ARTIST: Todd Rundgren
TITLE: Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #214
SINGLES: Be Nice to Me (#71), A Long Time, A Long Way to Go (#92)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Long Flowing Robe, The Range War (well, if you got me for a mix buddy…)
LINEUP: Todd Rundgren, mostly. Tony Sales, ND Smart, John Guerin, Hunt Sales and Jerry Scheff did bass and drums work through the album.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rundgren decides to scrap the band identity, kinda (Runt is still listed as the ‘artist’) and puts forth an effort showcasing most sides of his musical idiom.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Todd Rundgren, by this, time, knew the only way he could ensure the sound he heard in his ears wound up on record was to record everything himself. He was unsure about bass and drums, so he enlisted session guys for those (and the Sales brothers – his old ‘Runt’ bandmates).
It’s not a tour de force, but it’s an excellent and varied album. He has a knack for pretty ballads, outright rockers, and pop songs with hooks, lots of hooks. His lyrics are also as varied as the music. “The Range War”, a clever telling of lovers caught up in the cattle vs. sheep war in the Old West, is one example.
Rundgren showed he was a unique performer, and while this isn’t one loaded with hits or airplay, it’s fascinating through and through.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was talk of releasing both of this solo albums together, but he decided he’d rather release new material in 1972.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A-: It’s a clever, quirky and fun record – cover photo notwithstanding.