Saturday, June 29, 2013


What’s the definition of a dependency problem?


Back in high school, I shelled out a pretty penny for a copy of the Runt album (with the blue Ampex label), which was by then out of print. This is considered to be Todd Rundgren’s first solo album, although on that release, Runt was identified as a trio consisting of Rundgren (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Hunt Sales (drums), and Tony Sales (bass). The entire album was written and produced by Rundgren, and contained the single “We Gotta Get You A Woman” which became Todd’s first top 20 single (he had six top 40 singles, another  six placed in the top 40 mainstream rock or electronic charts).

And of course, I had to have a copy of the mis-pressed Bearsville label edition that contained alternate versions and different tracks when the wrong master was used and Ampex decided to sell them anyway.  There were only about five thousand of these and you could only spot them by counting the tracks on the wax. A true holy grail for Todd faithful.

In the mid-80’s, Rhino records released Todd’s catalog on CD, and I snatched it up.

In the mid-90’s, Warner Japam released a nifty box set of Todd’s Bearsville catalog in mini LP sleeves, and I had to have that, if only for the CD release of the mega rare Radio Show promo that I’d NEVER seen on vinyl.

Japan was not done with me-they did individual mini LP reissues with high definition remasters in the early 00’s, and guess who bought them (even though the bonus tracks were scarce)?

And in 2011, Todd signed with Esoteric in the UK, and an affiliate label reissued his catalog with even more bonus tracks. Guess what?

By my count, I have purchased Runt six times, and since I seem to have acquired a copy of the Rhino LP from the mid-80’s, it could be seven (although I honestly do not remember buying that, so it may have been a bargain bin purchase for a buck, which I don’t think should count).

The definition of a problem is buying the Friday Music 180 gram deluxe LP reissue that came out this week.

Which I did.

What makes this album interesting is that where most LP reissues are replicas, Friday chose to make this a gatefold LP with lyrics on the inside of the fold (the original had a standard LP jacket with lyrics on the paper sleeve) , and they used a Friday Music label that imitates the original Ampex label.

The sound is good-the jacket advertises a painstaking remastering process, but my equipment is probably not the best to form an opinion on that. The sound is clean, with the occasional click and pop that lets you know it’s a record (and quite frankly, creates an atmosphere that is missing on a CD), and the album, while not his most cohesive, has a bunch of standout tracks in addition to “We Gotta Get You A Woman.”

A 180 gram edition of The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect was released the same day in a similar package, although the label here was unusual.  It’s a replica of the seventies style Warner label (with the palm trees, but with Friday Music name and caralog numbers).

Neat idea, but this album had been released on Bearsville. The only Todd albums on Warner were A Capella and Nearly Human, and they were on the white label Warner was using in the late 80’s.

Which makes me wonder if I have my hands on another pressing error.

Similar comments on the sound on TEPTAE, which had a lot of solid music that was overshadowed by the novelty “Bang The Drum All Day.”  That song, incidentally, made it to number 63 on the “normal” chart, and number 29 on the mainstream rock chart. And it gets played to death, but it is far from the best track on the album.

“Hideaway” should have been a massive radio hit, as well as “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Drive.”

The 180 gram vinyl certainly is impressive-it puts to shame the flimsy vinyl they were pushing on us in the waning years of vinyl. It has a realt weight to it and it is hard to imagine this warping.

I do hope Friday Music will look at some of Todd's nineties output that was never released on vinyl in the US (Second Wind, No World Order, The Individualist, With A Twist, One Long Year, Up Against It). And dare I hope for a vinyl release for Arena or Todd Rundgren's Johnson?

Was this purchase a waste of money?

Maybe. Not to me. 

An indication of a dependency problem?

You betcha!








  1. Well, all I know is that I like 'WE GOTTA GET YOU A WOMAN'. I remember when it was getting regular airplay and thus it reminds me of my childhood.

    But I think you have a problem.

    Alright, I'm off now to see if I can locate a fifth of that new Jack Daniels 'Green Label, Extra Special Reserve, Triple-Charcoal Distilled, Limited Release Tennessee Sippin' Whiskey' with the four exceedingly rare bonus tracks.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  2. If you slam down a shot of sippin' whiskey, do your intestines blow up?

    I like "We Gotta Get You A Woman" as well, and hope to see it performed live on this year's Labor Day weekend show in Akron (it's a show with a symphony backing him, and that one was played at the other four similar shows).

    I have never seen him do that one live.

    And I thought your post hanging days were through...let me know how that third charcoal distilling tastes...

  3. Oops! Did I write "four exceedingly rare bonus tracks."?

    I meant, "four exceedingly rare etched shot glasses."

    Sometimes Rock 'N' Roll and Whiskey get all muddled up in my fuddled up mind.

    A wasted mind is a terrible thing to taste.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  4. I was hoping it didn't have to come to this, but it's time to call the Todd Rundgren dependency hotline.

    1. It was a teacher who started all it's sort of your fault...

      OK....that's a bit of a stretch....but there are worse habits!