|Studio album by Supertramp|
|Released||14 July 1970|
|Recorded||June 1970 at Morgan Sound Studios, Willesden, North London, England|
Supertramp is the self-titled debut album by progressive rock band Supertramp, released in July 1970. It has sometimes been published under the title Now and Then. The album explored a more conventional style of progressive rock than their later works, and was their only album recorded without a saxophonist.
It was not released in the United States until late 1977, but available through importers and was usually carried in record stores that specialised in British imports. The 1977 issue reached No. 158 on the US Billboard 200.
Background and recording
All the album's lyrics were written by Richard Palmer, since none of the other members of Supertramp were willing to write any. Palmer himself later said that he considered writing lyrics "like having to do school work" at the time. The music to the songs was all composed jointly by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson.
The album was recorded entirely in night sessions running from 12 am to 6 am, due to a superstition on the part of the band members (fuelled by their having heard that Traffic and Spooky Tooth recorded at late hours) that there was some "magic" to recording at night. Hodgson later recalled "Invariably our engineer, Robin Black, would fall asleep on us in the middle of the sessions, which were pretty intense as it was, because we fought a lot with Richard Palmer." He was fond of the resulting album, however, and commented over a decade later that "It was very naïve, but it has a good mood to it."
As the songs for Supertramp's third album, Crime of the Century, were introduced into the band's live set, the songs from Supertramp were all dropped, never to return. The two exceptions are "Home Again" and "Surely", which were occasionally played during encores for several years after. "Surely" has also been included on some of the band's compilation CDs and is a favorite of the UK Supertramp tribute band Logical Tramp.
Songs from this album, including "Words Unspoken" and "I Am Not Like Other Birds of Prey," were used as part of the soundtrack for the UK film Extremes (1971), along with music from other groups.
The critical response to the album was generally positive, with a review by Judith Simons in Daily Express commenting "This debut record album by a group of promising musician-poets is rather more melodic than most discs which pass under the label 'progressive pop.'" Despite this, the album was a commercial flop.
In their retrospective review, Allmusic said the album was "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." However, they admitted that the album's "mixture of ardour and subtlety" is appealing.
Except where noted, all lead vocals are by Roger Hodgson. Lead vocal credits per Richard Palmer.
- "Surely" (Reprise) – 0:31
- "It's a Long Road" – 5:33
- "Aubade"/"And I Am Not Like Other Birds of Prey" – 5:17
- "Words Unspoken" – 3:59
- "Maybe I'm a Beggar" – 6:44
- Lead vocals: Palmer and Hodgson
- "Home Again" – 1:15
- "Nothing to Show" – 4:53
- Lead vocals: Hodgson and Davies
- "Shadow Song" – 4:23
- Lead vocals: Davies and Hodgson
- "Try Again" – 12:02
- Lead vocals: Hodgson and Palmer
- "Surely" – 3:08
- Richard Davies – organ, harmonica, piano, electric piano, vocals
- Roger Hodgson – acoustic guitar, bass guitar, cello, flageolet, vocals
- Robert Millar – drums, percussion, harmonica
- Richard Palmer – acoustic guitar, balalaika, electric guitar, vocals
Billboard (North America)
- Supertramp in the Billboard charts, Allmusic. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
- Interview with Richard Palmer-James in Calamity, Elephant Talk.
- Fuentes, Abel (January 2011). Interview with Richard Palmer, Supertramp Soap Box Asylum. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Melhuish, Martin (1986). The Supertramp Book. Toronto, Canada: Omnibus Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-9691272-2-7.
- Melhuish, Martin (1986). The Supertramp Book. Toronto, Canada: Omnibus Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-9691272-2-7.
- Supertramp (album) at AllMusic