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Supertramp - Indelibly Stamped CD (album) cover

INDELIBLY STAMPED

Supertramp

Crossover Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
1 stars 1.5 stars really!

This sinks deep into the sea of oblivion and really should be avoided. The group almost broke-up after this one but happily they did not, as they made their best work after a complete reshuffle. Their Dutch millionaire mentor gave up after this lacklustre effort. All is not all that negative as I make it out to be though, despite a horrible tattoo artwork on a no-less chilling pair of breast. BTW, I've seen this cover in b&w and in colour.

I'm not going to spend too much time on this set list, but the songwriting is very poor, compared to Supertramp's later works and even compared to their earlier album. Inevitably the proghead's stare is attracted by the closing Aries track, which hovers around the 8-mins track. Indeed; it is the best track of the album with a superb flute sound, but the last three minutes are just the band jamming lightly, therefore instilling a light overstaying its welcome, if it was on any other album that this dud. Rosie could've been another good track if it wasn't for the worst accordion ever played. The shorter track Travelled has a Hodgson feeling that I can't dispel, but let's face it... it's pure pop.

Best avoided, but I guess completists will always find it a saving grace, and let's face it, the closing Aries track I mention could almost justify not hating this album.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#6685)
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars This week I listened to this album again. And I have to say: it's not very special at all. Sometimes it has a little bit the same mood as their first (much better) album, but most songs don't impress me.

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Send comments to Eb.Eb. (BETA) | Report this review (#6683)
Posted Friday, February 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I prefer this album more than their first. If in their first album Rogerr Hodgson sang all songs, in this album Rick Davies sang most of the songs. This album is more oriented to blues, and sometimes they show the influence of Traffic (in songs sung by Hodgson like "Rosie had everything planned", "Travelled" and "Aries"). I like this album very much. It was originally released in L.P. with a gatefold cover. I bought my L.P. copy in 1982, and it doesn`t have the gatefold cover. This album is more in the style of Rick Davies, but Roger Hodgson`s songs are good too. An album not very progressive, but good.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#6688)
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Perhaps the most unusual of all Supertramp albums and you can see why it threw so many people. It has a rough edge to it, was totally different to the excellent debut but I will defend that in parts it has some great tracks which showed an inkling of better things to come.' Rosie Has Everything Planned' is a typical Hodgson song full of melancholy. ' Travelled' another soft ballad until it builds to quite a rocking climax.On side 2 Rick Davies has a bit more influence on tracks like ' A friend in Need' and the seven minute ' Aries'. ' Potter' is one of the most unusual tracks they have ever done. Remember without this Crime of the Century probably would not have happened. A good album for greater works in progress.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#6689)
Posted Monday, September 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cytoxan4@hotm
3 stars This album isnt too bad. cant say its too good by supertramps standards though. it is early in hodgeson's and davie's career, and this is an experimentive album; as is the debut album. like i said not too shbby. anybody who threw out theri copy of this album, give it another listen.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#6691)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Weak and toughtless work from our beloved. This album only deserves some listening from Supertramp completionists and pop lovers. Some pieces are not bad (eg. I don't dislike "Travelled", exp. in its repeated final), but it is hard to begin listening a work beginning with the awful "your Popa don't mind"...! Certainly some step back from the previous, since generally I consider "surely" (as somewhere else called) or "supertramp" a very good album. Nevertheless, good things came soon after.

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Send comments to NIC* (BETA) | Report this review (#40681)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars The second album of Supertramp. One of worst. After promising "the Supertramp", the group delivers an album without heart to us. No genius. The keyboards are soft. The magic "Davies-Hodson" does not operate. Some pieces like "Aries" are not too bad.   The best will come after (Crime of Century, Even In the Quietest Moments and even Breakfast In America). A true failure. But not the shipwreck after the departure of Hodgson.

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Send comments to miedj (BETA) | Report this review (#46940)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hmm..after several listens this album is starting to grow on me. Some tracks are beginning to stand out, like "Rosie had everything planned" and "Travelled". The melancholy of these songs are appealing.I can also sense the ghost of things to be in the first part of "Coming home to see you" and especially "Times have changed", both sounding vaguely like the band that made the classic "Crime of the century".

