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Supertramp

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Album Review

Progressive in texture for the most part, Supertramp's debut album became increasingly disregarded as they blossomed commercially through the '70s. The album was the only one on which drummer Bob Miller and guitarist Richard Palmer appeared, replaced by Kevin Currie and Frank Farrell for the Indelibly Stamped release which surfaced a year later. Quite a bit different than their radio and AOR material, Supertramp is inundated with pretentious instrumental meandering, with greater emphasis and attention granted to the keyboards and guitars than to the writing and to the overall effluence of the music. There are some attractive moments, such as the mixture of ardor and subtlety that arises in "Words Unspoken," "Surely," and "Nothing to Show," and some of the fusion that erupts throughout the 12 minutes of "Try Again" is impressive even though the whole of the track results in one of the most extravagant and overblown pieces the band has ever produced. Hodgson's use of cello, flageolet, and acoustic guitar is endearing in spots, and while both he and Davies had just recently formed their alliance, it was evident that their songwriting was going to be one of the band's strengths. Ultimately dissatisfied with the results of the album, they retorted with Indelibly Stamped, which disappointingly followed suit. It wasn't until 1974's Crime of the Century that things began to improve for Supertramp, when they replaced Farrell and Currie with saxman John Helliwell, bass player Dougie Thompson, and drummer Bob Benberg.

Customer Reviews

surprisingly

This is a remarkably fine album. It's a long way from "Breakfast in America" and "It's Raining Again" and is the only output from Supertramp Mk.1. A really interesting selection of songs, some sweet, some experimental, some blues, some prog, but nearly all in the minor key, which I think is the main difference. "It's a Long Road" and "Nothing to Show" are the standouts: real urgency and fluid bluesy playing. There's a lovely dark organ sound throughout instead of the incessant electric piano of "Dreamer" onwards, and guitarist/lyricist Richard Palmer (who left after this album) contributes interesting stuff to the blend. The bass playing is excellent - by Roger Hodgson, who subsequently left the bass playing to others. And no sax solos! I recommend this album to everyone, especially those that think they don't like Supertramp.

Great Album

I don't know who writes the main reviews (not the customer reviews), but they have it wrong and I suggest that they re-immerse themselves in their sax classics collection.. This is the only Supertramp album worth listening to. Obviously the subtle variations of the drumming and bass playing during the "pretentious" (as the reviewer writes) parts are musically lost on him/her. influences as varied as Bach take the musicianship to a very high level. Excellent.

Better than you Might Think

I have been listening to this band for over 30 years and must admit that i have a strong bais towards Supertramp's 'classic' era that spanned from the Crime album up to Breakfast. This album is the place to go and appreciate how it all began. A common theme of Supertramp albums is the outstanding production values. This is missing from this album but it does not suffer unduly. Instead you pick up a flavour of what the 70s really sounded like. The album is slow to get going but once it does - wow. Supertramp went for their music and this is no exception. It's not cultivated, it's not pretty, but boy - it rocks! Once track 5 begins i find myself hooked until the end. It's all a little raw but there are moments of pure listening pleasure. 'Surely' is short but if you didn't know any better you'd think it came off the Crisis or Crime albums. Buy it if you want the complete picture.

Biography

Formed: 1969 in England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Supertramp followed an unusual path to commercial success in the 1970s, fusing the stylistic ambition and instrumental dexterity of progressive rock with the wit and tuneful melodies of British pop, and the results made them one of the most popular British acts of the '70s and ‘80s, topping the charts and filling arenas around the world at a time when their style of music was supposed to have fallen out of fashion. Supertramp was formed in 1969 by pianist and vocalist Rick Davies. Davies had been...
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Supertramp, Supertramp
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