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Supertramp - Cannonball CD (album) cover



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3 stars In my youth I had the 1985 Supertramp album Brother Where You Bound (the first one without Roger Hodgson), but it was among the numerous LP's I put back to circulation sooner or later. This doesn't mean I wouldn't have enjoyed it. Rick Davies succeeded surprisingly well on his own as a songwriter, considering that I clearly prefer Hodgson's songs on the earlier Supertramp albums. The production is crisp and dynamic, and the album has stood the test of time pretty well, especially when compared to the totally uninteresting stuff following it.

'Cannonball' is the album's opening track and by far the best known. It was the band's last US Top 40 hit and it had success on dance charts, too. In general I don't care for danceable beat in pop music, but in this case it's actually quite delightful. The strong-rhythmed funk is nicely combined with jazz/fusion flavour, and the longish song proceeds like a fast train on a steep mountain side. Beneath the monotonous G minor surface there are lots of intriguing details and a sense of adventurous drama. The bitter lyrics are undoubtedly often seen as a veiled message to Roger Hodgson, but according to Wikipedia "Davies revealed in a French radio interview that they were inspired by a less than perfect concert promoter whom he refused to name".

The mid-eighties were the golden era of maxi-singles containing extended versions of hit songs. Gosh, even I used to have some (maybe also this one? can't remember for sure). Here we get a ten-minute instrumental version of 'Cannonball'. Yeah, this is perfect music to let people loose on the disco floor and to get dizzy of jamming for whole ten minutes. For that purpose the version functions better than for repeated home listening.

'Ever Open Door' is the mellow closing track on Brother Where You Bound. The piano and orchestral nuances in a ripped-down, non-rock arrangement remind me of the latter-day Procol Harum (e.g. 'Pursuit of Happiness'). If I'm not mistaken, the line "my front door is always open to you" was directed to the former bandmate. A charming little song.

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Posted Friday, October 15, 2021 | Review Permalink

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