What mars this album are throwaway ditties like "Your poppa don't mind", "Potter", "Friend in need", and the uninteresting attempts at blues jamming in "Aries". Those songs go nowhere. The rest isn't too bad!

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Send comments to brainway (BETA) | Report this review (#82668)
Posted Tuesday, July 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second album of SUPERTRAMP ranks among the lowest rating albums of a famous prog band, so Prog Archives seems not to be an exception! Given that the band split upon its release, "Indelibly Stamped" is generally considered so bad that it flopped commercially and thus making the band a history. However, the time passed calls for a re-listening of this work in order to be more objective.

There is no doubt that this album failed to attract the rock audience of the time and it was surely "under-written". But honestly, I just re-listened it several times and cannot see why is it considered so bad. I admit a "special relation" to this album, because it was one of my first listening experience during the period when I started discovering prog and other classic rock of early 1970s. A friend got an LP, from who knows where, and I had a taped version on a cassette. It is clear that this album is seemingly a random collection of songs, so diverse that it often sounds so strange. "Is this all from the same band?" one could ask! Unlike the debut, where the leader was obviously Roger Hodgson, here we have Rick Davies and his piano in the frontline of most of the songs. He brought an inspiration from American-style jazz, blues and soul music into SUPERTRAMP, and one can notice early pieces of what would become their trademark style in the following successful albums; notably - electric piano, aggressive Davies' baritone with harmonica and introduction of saxophones courtesy of Dave Winthrop.

There are only two truly prog tracks, both sung by Hodgson and featuring flutes and acoustic guitars: "Travelled" and "Aries" (one of the best prog jam improvisations IMO in general). The remaining material shows Davies' as a leader, trying to find the right expression for himself and the band alike. Hard-rock, country, folk, jazz, classic r'n'r, soul and some typically British vignette stories a la THE KINKS or THE BEATLES ("Rosie Had Everything Planned", "Coming Home to See You"), are all present on "Indelibly Stamped". "Remember" was recorded with maximum volume, with multi-tracked saxophones, sounding like a wild version of THE BAND's soul and r'n'b performance ("Chest Fever"). Two side-openers, "Your Poppa Don't Mind" and "Potter", were probably meant to be released as hit-singles, and they are both quite good and radio- friendly simple and danceable songs.

Frankly, it is hard for me to point at any one song as totally bad ("Friend in Need" being the closest one). That said, of course does not mean that this album is anywhere near the most essential works of the era. No, - you indeed don't miss much if you never hear it. But, all your prejudices aside, if you approach this album like you never heard of SUPERTRAMP before, it may surprise you with some odd but interesting songwriting outputs. SUPERTRAMP fans must have this in their collection, but all the other people would certainly find some occasional surprises too.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#88257)
Posted Sunday, August 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Its hard to imagine Supertramp sounding so non-octave swinging in this album. Surely the band was still in search of a style and the chemistry was not yet matured. Still I expected more from this album. This is a Supertramp album that does not bite and it sounds more "hippy" than it should. The catchiest song in this album is "Potter", Travelled being the second best. Rosie had everything planned has Roger's voice sounding quite different than usual. Aries could have been much better. It sometimes sounds like a picnic song. The opening track belongs to Rick. Though I don't like his vocals, this song has the energy and right combination as a standard rock opener. This is the lone Rick song in this album which I liked. Overall this album deserves 2.5 stars, but I am giving it three considering the time line of the band.

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Send comments to Sharier (BETA) | Report this review (#99885)
Posted Wednesday, November 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars One must agree that after "Supertramp" which was not really exciting, what they deliver here is probably the worse of their carreer (we'll have to wait for very long years to find other poor Supertramp albums).

The front cover is probably what's mostly will be remembered. The chest on the album sleeve belonged to Marian Hollier, a twenty-six year old woman . She came from Bristol and was paid Ł45 for the photo. The album cover caused moral indignation in the early seventies with many record shops refusing to display it. Letters of complaint were printed by UK music papers like in the Melody Maker. In the U.S. some copies had two little stars glued onto the sleeve to cover the "naughty" areas.

A few tracks are worth though : "Travelled", "Remember" (a good rocking song song with strong sax somewhat precursor for "Rudy") and "Forever" (a true Supertramp song) while "Your Poppa Don't Mind", "Potter" and "Aries" are parts of the poorest tracks ever produced by the band.

