Supertramp
Supertramp


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (159 Reviews)
December 21st, 2020 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Supertramp’s debut album is different of the mid-late 70’s/80’s stuff. But it still is a great underrated album.

“Supertramp” is the eponymous debut studio album of Supertramp and was released in 1970. The line up on the album is Roger Hodgson, Rick Davies, Richard Palmer-James and Robert Millar.


Supertramp is a British progressive rock band formed in 1969 under the name of Daddy, before changing their name to Supertramp, in the early of 1970, inspired by a book of William Henry Davies, “The Autobiography Of A Super-Tramp”. Sponsored by the Dutch millionaire Stanley August Miesegaes, the vocalist and pianist Rick Davies put an ad on the Melody Maker looking for members for the band’s line up, in 1969. Rick Davies saw join to him the vocalist and guitarist Roger Hodgson, the vocalist and guitarist Richard Palmer-James and the drummer and percussionist Robert Millar.

Thought their music was initially categorised as progressive rock, they have soon incorporated a combination of more traditional rock, art rock and pop into their music. The band’s work is mainly marked by the great inventive songwriting of Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies and the very distinctive and unique voice of Roger Hodgson. Supertramp soon would enjoy great critical and commercial success when they incorporated a more conventional musical approach with radio-friendly elements into their music, in the late of the 70’s. Because of that, they became known as one of the best and most successful progressive rock bands, selling more than 60 million albums in the world, reaching their peak of commercial success with their sixth studio album “Breakfast In America”, which has sold more than 20 million copies.

“Supertramp” was sometimes released under the name of “Now And Then”. This is in general considered one of their albums that feature more progressive characteristics, in their entire career, having long instrumental passages and with emphasis on keyboards and guitars. “Supertramp” is the only album of the band that includes the participation of Richard Palmer-James, as a band’s member, who acts as a lyricist in addition to playing other musical instruments. Later he became the lyricist of King Crimson. Robert Millar also acts only on this album from the group, as drummer. He unfortunately suffered a mental breakdown and left the band shortly after the departure of Richard Palmer-James.

“Supertramp” is quite a bit different than some of their later radio and AOR musical material. It’s inundated with some 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. All music was written by Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies and all lyrics were written by Richard Palmer-James. The album is bookended by the two “Surely” musical pieces, which gives to it a kind of a conceptual air. Despite all the tracks are good, I really think that the tenth track “Try Again” deserves a very special mention. In the first place it’s very rare to see a Supertramp’s song with more than 10 minutes. In their entire musical career, only three songs have more than 10 minutes. Only “Brother Where You Bound” and “Fool’s Overture” have that in common with this one. In the second place “Try Again” represents the best moment on the album. This is basically a progressive ballad expanded to making of it a sort of a great epic track. It has really a great, moody and melancholic chorus based around some nice vocal harmonies specific of Roger Hodgson, and has an excellent screechy guitar solo, too. This is, in reality, a well made track but it also shows that the band needed some more time to develop their music. So, we can’t expect of it the same quality level and the maturity of “Fool’s Overture” or even of “Brother Where You Bound”. But the rest of the tracks are all in general good. There are some attractive moments too, such as the mixture of ardour and subtlety that arises in “Words Unspoken”, “Surely” and “Nothing To Show”, there are some tasty emotional acoustic songs like “Home Again” and the decent rockers “It’s A Long Road” and “Maybe I’m A Beggar”. These are catchy songs with convincing riffs, good vocals, engaging lyrics and nice instrumental passages.


Conclusion: “Supertramp” represents a different start, so different that someone who doesn’t know enough well the story of the beginning of the band doesn’t recognize this album as a true album of Supertramp. It’s very different from their next releases, because this is an album more in the vein of “Trespass” of Genesis or “The Aerosol Grey Machine” of Van Der Graaf Generator. “Supertramp” is strangely a very interesting and curious album, because and despite its simplicity and naivety, it’s in general, an album much more progressive than some latter efforts from the band. “Supertramp” is a good album, very well balanced and with a musical purity that no more could be presented in any other album from them. Because of that, this is an album that reminds me, very often, “Trespass” of Genesis. Concluding, “Supertramp” is a very nice album for a debut album. However, it’s far from being a great album because it has some weaknesses. But it’s definitely better than some of the other studio albums made by them in their last years.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (67)
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
December 21st 2020


3158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

To close 2020, a bad year in general to the world but actually good for me in terms of reviews, I think the best of all with 30 reviews, I'm going to bring here not properly a classic prog album but an album of a classic prog band. It's true that the debut album of Supertramp isn't a masterpiece and that even isn't one of their best albums. But, it still is, for me a great debut of them, a great debut for any band. It's also true that it shows a band looking for their path, but it also shows the seeds for what they would become. Maybe it can be their most naive album, but maybe it also can be their proggier album, despite it flaws.

So, I hope you can revisit it again, I think it deserves that. It's a simple album with some beautiful music, an album indicated for this festive season. Besides, strangely, this hadn't a review yet on Sputnik. It deserves to have finaly one.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all Sputnik community, with a very special emphasis for my supporters. I sincerelly hope for a better year.

We'll see us here again in 2021 with more prog stuff. Cheers.

Nagrarok
December 21st 2020


8645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's great that you're giving this a first review. This (as well as their second album) aren't bad, but of course they really hit their stride with Crime of the Century.

e210013
December 21st 2020


3158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Absolutely. Crime Of The Century is their greatest masterpiece. Anyway, in my opinion this one is a bit better than their sophomore album.

Thanks, pal. It's nice to see you around here.

Nagrarok
December 21st 2020


8645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That I agree with; this is the better of the two.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
December 22nd 2020


22829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album, thanks for reviewing it!

Digging: Pom Poko - Cheater

Jethro42
December 22nd 2020


16200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

AH! Nag's sighting! Nice to see you again, buddy[2]

There were a time where I had the possibility to listen to their first two albums, but now, it seems I couldn't find any streaming via internet anymore.



I've read your review a bit fast, will read again, but I already give you a pos.

e210013
December 22nd 2020


3158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You're welcome Dewinged. Thanks for your gentle words and pos my friend.

e210013
December 22nd 2020


3158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't know that problem Jethro, since I've the CD's of both albums. No problem bro. You can read it carefully when once you have some more time free.

Meanwhile, thanks for the comment and pos.

TheIntruder
December 22nd 2020


499 Comments


Nice to see a review of this. I need to check it. Great review. Have a pos.

e210013
December 22nd 2020


3158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks pal. Do that.

Jethro42
December 28th 2020


16200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This and Idelibly Stamped appear on Youtube finally. I'm listening to Supertramp Supertramp atm. Will give my opinion eventually.

Jethro42
December 28th 2020


16200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's quite different and less mature than Crime of the Century and onward, and it's closer from classic rock than their progressive pop identity. I confess I enjoy it a lot with each listens. Lots of creativity in there, and a taste of things to come.

e210013
December 29th 2020


3158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with you my friend. This is an album that went almost completely unnoticed in relation to their following works. It's probably more prog and less commercial, but certainly more naive and pure and less pop than many of their latter things. I think it's a pleasure to listen to it, a simple album, even after so many years. It remains for me a great debut, better than many debuts of so many other great bands.



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