All of us who had the true pleasure of working with Dale Ford knew his passion for music. He and I shared an obsession with Todd Rundgren, though Dale was without doubt the greater fan. Years of our Rundgren-related conversations got me to the point where I couldn’t put a Todd record on without Dale crossing my mind.
The diverse nature of Rundgren’s recordings – not only as a solo performer, but also as a member of various bands (Utopia and Nazz among them) and producer (he helmed Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell and XTC’s Skylarking, to name only two elpees’ worth of tunes) – is at turns challenging and rewarding. 1973’s A Wizard, A True Star does a great job of showcasing all of Todd’s musical personalities – art rocker, soul balladeer, experimentalist, spiritual lyricist, guitar hero, jokester.
In a pensive mood, I prefer the soulful second half of the collection – feeling more adventurous, the synthesized psychedelia that opens the collection suits the mood. The second half pays tribute to Rundgren’s R’n’B influences, while the first half itself is influential, its sonic textures prefiguring disco, new wave, and even hip-hop. The wide variety of sounds on this disc (especially enjoyable on headphones) should send impressed listeners on a search for more of Rundgren’s work. Dale wouldn’t have hesitated to point the way.
A Wizard, A True Star