Various Artists - 2012 Songs Of The Century: An All-Star Tribute To Supertramp

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ARTIST: Various Artists
ALBUM: Songs Of The Century: An All-Star Tribute To Supertramp
LABEL: Cleopatra/Purple Pyramid
SERIAL: CLP 8808
YEAR: 2012

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image image

LINEUP: Billy Sherwood - vocals, bass, keyboards, guitars * John Wetton, Mickey Thomas, Richard Page, Colin Moulding, Annie Haslam, Roye Albrighton, Joe Lynn Turner, Rod Argent - vocals * John Wesley - vocals, guitar * Larry Fast, Geoff Downes, Jordan Rudess - keyboards * Tony Kaye, David Sancious - hammond * Rick Wakeman - piano, moog * Steve Porcaro - piano * Dave Kerzner - rhodes * Steve Morse, Gary Green, Robby Krieger, Peter Banks - guitars * Scott Connor - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Breakfast In America * 02 Take The Long Way Home * 03 The Logical Song * 04 Give A Little Bit * 05 It's Raining Again * 06 Crime Of The Century * 07 Dreamer * 08 Goodbye Stranger * 09 Rudy * 10 Bloody Well Right * 11 School * 12 Let The World Revolve

RATING: image

Background

Like many of our readers I've bought more than my share of tribute albums while far too often shouting at my speakers after the first spin.

Yes, they can be brutal with suspect cover choices and artists with little understanding of the music they're playing.

Rarely are the songs a patch on the originals, but curiosity always seems to bite into my credit card especially when it comes to those of the prog rock variety.

Digging through the V's in my collection and sifting through the rubble, some of the best interpretations in my opinion came from the Magna Carta label in the mid-90s.

Their Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd offerings brought the concept to new levels and this Billy Sherwood produced salute to Supertramp rises to the occasion as one of the better I've heard in recent memory.

The Songs

Sherwood has made the most of his Yes connection over the years and why not? It's given him recognition and the ability to pull together some big names for this project from both progressive rock and AOR. Whether or not everyone was in the studio at the same time which has been brought up elsewhere is irrelevant as the disc succeeds, but not without a few minor caveats.

'Breakfast In America' - Is it just me or is John Wetton singing better these days? Sherwood's keys give the song a beautiful Parisian feel that's both dream-like and charming.

'Take The Long Way Home' - Not thrilled with John Wesley's vocals, but his guitar work is brilliant.

'The Logical Song' - If I didn't have the booklet at hand I would never have known this was Mickey Thomas singing. Man, he sounds tired and performed at a slower tempo doesn't do the song justice.

'Give A Little Bit' - Sweet acoustic and electric guitar from former Yes/Flash Peter Banks and David Gates styled phrasing from Richard Page gives Supertramp's best known song a lilting soft rock feel. Still like the Open Skyz version better.

'It's Raining Again' - Former XTC and current Tin Spirits vocalist Colin Moulding was an inspired choice to cover this whimsical tune that's as candy-coated as the original.

'Crime Of The Century' - Thankfully it's not all about the hits and Sherwood's version of the title track from what is considered Supertramp's finest hour is the most progressive of the set. Rick Wakeman on ivories and Moog, how could you go wrong?

'Dreamer' - Annie Haslam. I had a small crush on this woman in high school and even though I'm older, happily married and her voice is not what it used to be, I still swoon every time I hear something new. This is a very nice rendition, worthy of her considerable talents although not nearly as awesome as Italian singer Renato Zero's cover - sung in Italian of course.

'Goodbye Stranger' - Sherwood on vocals again and not all that different from the original. Skip.

'Rudy' - Wow, another forgotten jewel from the 'Crime Of The Century' album. On a roll with Nektar's Roye Albrighton on lead vocals and Toto-esque piano from the master- Steve Porcaro; it's quite possibly my favourite tune here.

'Bloody Well Right' - To be frank, I've never a big fan of this track and Joe Lynn Turner's arena rock vocals and heavy bar band approach does little to change my attitude.

'School' - Wheeling out The Doors Robby Krieger and pulling Rod Argent away from seemingly endless Zombies tours to record 'School' was well worth the effort. This rocks harder than the original and with 'Rudy', a major incentive to purchase the disc.

'Let The World Revolve' - Not sure why this Sherwood written track was tacked on but I suppose it does have something of a Supertramp feel yet after a few plays sounds more like classic Kayak to these ears.

In Summary

So about three quarters good, the rest give or take. Sadly the packaging leaves a lot to be desired. Not exactly sure what aspect of Supertramp the cover illustration is meant to represent.

While inside the 4-panel booklet are just credits and thank you's. Typical of Cleopatra product but that aside there's plenty here musically to attract AOR and prog-heads, the foundation of Supertramp's multi-platinum appeal.


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