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Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, May 17th, 2016

Todd Rundgren: A Wizard, a True Star (2016 Remaster)

toddTodd Rundgren
A Wizard, a True Star (2016 Remaster)
(Rhino Records)

Todd Rundgren’s fourth solo album, A Wizard, a True Star, is a sprawling work of interconnected tunes, hallucinatory word play and R&B covers. Here is the remaster of this 1973 album. “International Feel” opens with its spacey key burping leading into a shunky beat and wailing guitar and vocals. A toy-piano cover of “Never Never Land” follows, as does the guitar wailing and kinetic vocal screaming of “Rock & Roll Pussy.” There is a good amount of instrumental work here, like the synth/piano/fun flights of “Flamingo,” while the accordion-backed, circus-like “Zen Archer,” with its serious, slightly time-retarded chorus presents the first real soulful moment in Rundgren’s singing. The big sweep of returning melodies on “Le Feel Internacionale” present a solid Todd production as the first side ender of the original album. The A True Star second side begins with the big R&B piano/organ/horn ballad, “Sometimes I Don’t Know What To Feel,” and then there’s a dancehall-like, piano rolling “Hungry for Love.” The centerpiece here though is Rundgren’s 10-minute-plus melody of R&B hits. A sax opening starts Curtis Mayfield’s “I’m So Proud” (very nice backing vocals here and swaying piano) into a lilting “Ooh Baby Baby,” (Rundgren’s best vocal on the album) with flute-led, “La La Means I Love You” and the snappy “Cool Jerk” ending. “Is It My Name” is a heavy, power chord-jumble, while the gospel-like “Just One Victory,” with it’s rich backing vocals and conga backing, end things on a high note. A Wizard, a True Star is slightly disjointed at times (too much Todd falsetto also for my ears), but overall it’s a classic album, full of truly stellar Todd-is-God moments and sounding great here in this remaster.

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Todd Rundgren: A Wizard, a True Star (2016 Remaster)