Three out of ten, really. Let's upgrade it to wo stars (but save your money for better albums to come).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#110682)
Posted Sunday, February 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
clkarob@nbnet
3 stars If you listen closely to the songs on this album, you'll see blueprints for some of their finest works that will follow. Let me break them down : Crime : Potter - with its' lyrical bite & guitars it's the harder brother to Bloody well Right, Rosie had everything planned hints at the melodies of Hide in Your Shell & Everyone was listening .Crisis what Crisis - Travelled & Coming home to see you would fit into the taut & tense atmosphere; this last song would also not have been out of place on Quietest Moments along with Forever for their languid melodies; Breakfast could easily have included Remember, Times have changed & Friend in need, without one noticing a change in the poppier & more up mood of this album, & Your Poppa don't mind would seem the type of song Rick Davies would be writing during Famous Last Words. The album closer - Aries, almost seems like a holdover from the debut, which seems to get a higher rating from people who weren't big Supertramp fans. I've seen one review give a comparison to King Crimson ??? for one song. So, if you a big Supertramp fan, and wish they could put out that one more album together (Rick & Roger), check this one out. It surprised me, as I had avoided it for the longest time because it wasn't the same musicians as on later albums. Not a masterpiece, but we can see the pieces coming together.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#110976)
Posted Wednesday, February 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Yes, you can find good piano / keyboard work of Rick Davis but the overall music does not represent what Supertramp is capable of doing. The opening track "Your Poppa don't Mind" does not reflect the band's soul on their music creation as the whole song sounds like a Southern rock music. "Travelled" is not a bad track at all and it has good flute work at the beginning of the song. But when the music moves from one track to another it sounds to me that the band is like losing focus what they trying to do especially on lack of melody and harmonies for almost all of tracks. The insertion of flute sounds help improve the music but it's not until the level that most rock fans are willing to listen. Therefore this album is recommended only for those who just want to complete their collection of Supertramp albums. New fan should not start from this album.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#120964)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
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 naďve, almost quaint collection of songs which are pleasant but by and large entirely forgettable.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#133871)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Listening to this gives you very little in the way of hints about what was to come. Straight-forward early 70s rock of the kind stamped out in tin pan alleys on both sides of the Atlantic, 'Indelibly Stamped' is the sound of a band trying - and failing - to find an audience.

There's no doubt DAVIES and HODGSON could write songs, but also no doubt that few of the songs featured here were anything other than strongly derivative. We hear, for example, SIMON AND GARFUNKEL on 'Rosie', any of a dozen southern blues bands on 'Your Pappa Don't Mind' and 'Remember', and what sounds improbably like FRANK ZAPPA/CAPTAIN BEEFHEART on 'Potter'. The progressive leanings of their debut album have been deliberately cast aside in favour of shorter, simpler tracks (the seven-minute 'Aries' is padded out with a rather tame jam), but none are anything more than mediocre. It all adds up to an album crafted to penetrate the soft underbelly of the American market. I am pleased to report that it failed miserably, forcing the duo to re-form the band and come up with something different.

While this is competent and inoffensive, there's nothing here that invites the listener back for a second listen. Or a first, for that matter.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#182077)
Posted Tuesday, September 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second Supertramp album is different from their debut. You will find shorter songs there, but most important, music sounds different. Possibly, they turned a bit to US market side, so all songs are r'n'b, blues or soul based. What doesn't mean that they are bad.

Just it is quite far from usual sophisticated Supertramp sound. No-one can name this music art-rock! Arrangements are more straight rock instead of sound multi layers we're usually waiting from band's music. But there are interesting heavy guitar, some sax solos, some keyboards-driven jazz-rock pieces and very acoustic sound.

So, even if not very usual Supertramp album, still not so bad, as sometimes is spoken about it. Just be ready to hear a bit different side of Supertramp.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#260818)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is Supertramp´s guys second effort. Surprise is over, they are not beginners anymore. For the better, they are more mature (at least a little bit), but for the worse creativity accumulated through many years cannot be surpassed by the pressure of composing in a fast way. But, ok, it happens to all bands ! Results for some of them are positive (Genesis, Jethro Tull); but it was not for Supertramp.

