Supertramp (Selftitled Album)



Review by Mike DeGagne
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, replacing Farrell and Currie with saxman John Helliwell, bass player Dougie Thompson, and drummer Bob Benberg.


Comment in Amazon : The Psychedelic Supertramp
Reviewer: Alan Caylow (USA)

This is the 1970 self-titled album that started it all for Supertramp (NOT "Crime Of The Century," which many U.S. fans mistake as the group's debut disc). Some fans may be in for a shock when hearing this album for the first time, as it's by far the most psychedelic, art-rock album in the band's catalog. There's no trace of jazz leanings or saxophone anywhere, OR any lead vocals by Rick Davies (though he does play), and lots and lots of organ. There's even a brief detour into avant-garde experimental noodling. It's a far cry from "Breakfast In America," but don't let that throw you off. This is an absolutely fantastic album, one of the band's best. Believe me, you've never heard Supertramp ROCK like this before. For the first line-up of Supertramp, singer/guitarist Roger Hodgson and keyboardist Rick Davies are joined by bassist Richard Palmer & drummer Bob Miller (and, as already mentioned, there's no sax player yet). This four-piece version of Supertramp is outstanding, and their 1970 debut album is a stunning one. After the short-but-sweet acoustic intro of "Surely," the band rip into "It's A Long Road," a totally cookin', punchy rocker that never fails to amaze. The instrumental bridge alone is mesmerizing, with the band locking into their instruments like a four-headed machine, but from the first note to the last, this song is a true unsung 'Tramp classic. After the brief organ intro of "Au Bade" comes "And I'm Not Like Other Birds Of Prey," a lovely Hodgson number. "Words Unspoken" is a simply dreamy tune, and "Maybe I'm A Beggar," featuring bassist Palmer on co-lead vocals with Hodgson, is another psychedelic gem. Hodgson's "Home Again" is brief but very nice. The band continue rocking out with gusto on "Nothing To Show," and "Shadow Song" is another winning ballad from Hodgson. Then comes the album's centerpiece, "Try Again," a 12-minute art-rock masterwork that, like "It's A Long Road," allows the band to really flex their muscles (and it also gives them a brief, experimental King Crimson-ish moment toward the end---strange, but it works). It's a jaw-droppingly great piece, another 'Tramp buried treasure. Finally, the band concludes with a longer version of "Surely," and it's a fine album-closer. From beginning to end, the band's chemistry here is superb. Hodgson's falsetto voice, like always, is wonderful, and he plays a mean guitar on this one. Rick Davies has yet to show the world his vocal abilities, but his keyboard/organ playing throughout is awesome. And, in their only album with the band, Richard Palmer's bass is big and firm (and his vocals on "Maybe I'm A Beggar" are quite good as well), while Bob Miller is a pure powerhouse on the skins.I love all of the band's music, but "Supertramp" really stands apart from the rest of their work, and in more ways than one. I sincerely hope that 'Trampheads who still think that the band started with "Crime Of The Century" will pick up this album (as well as the band's second disc, "Indelibly Stamped"). Until they do, they are totally missing out on something special here. "Supertramp" is Hodgson, Davies & company as you've never heard them before, and never will again. As the band's lone detour into psychedelic rock, it sure is different, but it is totally outstanding stuff.

Tracks Title ······ Composer ········· Time

1 ······ Surely ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 0:31

2 ······ It's a Long Road ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 5:33

3 ······ Aubade and I Am Not Like the Other Birds of Prey ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 5:17

4 ······ Words Unspoken ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 3:59

5 ······ Mayber I'm a Beggar ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 6:44

6 ······ Home Again ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 1:15

7 ······ Nothing to Show ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 4:53

8 ······ Shadow Song ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 4:23

9 ······ Try Again ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 12:02

10 ······ Surely ······ Davies, Hodgson, Palmer ······ 3:08

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