Archive for Something/Anything

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Todd Rundgren- The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2016 by 80smetalman

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The first time I heard the song “Bang On the Drum All Day” by Todd Rundgren on the radio, I thought, “This is great! Todd is back.” I have been a big Todd Rundgren fan since 1978 when a friend enlightened me to the “Something/Anything” album. Adding to the euphoria brought on by listening to that album, he then released the “Hermit of Mink Hollow” album in said year. If I wasn’t a Rundgren convert before, I certainly was after hearing both of those great albums. Therefore, it was a no-brainer that I would be obtaining his newest offering in 1983.

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In a fairy tale world, I would be telling you how great “The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect” is. Unfortunately, it’s not. It lacks the versatility that I have always liked Todd for. On the two previously mentioned albums, there is lots of progressive rock, hard rock, ballads and even a little heavy metal. “Metal?” you ask. Just listen to the track “Out of Control” off the “Hermit of Mink Hollow” album and you’ll see what I mean. Another thing great about Todd’s previous albums is that he brings a bit of humour to some of the songs on both. However, on this album, the only evidence of that is on the track “Emperor of the Highway,” which is the second best track behind “Bang On the Drum All Day.”

The funny thing is that the first four tracks all start off with a very catchy introduction but each of those tracks quickly turn bland after and one loses interest. They are all very keyboard dominated and pretty much sound the same. “Tin Soldier” picks things up a little and it’s the third best track. Then comes to the two best tracks and they redeem the album from the previous blandness. Sadly though, the last two tracks are a big let down following the big single. Maybe Todd should have made “Bang On the Drum All Day” the closer, it would have worked in my humble opinion.

In defense of Todd, now, unlike the Motorhead album, reading a little of the background history to this album was a good thing as far as Mr Rundgren is concerned. It turns out that “The Ever Tortured Artist Effect” was a contractual obligation album. Therefore, he didn’t put the time and effort into it as he did with his better albums. This would be his last album with Bearsville Records. So, with this new evidence taken into consideration, I can let him slide for this album not measuring up to the previous ones.

Track Listing:

  1. Hideaway
  2. Influenza
  3. Don’t Hurt Yourself
  4. There Goes Your Baybay
  5. Tin Soldier
  6. Emperor of the Highway
  7. Bang on the Drum All Day
  8. Drive
  9. Chant

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Todd Rundgren- All instruments, vocals and production

All in all, “The Ever Tortured Artist Effect” isn’t horrible. It’s just not nearly as great as his best albums. Then again, when you record an album simply because you have to, it probably won’t be as good and you won’t put your best effort into it. Let it be known that my feelings for the posted album in no way detract from my assertion that Todd Rundgren should be in the Rock Hall of Fame.

On a separate note, when I learned about Lemmy’s passing last week, I thought that the metal hating UK newspaper, The Sun, would say little if anything at all about it. To my surprise, there was two pages dedicated to the great man and his contribution to music over the past forty years. Before we get to excited, one of the contributors did write about Lemmy’s limited vocal capability. He misses the point, Lemmy’s voice was perfect for the songs he sang. Let’s hear Olly Muirs try to sing “Ace of Spades.” Then again, the skeptic in me thinks that the main reason the paper ran so much about Lemmy is because he is seen as a British icon.

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Next post: Bryan Adams- Cuts Like A Knife

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.

 

 

 

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

Posted in 1978, 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2012 by 80smetalman

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

Great Rock Albums of 1978: Todd Rungren- Hermit of Mink Hollow

Posted in Humour, Music with tags , , , , , , on January 31, 2012 by 80smetalman

I know this cover isn’t the one for “Hermit of Mink Hollow,” it’s for an earlier album from 1972, “Something/Anything?.” The reason, I’m putting this album on the post as well is because the “Something/Anything?” album is one of those that got left out in the last chapter “Great Rock Albums of the 70s.” Therefore, I thought I would say a few words about it here.

“Something/Anything?” is considered by many Todd Rundgren fans as one of his very best and I’m not one who’s going to debate that. While it’s pop oriented, including hit singles “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light,” there are some great rocking moments on it. Songs such as “Black Maria,” “Little Red Lights” and “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” are some very powerful rocking hits. Todd Rundgren also shows a sense of humour similar to Warren Zevon in songs like “Piss Aaron” and “You Left Me Sore.” At the end, he takes both the hard rock sound and humourous lyrics to make the song “Slut” which leaves you in no doubt of his versatility. With all that said, let’s look at the 1978 offering “Hermit of Mink Hollow.”

The first thing I noticed when I first heard this album was that Rundgren follows the blue print from the “Something/Anything?” album. But he takes it one step further by playing all the instruments and furnishing all vocals himself. While past albums have large portions of them featuring Todd Rundgren alone, this is the first album to totally feature no other musicians. “Hermit of Mink Hollow” was totally created, arranged and produced by him.

The tracks on the album prove that working solo was a good idea for Todd Rundgren. True, it is also a pop oriented album, the single “Can We Still Be Friends” bears witness to it, there are some good rock moments and tracks which show his humourous side as well. “Out of Control” and “Determination” show that Rundgren can rock with the best of them and even after all these years, I still burst out laughing when I hear “Onomataopoeia.” Tracks “Bread” and “Bag Lady” show his aversion to social inequality, while the former song has a good rock edge as well, once again proving his versatility.

Track Listing:

1. All The Children Sing

2. Can We Still Be Friends

3. Hurting For You

4. Too Far Gone

5. Onomataopoeia

6. Determination

7. Bread

8. Bag Lady

9. You Cried Wolf

10. Lucky Guy

11. Out of Control

12. Fade Away

There are not many artists out there who can play all the instruments, supply all the vocals and arrange production all themselves on an album and there is, in my humble opinion, no one who can do it better than Todd Rundgren. The two albums mentioned here are proof of that.

Next post: Bob Dylan- Street Legal

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle