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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - " THE WIZARD REFLECTS" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "FAITHFUL" By TODD RUNDGREN IN HIGH DEFINITION WITH NARRATIVE - EPISODE # 40 - THE CAPTAIN MINES HIS COVE OF 8 TRACK TREASURES!

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“CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL

“THE WIZARD REFLECTS

EPISODE #40: FAITHFUL by Todd Rundgren (Bearsville, 1976)

When Todd Rundgren decided to pay tribute to his influences, he must have decided to pick the most daring, daunting, and monumental examples he could think of: (The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds, The Beach Boys, and Bob Dylan), and to make matters thornier, he chose to recreate their arrangements note for note. The studio prodigy filled in challenging gaps with the latest technology available to simulate the analog instruments used in the originals. The effect is disorienting – a holographic simulation, uncannily accurate, and yet, distinctly Todd’s own.

Thankfully, these influences are all mine as well, and I knew the originals very well – so, I could savor the drum fills in Rain, or the ragas that spiral across Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, etc., playing a kind of musical “Where’s Waldo?” Sure, it’s a show-off’s magic trick, but, as the modern philosophers are often heard to say, “If you got it, flaunt it.”

Rundgren has been in the forefront of production technology throughout his long and storied career, and will finally be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame this year. He produced Meatloaf, XTC, Badfinger, Sparks, and The New York Dolls, among many others; he created a raft of important solo albums with chart hits, and has fronted his band Utopia for decades. (They are planning an interactive virtual tour this year).

Utopia shines in the second part of Faithful’s schizoid, split brain presentation: half of the songs on the album are originals, and considered by many to be Todd’s best. He has stated that the song The Verb “To Love” represents his effort to break out of the cage of standard “love songs” towards reflecting a more nuanced world view.

So, in a sense, here is The Wizard, looking back and forward simultaneously, embracing the past, and summoning the future. A neat trick.

Track listing:

“Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” (Jeff Beck, Jim McCarty, Jimmy Page, Keith Relf) – 3:12 “Good Vibrations” (Brian Wilson, Mike Love) – 3:44 “Rain” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 3:16 “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine” (Bob Dylan) – 3:24 “If Six Was Nine” (Jimi Hendrix) – 4:55 “Strawberry Fields Forever” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 3:53 “Black and White” – 4:42 “Love of the Common Man” – 3:35 “When I Pray” – 2:58 “Cliché” – 4:00 “The Verb “To Love”” – 7:25 “Boogies (Hamburger Hell)” – 5:00

Personnel Todd Rundgren – guitar, vocals, all instruments on “When I Pray”, producer Roger Powell – trumpet, keyboards, rhythm guitar on “If Six Was Nine” John Siegler – bass, cello John Wilcox – drums


By Rich Buckland 12/26/2021 12:23 PM

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