The Road To Utopia-The Complete Recordings 1974-82 Original Recording Masters
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Audio CD, Limited Edition, April 20, 2018
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*CELEBRATE THE 2018 REUNION TOUR OF TODD RUNDGREN and UTOPIA WITH FRIDAY MUSIC! *THE COMPLETE TODD RUNDGREN - UTOPIA RECORDINGS 1974-82 *7 CD BOX SET: INDIVIDUAL DIGI-PAK GATEFOLD ART *15 BONUS TRACKS *NEW 2018 WRITTEN COMMENTARY FROM TODD RUNDGREN, KASIM SULTON, WILLIE WILCOX and ROGER POWELL * PRODUCED BY TODD RUNDGREN & UTOPIA *MASTERED IMPECCABLY BY JOE REAGOSO (TODD RUNDGREN) *LIVE NATION – SIRIUS XM SPONSORED TOUR BEGINS APRIL 2018
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First the good news--the mastering is pretty good here by Joe Reagoso who owns Friday Music. It's nice to see someone on a mainstream release actually care about the sound of the music. It's also nice that Friday Music also provided bonus tracks (various mono mixes, live tracks, b-sides, etc.) some of which haven't been released (or were on limited edition CDs) before.
Each album is packaged in a digipak with original lyrics/credits printed on the cardboard gatefold inner sleeve. All seven of the albums are in a very thin cardboard package. The problem with this design is that it's so small it's impossible to read. Would it have hurt Friday Music to have provided a booklet with comments by the band, a little history and lyrics large enough to read (for example the credits and lyrics on "Ra" because of the design are impossible to read). I know I'm old fashioned but if you're going to provide lyrics at least make the effort to make them readable.
The "comments" mentioned in the advertisement for this set implies that a booklet is included. It's not. On the back of each digipak is a brief comment by Todd, Roger Powell, Kasim Sulton or Willie Wilcox on the album. I appreciate the comment but maybe provide a little bit more information. This has been a problem with almost all of Friday Music's CD reissues--accurately reproduced artwork, lyrics and credits that are so tiny that you'd go blind trying to read them.
Kudos to Friday Music for making this music available again with remastered sound (that's pretty good) and for providing bonus tracks. A few demerits for the presentation of the packaging (while the music IS what matters, it's the entire package that also matters). With a bit more effort, Friday Music could be one of the best reissue labels out there.
Friday Music provides fans with the Road to Utopia even if the presentation doesn't quite achieve it. This is a nice set if you don't have all of Utopia's music or if you are replacing it.
Here’s a disappointment and just a few observations
1. My Adentures In Utopia sleeve contained a disc of DefaceThe Music hence giving me duplicates and having to return the entire box to complete the set.
2. Some bonus tracks are mislabeled. On the first Todd Rundgren’s Utopia disc, bonus track on download screen says “Star Trek Theme” when it’s actually a live version of “Open My Eyes”. On Oops! Wrong Planet, bonus shows as “Love Is The Answer” live but is actually just the mono promo single version.
3. On Ra, Deface The Music and Swing To The Right I had to manually enter in all track information and album art.
All that aside, I will be in listening heaven for weeks to come, right up until showtime on June 4th!