Monday, April 25, 2016

CD Review: Purple Pyramid Records Boxes Up Classic Live Shows From Todd Rundgren

On April 1st, Purple Pyramid Records released the limited edition box set titled "Box O'Todd," featuring live, in-studio recordings that were originally presented only for radio. The new 3-disc set features Todd Rundgren stripped down to the basics as he delivers many of his hits from the seventies. The first disc features his full, fifteen-song performance in Philadelphia in 1971 as Rundgren covers his first two solo albums.

He begins with the piano ballad "Believe In Me" as you instantly are transported into the studio with Rundgren as it feels as if he is only playing a concert just to you. The Hello People band join him for the bluesy feel of "I Got My Pipe" and the laid-back seventies, southern-California vibe of "I Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference." He goes back to the piano for a solo performance of "Everybody In The Congregation," as if you are at church and Todd Rundgren is leading the sermon. He delivers a heartfelt cover of Smokey Robinson's "Ooh, Baby Baby," before closing the first disc with the jamming of "I'm Feelin' Better" and the quietness of "The Ballad (Denny & Jean)."

The great thing about this set is that there are very little crossover with the songs Rundgren performs as disc two features his performance at Ultrasonic Studios in New York in 1972. Beginning with the down and dirty blues/rock of "Broke Down & Busted," Rundgren reverts back to his debut solo album to get things going. Rundgren and the band get locked into the groove of "Outside Love," before he takes on "Piss Aaron" on his own. He premiers "A Dream Goes On Forever," which won't appear on his solo album until 1974's "Todd." Rundgren returns with a quick version of his top 20 hit single "I Saw The Light," then extends Hello People's "Mad Red Ant Lady" past the seven-minute mark. The second disc finishes with the band rising to the challenge of "Lady On The Terrace" and "Slut."

Disc 3 features Todd Rundgren at the Counterparts Studio in Cinncinati in 1973. He begins with a solo piano version of his hit single "I Saw The Light," before things start to turn strange with the odd delivery of "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song." The band joins him for his biggest selling single "Hello It's Me" and takes the listening audience on a journey with the fourteen-minute progressive rock piece "Utopia Theme." He finishes his performance with the funk-fueled "Hungry For Love" and spacey, nine-minute closer "The Ikon."

The new three disc box set also includes a 20-page booklet featuring full-color pictures and liner notes by Dave Thompson. To find out more about this new release from Todd Rundgren, please visit

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