This new album brought a new line of musicians; only the core composed of Rick Davies and Roger Hodson lasted. The best of the changes was the appearance of David Winthrop, a wind instrument player. Nevermore the group would be without this kind of musician and their sound would be always dependent of this kind of instrument. Even if the songs doesn´t have the brilliance of later album, David Winthrop was responsible for a taste and a colour that was absent prior to his presence.

The songs presented here are not so well composed and brilliant as before (and would be many times in other albums), but on the other hand they are not weak and are also helped by a better production. But the two main qualities of Indelibly Stamped, that made me give it four stars, are the facts that even after thirty years listening to it, it still grows on me; and this is not a common quality for a musical work. The other characteristic I do appreciate here is the variation between the songs, we can see the band explored to many musical directions here ! This is the complete opposite of Van Morrison´s Astral Weeks, an acclaimed album which has bunch of songs in a same way until getting listener bored about it due to its lack of variation. We have some songs that must be commented. Melancholic moods in ballads like Rosie Had Everything Planned and Forever make us think about last album. A song like Remember rocks very well, and is very interesting to see how its heaviness is provided by Winthrop´s wind metal instruments. This is one of highlights here. We cannot forget a country taste in Coming Home To See You and the unexpected way a song like Aries takes.

For conclusion, consider this and underrated album and give it a try in order to discover all those little secrets and nice surprises masters Davies&Hodson hided here?

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Send comments to Antonio Giacomin (BETA) | Report this review (#364350)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars Roger Hodgson and Rick davies were trying to find a successful sound when they recorded this album, but they didn't find it until they dumped all of their backing band, and hired a new group for the next album.

They jump from style to style on this album, so that Your Poppa Don't Mind sounds like Loggins & Messina (yeah, I know Your Momma Don't Dance came out a year after this album, but the song sounds like them - Hodgson sounds a lot like kenny Loggins on this track), Travelled sounds like Crosby Stills & Nash, Rosie Had Everything Planned sounds like Simon & Garfunkel (with a little Canterbury mixed in), Potter sounds like a lot of southern rock bands, and Aries has a little Steely Dan sound (if they mentioned New York a few times in the lyrics, the illusion would be complete).

There are a few small hints of what would become their signature sound, especially in Coming Home To See You and Times Have Changed. But without the sparkling production that graced the later albums, these songs didn't have a chance.

I'd say this album rates slightly higher than "Famous Last Words", only because by that album they should have known better.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#476512)
Posted Tuesday, July 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars It's hard to see this one as anything other than a mild disaster for Supertramp. To be fair to them, it was recorded under pretty adverse conditions - after the debut album, most of the band left, leaving Hodgson and Davies scrambling to put together a new lineup! The other problem with the album is that the band simply don't know who they are - they don't know what musical direction they want to take, and as a consequence they try a little bit of everything and don't achieve very much in any of the formats they try out.

Album opener Your Poppa Don't Mind adds nothing to a very basic bar band hard rock format beyond a bit of piano work from from Rick, Rosie is a dull attempt at something resembling folk-rock, Forever sounds like a sappy attempt to mimic the late Beatles sound that falls far, far short of the standards of said band, and so on. I suppose Travelled is a pleasant enough prog piece with some nice flute from Dave Winthrop, but it's not exactly memorable or interesting or even, by this point in time, especially novel. Likewise, Aries is alright before it descends into a completely aimless Santana-tinged jam that goes nowhere, giving rise to a mental image of the band noodling away with one eye on the clock, trying to squeeze out enough noise to fill the remainder of the album, as Dave Stewart confesses happened when Arzachel recorded their sole self-titled album.

