’s post-there was a lot of discussion over multi-disc sets, and it was agreed that they count as one. Either you count each disc or you count each title

If my house were on fire, I might not brave the inferno and run upstairs for this, but if it were handy, I would grab it to save it from the flames. Todd’s music has pretty much been the soundtrack of my life since 1977 or so. It would not be beyond the realm of possibility for my entire list to be Rundgren titles. And I’d be pretty happy on that island with the selection.

IF there had been rules, and IF the rules said count each disc as one, and AS LONG AS everyone played by the same rules, I’d have selected “The Hermit Of Mink Hollow” as my other Todd Rundgren disc. While all of Todd’s music is pretty much a necessity in my life, “Hermit” has too many moments I could not live without.

Problem is,I’m not so sure that “The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren” would not have bumped something else off of the list. And let’s not even talk about 2008’s “Arena.”

My island happens to grow the best pot in the world,so I’m gonna bestoned and listening to Todd all the time. Now if only I can figure out how to grow a Doritos tree.

2-You may wonder why, if I can only bring fifteen discs, why more by the same artist? As

As stated above, Todd’s music has been an integral part of my life. His music has seen me through my highest highs and lowest lows. There’s a song on this album that I heard for the first time the evening of the same day I met a lady who I would end up feeling more for than any other on the planet. Even though the relationship eventually did not endure (sadly, kind of like in the song we were on different paths) the lady still represents one of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to spend time with, and times with her are among the best times of my life. The song, “Parallel Lines,” never fails to make me think of her, and it brings out a smile and a little moisture in the eyes at the same time. The rest of the album is pretty good, too (Rolling Stone gave it a bunch of stars, and I think everyone should own a copy).

3-If you don’t already know, Todd Rundgren (see items 1 and 2) was the guitarist for Utopia. I went back and forth on this list trying to make do with one Utopia album. Had there been a Utopia Bearsville box, I’d have bought that, and it would be number 2 on this list. Instead, I went with “Ra,” which was my introduction to Todd Rundgren in Mr. William’s English class in 1977 (he played the second side’s epic in class as an example of how a short story could take different forms). I was hooked.

Mr. Williams (Thomas B.) is one of the original die-hards who sent in the postcard from “A Wizard A True Star” and so his name is on the poster that was included in the follow-up, “Todd.”

For any of you living near Akron, Ohio, the first ever performance of the “Todd” album in it's entirety is going to be featured at the third annual Rundgren Radio Birthday Bash at the Akron Civic Theater on Labor Day weekend. The encore will be a performance of the "Healing" album. Tickets still available. Hope to see you there!

4-“An Evening With Utopia” is a bootleg lifted from one of my favorite performances (broadcast live on USA on Thanksgiving 1983). Sadly, the video has never seen a DVD release nor has the CD ever been released on a proper label. You may find this title in NYC in one of those stores that sells “imports” of questionable origin. On this night, the band was on, the sound was awesome (both USA Network and King Biscuit Flower Hour recorded it) and it’s coming with me.

5-I went back and forth between “Modern Times” and “Year Of
The Cat” for my Al Stewart disc, and landed on “Modern Times”
because side two is so strong. I almost wish I could take my copy
of the vinyl LP, but who ever heard of a turntable on a desert

Side two is that good, with “Apple Cider Re-Constitution,” and “The Dark And The Rolling Sea” morphng into “Modern Times.” Produced by Alan Parsons (who also produced Dark Side Of The Moon) and featuring Peter White before he became and easy listening guitar icon.

6-Picking a Bruce album was hard. I landed on “Born To Run”
because it was pretty much the official driving music of my
high school years. I’d still contend that his second work was
a better overall album, but hard choices have to be made in
life, and with apologies to Spanish Johnny and Rosalita, there’s
goona be a 10th Avenue freeze-out on this island!

7-Southside Johnny never really got the attention I felt he deserved, but I always thought he had the better voice of the two Asbury park acts that broke out of the Garden State in the seventies. This was a hard choice, and I almost caved in and took “Having A Party,” which is a best-of, just because I can’t believe I’m about to go off with the Professor and MaryAnne and not be able to hear “I Don’t Want To Go Home” ever again.

