New Music For Old People: Todd Rundgren, Little Feat, XTC

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Al Kooper

Al Kooper

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the ’60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don’t miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD’VE been!

1. “Parole” — Todd Rundgren

An early solo track, maybe even from his first or second solo album. Lyrically he speaks for many when he says, “It ain’t easy bein’ on parole with you, baby…” I have lived that scenario myself a few times in my long life. Great guitar playing and singing, but clearly not up to his soon-to-be stellar production and engineering standards. Nonetheless, it’s a great track that paved the way to a great, memorable career.

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2. “Kiss It Off” — Little Feat

Although right off the bat they were filled with originality in all areas, this third album, Dixie Chicken, released in January of 1973, put the personnel in order for a string of recordings that changed the world of music. Comparatively buried in that perfect album is a track that shone the light for future electronica, which had never been heard before. They don’t get credit for it either. Bill Payne’s keyboard work on this was way ahead of everyone else and Lowell George gave him all the room he needed to shape this track in a way that had never been heard previously. It’s hard not to recall Lowell singing, “A milquetoast Hitler ain’t no velvet glove…” either. A beacon in the past to the electronica of today, early genius unfurled.

3. “Playground” — XTC

I’ve always thought that if The Beatles had gotten over their musical differences that they might have sounded similar to this band, which stepped in to continue what the Fab Four started. The most exemplary track is “Towers Of London,” certainly a synonym for The Beatles from the Revolver-like Black Sea album. This track also shows that inclination, but with more XTC-ness than Beatality (if I may invent a word for this purpose). They started out in Lennon-Land, but soon found themselves thick in the clutches of co-bandleader Andy Partridge, who surely knew where to go here. This is from late-period XTC but reminds us how much The Beatles were a part of that band. Thanks for listening/reading and welcome to 2013!

This column originally appeared on The Morton Report. Click for more great selections from Al Kooper! As always, show some love to the Morton Report!

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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