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Ra and + Oops! Wrong Planet Import

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 11, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered two CD set containing a pair of albums from Todd Rundgren's Pop/Prog quartet: Ra and Oops! Wrong Planet, both released in 1977. The classic Prog album Ra, featured 18 minute epic 'Singring And the Glass Guitar' and the disturbing 'Hiroshima'. Supported by an extravagant Egyptian-themed European tour, the album became Rundgren's highest charting UK album. The swift follow-up album Oops! Wrong Planet was a completely different affair, containing 12 short songs, a mixture of Pop and Heavy Rock, but ending with another of Todd's anthems 'Love Is the Answer'. The package contains ephemera and rare photos, all the lyrics, and extensive notes by Paul Myers, extracted from his recent definitive book on Todd Rundgren a Wizard, a True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture: Mountaintop and Sunrise/Communion with the Sun
  2. Magic Dragon Theatre
  3. Jealousy
  4. Eternal Love
  5. Sunburnt Finish
  6. Hiroshima
  7. Singring and the Glass Guitar (An Electrified Fairytale)

Disc: 2

  1. Trapped
  2. Windows
  3. Love in Action
  4. Crazy Lady Blue
  5. Back on the Street
  6. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
  7. The Matyr
  8. Abandon City
  9. Gangrene
  10. My Angel
  11. Rape of the Young
  12. Love is the Answer


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Edsel Bearsville
  • ASIN: B005J4CC8U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,468 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric Lund on December 3, 2011
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Up front advisory: I'm a huge Todd Rundgren fan and have purchased everything this guy has put out since 1970. That means I already owned these two Utopia disks when they were released in the 1980's. You can go to each individual album on Amazon for a review of the actual music (though this release doesn't have the bonus tracks contained on a few of the others), but I just wanted to comment on the quality of the sound and the nice packaging of this two-album re-release. If you are new to Todd and Utopia or simply buying new copies for your collection- this is a nice priced and well packaged set.
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Todd Rundgren finally pared down Utopia to a tight four piece unit by 1977. However, this didn't stop him from issuing one last blast of goofy '70s prog rock known as Ra. The back cover of the original LP featured the band dressed in Egyptian garb. The live show featured a huge pyramid on stage that Todd would scale and solo away on. There was also a huge Sphinx, ankh-shaped guitars, the full works. It was pretty darned goofy.

The album itself isn't half bad. Yet again, Todd manages to create one solid half of an LP, while he seems to just lose it on the other. I've always really enjoyed the first side of Ra. "Communion with the Sun" works perfectly as a mini prog anthem. The vocal harmonies are great, Roger Powell's keyboard work is tasty, Kasim Sulton's bass work proves why he was asked to join the band, and Todd gets to do his thing on guitar. Great opener.

"Magic Dragon Theatre" is another nod to Todd's obsession with the Gilbert and Sullivan style of songwriting. It's slight, but it still sticks in your skull. "Jealousy" is one of Utopia's greatst rockers, bar none and features Willie Wilcox onlead vocals spitting out the words with a sort of greasy bravado that Todd would never bother trying. "Eternal Love" is the token pretty tune of the album, and "Sunburst Finish" lets Powell do his turn at the mic singing frilly lyrics about the Sphinx and other Egyptian delights.

Had the concept stopped there and the band cranked out some rocking tunes on the second half, Ra would be a classic. Unfortunately, we get the bombastically silly "Hiroshima" (with one of the worst choruses ever penned) and the barely-a-concept "Singring and the Glass Guitar (An Electrified Fairytale)" which acts as nothing but a piece for all the band members do have an extended solo.
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Utopia's Ra was first released on February 4th, 1977. Tt was the first Utopia album as a quartet as well as the first to feature Kasim Sulton as a member of the band. It was also the first Utopia album without Todd Rundgren's Utopia as well as the first to have other lead vocalists.

The album opens with Overture: Mountaintop And Sunrise by Bernard Herrmann before dropping into Todd's rocking Communion With The Sun. Todd and Kas teamed up to write the catchy but lyrically strange Magic Dragon Theatre. Next, up Willie takes the lead vocal for Jealousy. The mood changes as we get Eternal Love sung by Kas which is written by Roger and Kas. It's also the only song on the album that Todd doesn't get any songwriting credit on. Roger rounds out the first side with Sunburst Finish. The second half of the album is even better than the first, opening with a powerful song called Hiroshima. The album finishes with the epic Singring and the Glass Guitar (An Electrified Fairytale) clocking in at eighteen and a half minutes with each band member as a different character battling earth, fire, water, and wind to free the muse trapped by an evil fairy in a glass guitar. Eddy Offord (Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer) does some engineering on this album.

Utopia's Oops! Wrong Planet was first released in October 1977 and was the band's second album of the year. It also showed the band's continuing moving away from the more progressive sound of the first two albums. Kas also plays a major part singing lead or co vocals on a fair amount of the album.

The album opens with Todd's high energy Trapped. Sung by both Kas and Todd with it's "if you don't stand for something then you're gonna be trapped in a world that you never made". A message that flows throughout the album.
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Really like Oops, Ra I have to get used to. For Ra my head has to be in a place it isn't in much these days. But I can see myself enjoying it here and there. However the guitar is abundant and a guitar lovers album. I really have to listen to it more to say .
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I am going to have to review these albums separately. Ra is an alright album, I mainly remember it for the crazy tour with the pyramid that Todd would climb at the climax of the show and then jump off while playing guitar. The album though is not at all bad but one of the weaker Utopia albums. Oops wrong planet is one of the best for sure, I can listen to it straight through without skipping a track. One of the highlights of the Oops album is the vocals, really great harmony as well. The fact that you can get them both together is a plus. The one thing that I remember being disappointed about is the some of the great artwork from Ra wasn't included in the booklet when there was room cuz there was other stuff that should have been left out if it came down to it. On the back of the record it had the band in goofy Egyptian poses and that was left off of this cd release. I guess only a die hard Todd fan like me would notice or care.
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