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Nazz — Lost Masters & Demos
(Purple Pyramid CLO3203, 1968/2022, 2CD / 3LP)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-04-22

Lost Masters & Demos Cover art

“Open My Eyes” endures as one of the great singles of the psychedelic era. It was also the music world’s introduction to a guy named Todd Rundgren. The band only released two albums during its run, plus one after they’d split up, with Rundgren going on to success as a solo artist. One of his most famous songs, “Hello It’s Me,” had appeared in a different version on the first Nazz album. The Nazz albums have all recently been reissued in The Complete Nazz box set, which includes a substantial number of bonus tracks, including alternate takes, demos, and single mixes. With Lost Masters & Demos, we get even more of that “bonus material.” This 3CD set includes 43 tracks, constituting various versions of 29 different songs. It’s a little unclear how many, if any, of these are the same alternate versions as appeared in The Complete Nazz, but it is clear from the track listings that the majority are unique to this set. Perhaps the booklet (which was not available to review) would clarify. There is one song, “Get Outta Here,” which doesn’t seem to have been on any previous release, though it apprently became “Rain Rider.” After the release of Nazz, when the band started working on their second album, the idea was to record a 2LP set, with Rundgren taking on an expanded role in engineering and production. 26 songs were chosen and recorded to various states of completion, but the ambitious project was scaled down to a single LP with eleven tracks. The remainder surfaced as the posthumous Nazz III. The original running order is presented here for the first time, likely in more or less the same versions as have already been released. The remainder of the tunes are sourced from “recently discovered acetates” recorded at various studios.

With this wealth of material, it’s clear that Nazz should have been a big thing in their day — this is such a treasure trove of great late-60s rock that any fan of the era’s music should have a blast sifting through it. Two main questions need to be addressed. First: Can Lost Masters & Demos function as an alternative to The Complete Nazz for a newbie? The answer is clearly “No,” since many of the original album tracks are missing here. Second: If I have The Complete Nazz, do I really need Lost Masters & Demos? This one is harder to answer. If you have Complete and really love it, go for it. But if you’re satisfied, you can be confident that you know what Nazz was all about. Lost fills in the band’s legacy in both depth and breadth, but doesn’t alter the overall quality. I’m certainly glad I have it, but I’m maybe a bit on the obsessive side...

Filed under: Archives, 2022 releases, 1968 recordings

Related artist(s): Todd Rundgren, Nazz

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