Although the liner notes state that the real first recordings were done when Moogy Klingman was 15 and 16 years of age, this almost hour's-worth of music -- including first demos, a lost tape, unreleased rehearsals, and duets with Todd Rundgren and Buzzy Linhart -- is an essential look at the professional beginnings of this essential musician. The liners also note that "many of (the first recordings) became the basis for Moogy's first album"; that they stand up so well outside of their historical importance (and the valuable notations in the CD booklet/lyric sheet) says something about the power of initial recordings before they are "processed" and the strength of these very musical people. Although versions of "(You Got to Have) Friends" are on both Klingman's Old Tmes, Good Times: A Musical History, Part 1 and Buzzy Linhart's The Buzzy/Moogy Sessions, 1983-1994, this naïve early take duet with Buzzy is just great, as is the duet with Rundgren on "Crying in the Sunshine." There are two versions of "Kindness," a superb gospel chorus on "The Man at Ease," and undeniable vocal presence on songs like "I Can Love" and "Making the Rounds at Midnight." "Dust in the Wind" is real pre-Utopia stuff, with bassist John Siegler, Moogy, and Todd Rundgren all involved with this take. These recordings were tracked a full 30 years before Moogy Klingman would bring bassist Even Steven and Kevin Ellman, the original Utopia drummer, together for Klingman's second edition of Utopia, a band called Freak Parade. For fans of Utopia, Rick Derringer, and Rundgren, this is as true a find as 2001's Take Your Place in the Freak Parade. For the rest of the world, Moogy Klingman's document of his first legit recordings is a look at material that was covered by Carly Simon, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Thelma Houston, Brethren, Buzzy Linhart, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, and many others. Unlike artists who have peaks and valleys, Klingman is one of the few who can keep hitting it out of the park with very little effort. He is truly one of the most unrecognized major talents in the music industry, and these lost tapes are highly enjoyable and well-produced gems that deserve to be heard by a new audience.
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AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione