Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren's Johnson Live

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Todd Rundgren's Johnson, his 2011 tribute to the legendary bluesman Robert, was a weirdly stiff two-man affair (Todd played everything apart from bass, leaving that to Kasim Sulton), so this 2013 live album -- recorded in 2010, around the time Rundgren was making the album in the studio -- is a bit of a welcome corrective. Playing with the new millennial lineup of Utopia -- Sulton, drummer Prairie Prince, and guitarist Jesse Gress -- Rundgren runs through the bulk of Johnson's original work, spiking the set list with a few Todd originals of early-'70s vintage ("Bleeding," "I Went to the Mirror," "I Saw the Light," "Boogies [Hamburger Hell]"). What this means is that this is an old-fashioned hard 'n' heavy blooz concert, the kind of guitar-heavy affair they (but not Utopia) used to do back in the '70s. It's fun because it is a throwback and because it is lively, unlike the studio version of Todd Rundgren's Johnson.

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