A Cappella - Todd Rundgren

Review by Ron Hromoko (Switch to

squeamishly known as the "curling-iron" record, a cappella ended TR's long relationship with Warner Brothers in 1985. who else from this list can contribute with information regarding this transition?

i've always felt this was the record T had always wanted to make. a true experiment of the application of technology to the creative process. vocals and vocal arrangements, a process to which T had long been recognized in the industry as the best.

i remember the brief news reports on music television shows and tech reports on the national news. T would demo the Emulator and it's capability to reproduce any sound fed to it. i still listen for a dog bark hidden among these ten selections.

now, if you'll indulge me:

blue orpheus -- i usually listen to the intro now readily identified with The Difference, then skip over to JJ. but, recently, i've found a new exhilirating freshness to this tremendous wave of sound.

johnee jingo -- a favorite live for many subsequent tours, this song epitomizes T's political position more succinctly than the entire "Swing to the Right" record. i've always wondered if the brogue in the lead vocal was a metaphor or direct commentary on northern ireland. comments?

pretending to care -- i've always wanted to hear T sing this with a live string arrangement. a dark, lonely tearjerker with a chamber orchestra feel that's always spooky. this always reminds me of 'flesh'. i like when T pushes up the gain on the last chorus. quite possibly my favorite vocal arrangement.

hodja -- the hook. everybody likes this singalong. then you tell them about hodja's history and the Rumi, and you get a well-hidden message of turkish turning in a rockabilly barbershop wrapper. too cool.

lost horizon -- one of the few T songs i think is much better live. an impressive array of pops, slaps, creaks, and onomatopoeia lace the motown groove with psycho-acoustic-T. i often want to put on NWO to hear the samples after listening to this.

something to fall back on -- i've always felt T built the concept of the record around this song. truely a song not built for all-voice deployment. still, i picture T dancing alone in the Utopia Sound Studio whilst laying down the harmonies.

miracle in the bazaar -- the turkish theme continues. no doubt the "hey, mom, watch this!" effort which truely showcases the Emulator and T's capacity to score movies, tv shows, and other self-administered spookiness.

lockjaw -- i don't know what the hell's going on with this one.

honest work -- an engaging testiment to artists who've been alienated by their family, popular culture, industry, and other societal debris.

mighty love -- now this is fun. remember the tour with the singers snapping in the verses, clapping with the choruses? you can hear a tinge of the philly gospel if you listen close to the vocal rants during the ending chorus. BTW, does anybody know what the hell T says in the very last line of this song? something like, " ........ .. .. ....... ........ ..... had a mighty, mighty, mighty love".

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