But most fans agree that HOS is SSJ’s best single album, and
every song on it is good, and I’m goona go with it. Better not
make your hut too close to mine, because when I’m not
keeping you up with snoring, I’m probably going to be
singing the songs I left behind in my sleep.

8-I always thought Graham Parker was a better angry
young man than Elvis Costello. Even though he started
recording first, he seemed to be given the title of an Elvis
soundalike. This album may be one of his finest moments,
and since I’ve gone through so many copies, the version
I’d bring has the”Mercury Poisoning” bonus track.
Graham is still recording to this day, and while he’s older,
he still appears to be pissed!

9-Mr. McCarthy has said a lot about Tom Waits on his blog,
so I won’t go into the same things here, except to say this man
was one of the greatest lyricists in the game in the seventies.
I almost went with “Heartattack And Vine” for this list, but
had to go back to the first album. “Last call for drinks, I’ll
have another Stout!”
Hopefully, I’ll find a case of Guiness washed up on the beach.

10-Back when the term “alternative radio” meant something, Philly had a station. I think I had to wire my antenna to the microwave to get the reception. They played Todd’s (no, the OTHER Todd) “Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” one day, and I rushed out to buy “Songs For The Daily Planet.” I listened all the way through, and no Seattle song. Are ya kidding? I listened again. What a great album, but no @#$% Seattle song. Then I kind of dozed off, and the CD played through the two minutes of space and got to the hidden bonus track, which was, of course, the Seattle song. This was probably my favorite 90’s album (except for Todd Rundgren releases). He still can write, but his later albums are all acoustic, and the style doesn’t hold up for me over an album’s worth of material. This is another CD everyone should own.

11- Born Ted Horowitz, Popa Chubby is a true native son of the Big Apple. He grew up in the neighborhood immortalized in Robert DeNiro's film "A Bronx Tale." His early memories of hearing the jukebox in his parents' candy store playing the hits of early Sixties soul and R&B and the neighborhood teens flocking around it made a lasting impression on him. Picking a Popa Chubby album was not difficult-his major label release, “Booty And The Beast” was a classic.

I gave my guarantee on this disc to at least 20 people (I told them if they bought it and wanted to return it, I’d buy if from them) and there were no claims made for refunds. Ted is the BIGGEST and BADDEST man playing rock-laced blues (don’t let the cover fool you) and he can play some gee-tar!

12-Jonathan Edwards doesn’t make it to the southwest, so the last time I saw him was in 1993. I remember when he played “Sunshine” for an encore, he joked about everyone in the back thinking “That’s who this guy is.” “Sunshine comes off of his self-titled debut, a folk-rock, bluegrass masterpiece that’s as close to country as I get. Try listeningto “Shanty” without stomping your feet!
13-When I first saw the movie “The Commitments,” I remember hearing the singer, Andrew Strong, and thinking “This kid’s got pipes!” He was a kid-seventeen, I think, when the picture was made back in 1991, and for some reason he never made it after that. The soundtrack sold

exceptionally well, and I’d recommend the deluxe edition. His solo discs never took off, but the man has a strong voice, and he covers the classic soul songbook with a nice side order of rock sensibility.
14-Believe it or not, Bob Dylan almost did not make the cut. Stephen T. McCarthy was scandalized when I told him it was possible that a Dylan album may not accompany me to the island. But I reevaluated and decided that “Blood On The Tracks” really was a better album

than any single Warren Zevon album, and also better than Bob Seger’s “Against The Wind.”. So unless I were to compromise my principles and bring a compilation (either Zevon’s or J. Geils Rhino anthologies would have been in the running), I had to give Mr. Zimmerman the nod. Which brings me to….
15-Rickie Lee Jones’ debut album was in and out a few times. I’d toyed with Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes, which is a fantastic record, but Rickie Lee was just a better songwriter, at least in the early days of her career. She was from the Tom Waits school of imagery, but kind of followed Tom’s path into free-form weirdness after her second album (which is almost equally as good).