The problem of course, is that Stewart, Campbell, Brooks and Hillage did the whole "aimless jamming" thing much better... as had Santana... in fact, most early prog, psych, hard rock, folk rock and other such bands had already produced far, far better material than what is present here, and Supertramp neither bring anything new to the table nor grind out the cliched material they have with sufficient flair to convince me to forgive the lack of originality. This is an album which plays like a demo tape, the new lineup trying out a range of different "outfits" only to find that none of them fit. And ultimately, it would take the whole band quitting on poor Roger and Rick *yet again* and for a third new lineup to form before Supertramp really got into their groove.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#480560)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Supertramp - Indelibly Stamped album

this is the second album of the art rock band Supertramp, their rawest and most rocking album they have released. This album is a rare album in the discog of this rather sophisticated band, which have on the debut and albums that are highly sophisticated albums with lots of subtle details. Indelibly Stamped is probably the least sophisticated Supertramp album i have heard (i have not gone past Brother Were you Bound). It is some traces of subtleties on the album but none the less though on this album it is more focus on the tightness of each song and the force of each track, but the album is much rawer and in your face then the debut-album.

Most of the In-you-face songs are sung by Rick Davies and Dave Winthrop, the subtle songs are the three songs sung by Roger Hodgson. Indelibly Stamped is an album that goes stylistically between two main styles or expressions, also some elements that to me (even as little sophisticated it may sound, can proudly be called art rock, not progressive rock, but art rock, or crossover prog).

Two dominated styles on this album to me is a Supertrampish attempt on glam rock and baroque rock. The glam rock like elements in songs can also be compared to the Roxy Music debut from 72, the rockabilly songs, but with a British feel and an eccentric twist. Rick Davies use some of the same tricks as Bryan Ferry does on the rockabilly songs, he flashes them out, make them look fun, a bit twisted irony, and with a "English" or "British" ness over them. like the Roxy debut song Re-Make, Re-Model, this album starts with a rockabilly song called Your Poppa Don't Mind a rock'n'roll song played in very fast tempo and with small solo parts, and cool instrument twists, some unorthodox elements in an otherwise standard rockabilly tune, only this is written by the band who plays it, so it can also be a pun, an ironic pun on rock'n'roll.

The other style is what i would call baroque rock, or Procol Harum esque rock, semi-symphonic acoustic ballads (Rosy have Everything Planed, Travelled, and Aries) which are three of the sophisticated and acoustic folk ballad songs on the album, sung by Roger and he is backed on Travelled by the co-writer Frank Farrell. One of the best songs on the album is the Rick Davis ballad Time Have Changed who have a very memorable drum performance and tight bass playing with a solid sound. this is also the first Supertram album to feature saxophone as an instrument in the band, it is best heard in the wild and noisy Remember who in its roughness bear similarity's to some of the wilder sections of a Van der Graaf Generator or King Crimson composition (not in complexity but in dissonance). also this album is very eccentric with wide span of expressions and styles are being explored which gives this album a satisfied travel through varied landscapes and emotions, and Supertramp is able to move themselves quite elegantly through all of them, with attitude and artistic minds, they show they are as capable to express themself through a varied field of music which would soundly put them in the ranks of art rock bands.

Some might disagree by calling this album art rock, but I hear art rock and crossover sensibilities in this album and band as I also hear in bands similar to Supertramp, like Roxy Music, 10cc, Procul Harum, and ELO. the varied styles, the eccentric nature of the music and the flexibility and soul shown in all tracks firmly places this in the realm of art rock and are a reason why Supertramp is Crossover prog, I don't think this is a five star album or a masterpiece of progressive rock, but I think this album is a good album in the development of art rock and crossover prog as an institution for bands who both were good musicians but also terrific songwriters, and this album is no slacker in the aspect of songwriting and execution of the music this is in top art rock fashion. This is no Crime of the Century or Breakfast in America or a Quiet moment but it is a loud and visible album that deserves attention. Thanks

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Send comments to Icarium (BETA) | Report this review (#508094)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just like Supertramp's first album, Indelibly Stamped is not really much like any other album, it sounds like a band trying to find their way, and I guess that's what it is, with quite dramatic swings in style. The initial Roger Hodgson dominated sound is now being challenged by Rick Davies, who is bringing in Rock & Roll, R&B, and Heavy Rock with his deep, bluesy voice alongside Roger's plaintive meditations. Indelibly Stamped points the way to the future, and in many ways has a much more intimate, personal feel that the later megaproductions. Coming from the early 70's, there are no gimmicks, it's just a real band playing real music. Due to its lack of commercial success the original band went its own way after this, however, as we later saw, from the ashes of adversity a mighty sonic force arose with 'Crime of the Century'. The key thing to remember here is that you're listening to a young band brimming with ideas and potential to allow bigger and better things to follow. This is still a nice, very listenable album. Unusual? Definitely! With its good variety of ideas, you either have rhythms that gets you moving or soft sing-along ballads. Check out Hodgson's "Rosie Had Everything Planned" and "Travelled", Davies' "Forever", "Friend In Need" and the superb finale "Aries", a long, jazzy groove of the type that would not return until Hodgson had left the band..and yet, he sings it, so I guess he wrote it. Nice musicianship here from accordian touches, sax and flute.Not an essential album but it is surely a must for fans of Supertramp. 3 solid stars

