Runt + Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
Of all of Edsel's 2011 Todd Rundgren reissues, their double-disc set of Runt and The Ballad of Todd Rundgren has the most enticing bonus material. Ballad is expanded by four live tracks -- "Broke Down and Busted" live from Carnegie Hall in 1972, then "Believe in Me," "Be Nice to Me," and "Hold Me Tight" from a live broadcast in June 1971 -- but the real news is the first reissue of a scrapped alternate version of Runt that briefly appeared in 1970. This version contains significantly different, not necessarily better, mixes of "Believe in Me," "We Gotta Get You a Woman," "Devil's Bite," and "Birthday Carol," a version of "Broke Down and Busted" with "There Are No Words" used as an introduction, a full-length version of "Baby Let's Swing," an early version of "Hope I'm Around" that's considerably more forceful than what wound up on Ballad, and, finally, the abandoned "Say No More." While nothing here eclipses what was on the finished Runt -- all the finished mixes are better than the ones here -- it's nevertheless necessary for Todd fanatics, particularly for the slightly awkward "Hope I'm Around," the extended "Baby Let's Swing," and "Say No More," even if it's easy to see why the latter was cut from Runt.