Great Rock Albums of 1979: Todd Rundgren- Back to the Bars

It has been said that Todd Rundgren released this 1979 live album in an attempt to cash in on the success of other live albums such as “Frampton Comes Alive” and Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rain.” I’m not completely sure that I agree with that premise because of the content of the songs on this album. While “Back to the Bars” concludes with one of Rundgren’s greatest hits, “Hello It’s Me,” it doesn’t include some of his other noted songs. Furthermore, when he was preforming the live shows in 1978, it was around the same time his studio album “Hermit of Mink Hollow” was released.  So, if he wanted to cash in on a live album, surely he would have included a few songs from the new album, especially “Can We Still Be Friends.”

Enough speculating for now because “Back to the Bars” is actually a pretty good album. A good way to reminisce over Todd Rundgren’s creative days of the seventies. What I have always liked about him is the fact that you can’t completely pigeonhole him. Yes, many of the more known songs are in the progressive rock vein and he has his share of Top 40 singles but he is also capable of laying down some rocking jams as well and there are some on this album. Most notably, two songs from the “Something/Anything” album: “Black Maria” and one I’ve always really liked, “Couldn’t I Just Tell You.”

Track Listing:

1. Real Man

2. Love of the Common Man

3. The Verb To Love

4. Love in Action

5. A Dream Goes On Forever

6. Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel

7. The Range War

8. Black and White

9. The Last Ride

10. Cliche

11. Don’t You Ever Learn

12. Never Never Land

13. Black Maria

14. Zen Archer

15. Medley: I’m So Proud/ Oh Baby Baby/ La la Means I Love You/ I Saw the Light

16. It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference

17. Eastern Intrigue

18. Initiation

19. Couldn’t I Just Tell You

20. Hello It’s Me

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren- lead vocals, guitar, keyboards

Mark”Moogy” Klingman- keyboards

Kasim Sultan- bass

Roger Powell- keyboards

John Willie Wilcox- drums

Additional appearances by Rick Derringer, Stevie Nicks, Daryl Hall and John Oates

For Todd Rundgren fans and novices, this album is a good way to reminisce or explore the mid seventies period of Todd Rundgren with some classic songs. Now, one or two people have said that he isn’t too good live, but listening to this album, I can’t agree with that sentiment. If Todd Rundgren isn’t in the Rock Hall of Fame, then it’s just another proof that the people who run that institution are just plain idiots.

Next post: Pat Travers- Live! Go For What You Know

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

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4 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1979: Todd Rundgren- Back to the Bars”

  1. Yup, great album. Todd was and still is a class live act. Great musicians, fantastic songs and Luther Vandross on guest backing vocals (if my rubbish memory is at all reliable). And there are a few tracks on it that sound as weird now as they did all those years ago. Good choice Mike.

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  2. I’m guilty of not owning this Todd Rundgren album. Now you have me putting this one on my “need list” due to this fine post… LOL!

    I can verify for you: Todd Rundgren is NOT in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. What an embarrassment for his talents/achievements to be ignored by that Hall Of Shame.

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    • Thanks Stone, Wow, never had a post influence someone into buying an album. As I said in the post, I am now convinced that those involved with the Hall of Fame are just a bunch of idiots. Todd Rundgren not being there is not only an embarrassment to his talents, but an insult as well. Rock on!

      Like

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