[Review] Supertramp: Indelibly Stamped (1971)

A revamped Supertramp leaves the proggy pastures of their debut for the bright lights of boogaloo and music hall.

Kronomyth 2.0: Das ist nicht eine boobie trap.

This is the album that killed Supertramp. At least for a couple of years, until they could sort of what kind of band they wanted to be. They no longer sounded like early period Genesis. In fact, they didn’t sound like anyone, at least not for any length of time. There are moments when you’ll be reminded of The Beatles, The Kinks and Jethro Tull, but mostly you’ll be reminded how much better those bands were.

Factor in another really ugly album cover, and you can opt out of Supertramp’s second act if you want. Indelibly Stamped isn’t a particularly strong record, eccentric in spots but no match for The Kinks or 10cc. Part of the problem likely stems from the self production, noting (once again) that it’s never a good idea to give a young band free reign in the studio. It’s as though the band felt the pressure of being on the hook for ten songs, recycled some leftovers and rolled the dice with the rest. They got lucky with “Rosie Had Everything Planned” and “Forever” is unsinkably pretty, but the bulk of Indelibly Stamped doesn’t leave much of an impression.

There was confused testosterone going off in all directions. There is no theme or continuity to the album or its artwork, but there is some interesting stuff on it. — Roger Hodgson, talking about Indelibly Stamped in a Goldmine interview (March 17, 2006).

Tellingly, the band didn’t release another record for several years, re-reinventing themselves in the bargain as purveyors of precious pop in the Ray (not Rick) Davies mold. Here, the band is still a bit green and greasy, as evidenced on cuts like “Potter” and “Your Poppa Don’t Mind,” the sort of generic crotch rock that cries out “We’re a working-class band.” Other ideas, like “Friend In Need,” simply aren’t worth the effort. Hodgson’s assessment of the album is accurate, although I don’t hear the testosterone. Indelibly Stamped is a series of musical postcards from different places, many of which Supertramp wouldn’t visit again.

Original LP Version

A1. Your Poppa Don’t Mind (2:58)
A2. Travelled (4:15)
A3. Rosie Had Everything Planned (Roger Hodgson/Frank Farrell) (2:58)
A4. Remember (4:00)
A5. Forever (5:05)
B1. Potter (2:23)
B2. Coming Home To See You (4:39)
B3. Times Have Changed (3:42)
B4. Friend In Need (3:08)
B5. Aries (7:25)

All songs written by Rick Davies/Roger Hodgson unless noted.

The Players

Kevin Currie (percussion), Rick Davies (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Frank Farrell (bass guitar, piano, accordion, harmony vocals), Roger Hodgson (acoustic, lead, bass guitars, vocals), Dave Winthrop (flutes, saxophones, vocals). Produced by Supertramp; engineered by Bob Hall; tape operated by Rufus Cartwright.

The Pictures

Art direction and sleeve design by Bob Hook. Outside cover photography by Keith Morris. Inside photography by Mike Coles.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in June 1971 in the UK and the Netherlands (A&M, ALMH 64306), the US (A&M, SP-4311) and Australia (A&M, L35700) with gatefold cover.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in the US and Canada (A&M, SP-4311 on silver/white label).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in the US (A&M, SP-3129) and Germany (A&M, 393 129).
  3. Re-released on remastered compact disc on August 26, 1997 in Germany and the Netherlands (A&M, 393 129).

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