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#514001)
Posted Saturday, September 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
Einsetumadur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 11/15P. A perfectly well-crafted and eclectic album of art pop music - nowhere near as dull as most critics call it. The ingredients are simple, but thanks to a good sense of melody and arrangement the whole thing becomes really tasty after all.

After having finished a (now forgotten) film soundtrack and their musically independent and critically acclaimed debut album, the first line-up of Supertramp disbanded. The only further relic composed in those days was the mediocre song Gold Rush which ended up on the Slow Motion record. With a new drummer, an additional wind player, a new bass guitarist and Roger Hodgson switching from bass guitar to regular guitar the band conceived their second album in 1971. In 1972 this line-up also composed and debuted some of the classic songs of Crime of the Century and Crisis? What Crisis? for the BBC, such as School and If Everyone Was Listening.

This explains why some of the material on Indelibly Stamped sounds that much like the later Supertramp songs. However little many critics enjoy this album, especially those from the prog realms: this album shows the roots of what was to come later. And you don't only get the roots - at some places the stuff really starts to bloom and shine.

Your Poppa Don't Mind with its rolling electric piano licks begins the album in a similar fashion to Rocks Off on Exile on Main Street. Listeners who knew the band from their sophisticated debut album might have been surprised, but in retrospect R&B and soul always were the basis on which Rick Davies created his music, in a way. Many rock'n'roll or boogie pieces are pretty meaningless and stay safely on the well-known Carol pattern - or whichever piece you may associate with these genre. But the chorus of this song is simply awesome: harmonically it's pretty basic, but the rhythm is effortlessly tricky and the melody - including Rick Davies' slightly bored delivery - totally catchy. A tinkling Wurlitzer solo to swinging walking bass lines is the icing on the cake - and the chorus even provides enough substance for a short electric guitar lead-out after the solo. I totally like this song!

The introspective ballad Travelled, written by Rodger Hodgson, is a completely different affair and gives you a clue how the black-and-white album cover with the tattooed and tough nude lady misled many potential album buyers. The song begins quietly with gentle but restless acoustic guitar picking and a huge and deep two-part flute arrangement. Roder Hodgson takes over with his lamenting vocals and leads the song into an - as you might put it - aggressively happy part with biting vocals and an endlessly cumulating coda of multi-tracked vocals and an improvising saxophone. I don't know and don't care if this is an expression of euphoria or of anger - it's emotionally resonant without doubt. The repetitive coda, however, might have been a bit shorter and the acoustic beginning a bit longer.

Rosie Had Everything Planned, on its surface, is a romantic pop waltz somewhere between a French chanson and a folk song. The lyrics, sophisticatedly looking into the life of a woman who murdered her putatively deceitful husband, are a completely different take on a love song (it is a love song, after all!), raise quite a lot of empathy for both persons and give the ballad a somber background. Frank Farrell is on accordion, Rick Davies contributes a classicistic and sparkling piano backing and Roger Hodgson gives a heartfelt vocal performance which I appreciate a lot.

Remember itself is a brute piece of blues rock with ferocious lead vocals by Rick Davies, a mighty saxophone riff by Dave Winthrop (think Bloody Well Right) and lots of solos on the harmonica, the saxophone and the piano. Again I don't miss the delicacy which Supertramp implanted into their heavier songs in the mid-1970s, simply because the melodies are that great. Listen to the so every way you go, you go alone part with the dual lead vocals by Hodgson and Davies. Still I'm a bit ambivalent about the purpose of the overdubbed crowd noises which, as I read somewhere, were taken from some 1964ish Beatles live concerts. It's a funny idea to emulate a rough live atmosphere, but this sounds a tad too artifical in my opinion. Rick Davies once complained that the shows which accompanied Indelibly Stamped were genuine rock'n'roll concerts in small venues which mostly ended in a complete mess. Although I really believe that the live shows around that time weren't their best ones, I'm astonished what a unique and recklessly savage album this group accomplished. Usually I don't like retro albums like these, including jazz ballads and boogie woogie and all that kind of stuff, but Indelibly Stamped is of a piece and amazingly consistent in its inconsistency.

