Yale's coed a capella group Mixed Company has taken this 1985 Todd Rundgren tune (from his album "A Cappella") and turned it into a perennial favorite on the Yale campus and everywhere they tour. The bluesy feel is not that far of a stretch from classical doo wop (it's got a little more swing if done properly), and as a result is easy for freshmen to learn, but complex enough to still be fun for the seniors. This jives well--no pun intended--with the theme of the song. It's a call to the Hodja, the wise teacher: teach me to sing, teach me to dance. Teach me to let go of the basics and transcend the tune; show me how to spin.

Todd Rundgren's version, on the other hand, sounds like a bizarre Queen ripoff. Which is not to say the groove isn't still there. It's just that the vocals--obviously studio doctored--are all Todd. It's Todd singing the high parts, Todd on the low notes, Todd singing with Todd in the middle and doing a great job on those tough chord changes. It's wall to wall Todd, and that's a little much for me. Groovy, yes, but the Mr. Roboto-slash-Bohemian Rhapsody feel doesn't compare to a chorus of college kids singing their hearts out, begging for someone to teach them how to feel the groove.

The song appears on one Todd Rundgren album, and almost every Mixed Company album. You can tell which one I prefer, but don't let that color your opinion--listen to them both. The Mixed Company version is done as a call and response; a soloist takes the plain lines and a chorus responds . On the Todd Rundgren version, well... it's all Todd.


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