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Supertramp - Indelibly Stamped CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.64 | 220 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Not making much of an impression

The first challenge with this album is to get past the unnecessarily tasteless sleeve, which not only puts you off buying the album, but sadly also misrepresents the contents.

Prior to the formation of Supertramp, Rodger Hodgson had worked under the band name Argosy, which comprised of Hodgson, plus the required session musicians. One of these session musicians was Reginald Dwight, who later changed his name to Elton John, and the rest as they say, is history. While working in London on his Argosy project, Hodgson met up with Rick Davies, Supertramp was formed, and their credible first album appeared.

While the band would go on to find worldwide acclaim and success with their masterpiece "Crime of the century" and subsequent albums, "Indelibly stamped" represents the period when they were still paying their dues.

Although the Hodgson/Davies core of the band would last for many albums, the rest of the line up has completely changed here, and will change again before the next album is recorded. Davies takes on a much greater role for this album than he did for the debut, to the extent that he dominates the vocals and thus by implication the song writing (the credits are shared Lennon- McCartney style). The music here therefore points towards the style of the post Hodgson era Supertramp more than it does the albums which would immediately follow this one.

The opening "Your poppa don't mind" is a straightforward upbeat blues pop song with a catchy rhythm and a ubiquitous theme. "Travelled" sees Roger Hodgson contributing his first lead vocal, the song sounding a little like Simon and Garfunkel or Steven Stills. The song builds nicely for an acoustic start to a repetitive sax backed finale. Likewise, " Rosie Had Everything Planned" has a similar folk flavour but is a less distinguished song.

"Remember" and "Forever" contains real hints of the direction Davies would have taken the band in sooner, had Hodgson not been present to steady the ship. "Remember" moves from a slow blues into a jazzy workout, while "Forever" is a softer pop blues.

"Potter" is interesting only because neither Davies or Hodgson seem to be singing. Frank Farrell and Dave Winthrop are both credited on the album as vocalists, so presumably one of them has been afforded a very rare foray to centre stage. Unfortunately, the song is instantly forgettable (perhaps why the Roger and Rick passed on it!). "Coming Home to see you" is one of the album's more interesting songs, with a fine instrumental shuffle section to end, where the band members take turn on lead instrument.

The final track, "Aires" is the only song of notable length here, running to about 7 minutes. This flute driven blues shuffle is quite different from, and far more progressive than, the rest of the album. The track has similarities with songs by bands such as The Doors, Family and Traffic from late 1960's/ early 70's and also the Strawbs early days.

In all, it is not too difficult to see why Supertramp had to wait for their next album for their breakthrough. The coherence and quality which made "Crime of the century" one of the finest albums ever made are largely absent here. In their place we have a nave, almost quaint collection of songs which are pleasant but by and large entirely forgettable.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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