Forever, the first song which displays Davies' staccato electric piano playing and totally sounds like a later Supertramp number, is a R&B ballad in 6/8 measure in the vein of Oh Darling - both the Beatles and the Supertramp ones. Great saxophone work, a lengthy and ever-growing chorus and a superb rhythm section. Nothing more to say about it, actually.

Rick Davies' eccentric Coming Home To See You is another of these intelligent cuts. The first part, performed entirely by Davies on keyboards (predominantly a tacky but chiming piano) and vocals, is an incredibly atmospheric piece of music - thoughtful and intense despite the sarcastic and tongue-in-cheeck lyrics which are what a lover tells his girlfriend about her and her family. The second part which starts after the lover announces his upcoming visit is, after some busy verses, an unexpectedly rapid duel between Davies' Hammond organ and a harmonica on top of a quick groove of drums, percussion and bass guitar.

Times Have Changed is reminiscent of both The Band and A Salty Dog-era Procol Harum due to the maritime lyrics, but in fact it's the second piece which - with a smoother production - wouldn't be out of place on any of the following albums. Don't get me wrong, the production is totally brilliant, but especially Kevin Currie's drums have a rootsy Levon Helm punch which Bob Siebenberg later replaced with a more elaborate styling. Times Have Changed, however, is a stirring mid-tempo ballad with a plaintive chorus (sung by Davies) backed by a clean bluesy electric guitar and a low-key saxophone drone. The 12-bar bridge again makes good use of the dual Hodgson-Davies lead vocals and makes up the dramatic peak of the piece. A spine-tingling song and perhaps my favorite one off the album.

The heavy blues pop number Potter and the ragtime-like Friend in Need are two brief pieces I could also live without, although they really do not hurt in the context of such an eclectic album. Friend in Need even features a tuneful and really decent instrumental part which actually takes most of the two minutes and benefits from competent saxophone playing and the swinging honky-tonk piano; the few verses, however, aren't really convincing and only work as a jaunty gap between the more serious compositions. Potter riffs along aimlessly - except for the pretty enjoyable up-beat part which should be the chorus, but Dave Winthrop is by far more convincing as a flautist than as a singer.

When before having bought this album I read that Aries was an extended jam for acoustic guitar, flute and bongos I expected one of those typical late-60s hippie work-outs which drift through time without direction. It could well have been one of those pieces, but the band doesn't indulge in pseudo-spiritual rambling but really cook and drive the matter on. The percussion rattles and knocks all the way through, Roger Hodgson's bluesy and haunted vocals are meaningful and honest while the interplay of electric piano and flute is stellar. After some minutes things become a little bit more free-form, but they never lose track at all. This line-up played really tight, had a perfect timing and featured two great improvisers. It's hard to understand why no-one actually noticed this album in 1971 - it even comprised possible hit singles! 'Let's get the hot thing cookin', Hodgson mumbles into the microphone in the beginning - I always have to smile when I hear that. Frank Farrell is also credited with playing the acoustic and electric piano somewhere on the album. This could be a piece in which his keyboard duties could be found at some place.

When you get this album don't hope for the operatic and sound-effect-laden sound of Crime of the Century. Some reviewers argue that songs like Aries or Travelled sound like progressive rock, but I don't think that's true. Indelibly Stamped is genuine art pop, mostly closer to R&B than to folk or jazz, but this shall not keep you from buying it - many different genres are touched and sometimes mixed, but it all comes together in the British melancholia which shapes and defines the compositions. In spite of some fillers and odd moments Indelibly Stamped shall be highly recommended for open-minded prog listeners who also enjoy more 'immediate' music.

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Send comments to Einsetumadur (BETA) | Report this review (#881102)
Posted Monday, December 24, 2012 | Review Permalink

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