So there you have it. Fifteen titles, a little bit of sleight of hand with selection number one, but no greatest hits collections in the lot. If you've never heard of some of these artists, I'd encourage you to give these titles a spin.


  1. Hi there,

    Great post, DiscConnected :) I was pretty much expecting you to include Tom, Bruce and Bob after reading many a discussion between you and Stephen ;)

    Wow, you sure love Todd Rundgren, don't you? My father, being a guitarist himself, too was quite obsessed :)

    You toyed with Little Earthquakes, hey? So did I, but decided Tori's live CD To Venus and back better fit the bill. Love Ricky Lee too, though she didn't make my list either.

  2. I'll call that a pretty commendable list. And I can't argue with Todd Rundgren. I've been a fan since 1968 when you just a little kid. Saw him in about 1972, I guess, when he was backed by a fantastic band called The Hello People, who dressed as mimes and did mime routines. Todd and the Hello People were the opening act but they blew away the headliners, Free and Alice Cooper.

    Commendations for that great Jonathon Edwards album as well. I haven't heard that one in years, but I will vouch for its greatness.

    Enjoyed the list.

    Tossing It Out

  3. Oh, you have some really great picks here!

  4. A well thought out blog, I only knew a few of the people you mentioned but I did enjoy reading about the others, Living in the UK we don't get to hear about all the stars likewise you don't get to know what goes on in the UK.
    Very interesting, and thanks.

  5. Quite a list. I did't know any of them. Since my second favorite theologian was Jonathan Edwards I did not know there was a band named that. I am intrigued, I am going to have check that out.

  6. Everyone has picked such unique albums!

  7. Great list! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

    --> My island happens to grow the best pot in the world,so I’m gonna bestoned and listening to Todd all the time. Now if only I can figure out how to grow a Doritos tree.

    It'd be a terrible thing to have "the munchies" and nothing to munch.

    Why, how come, what for you never ever even mentioned Popa Chubby to me before? I never heard of him until today - seein' yer list.

    Glad to see Dylan made it, and with a true masterpiece. I mean, it just wouldn't have been the same if you had selected something like "The Traveling Wilburys". ;o)

    I used to have that Southside Johnny album on "licorice pizza".

    Rickie over Warren, eh? Hmmm... That's interesting. And Rickie over a second Waits album like "Hollywood And Vine" or "Heart Of Saturday Night", huh? Interesting, interesting.

    That Todd Snider choice was a good one! If this was a 20-album list, he'd probably be sailing with me. (Gotta thank ya for turning me on to him!)

    Well, I'll have to add that Chubbyboy album and the Al Stewart one to my "Friday Requests" list.

    Yak Later, Homeboydude.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

  9. If there's a way to reply to a comment, I have not figured that out, so please forvie my ignorance...

    To The Allitertive Allomorph, you have no idea how deep the obsession with Rundgren's music goes-I wouldn't use the word obsessed when referring to your father, he's dedicated!

    To Arlee Bird, in case you didn't know, Todd has continued recording right up until present day. In fact, an album of Robert Johnson covers is due sometime in June.

    I've got everything by Jonathan Edwards, but that debut album really was something special, wasn't it?

    To Lonesome Dogg McCarthy-I could swear I'd played Popa Chubby for you once. If you look at the album cover, you think it's rap (except for the Okeh label imprint, which any blues fan should recognize). It's probably a little too much on the rock side for your taste (you're more of a blues purist than me) but still a smoking album.

    Thanks for looking everyone, and I'll be checking out your lists throughout the week!


  10. FFF-F #6 Here ~

    I love your list, although I gravitate towards the Springsteen/Southside Johnny end of the list. Todd had some great hit songs, but for whatever reason he did not strike a chord with me as much as you.

    I don't know Chubby, but upon your iron-clad recommendation I'll have to get a copy and see wassup wid him. Sounds really good!

    The Dylan choice was great in my books, and Stephen's Traveling Wilburys snipe was aimed at me... as you will see on TH when Mr. McCarthy posts my (non-blogger, back-of-the-bus) submission on his blog pages.

    Fun reading, man.

    FFF-F #Vi,
    Mr. Paulboy