Given how familiar their greatest hits are, it's startling to find so few Supertramp covers out there. Perhaps it's the lack of authenticity afforded a band which was, after all, formed not out of some sense of artistic urgency, but on a millionaire patron's whim, which fueled then-unknown singer-songwriter Rick Davies' classified ad in popular industry mag Melody Maker. Perhaps it's the prog-rock era itself, its orchestral, larger-than-life poses shunned as anathema to the modern post-slacker indie generation and their hushed, lo-fi alt-folk bedroom output. Maybe it's just the hair.
But redemption can be found in the songs laid bare; it turns out that Supertramp can be done well. To prove it, here's some above-average Supertramp covers that fit the format here on Cover Lay Down.
Our set today provides a fairly complete look at a small but recognizable group of catchy radio hits, from singer-songwriter violinist Lili Haydn's jazzy torchsong take on Goodbye Stranger to Leftover Salmon mandolinist Drew Emmitt with a catchy acoustic jamgrass version of Take the Long Way Home. I couldn't choose, so you get both the grungy alt-folk album original and a stunning acoustic outtake of Gomez frontman Ian Ball's delicate, broken Breakfast in America; don't miss the wonderful lo-fi indiefolk german cabaret version of the same, complete with ragged horn and a perfect, klezmeresque clarinet bridge, from an artist who performs under the ungoogle-able name of Me.
I especially like singer-songwriter Joe Crookston's pensive, political, almost mystical version of The Logical Song -- thanks to Joe for allowing us both a stream from his new and highly-recommended folkchart-topping album Able Baker Charlie & Dog, and a take-away live version recorded by yours truly at this year's Falcon Ridge Folk Fest. On the other hand, though the cover of Give A Little Bit by German acoustic coverband Huntcase is a bit kitschy, it will have to do until someone else does a better acoustic version of that classic rock radio favorite.
Enjoy them all, folks, and mind the links, which -- as always here on Cover Lay Down -- go straight to artist-preferred stores and sources wherever possible. And do consider snagging a CD or two, or at least purchasing a download, if you like what you hear. After all, artists who have to work day jobs have no time to come to your town, either.
- Joe Crookston: The Logical Song
(from Able Baker Charlie & Dog)
- Joe Crookston: The Logical Song (live)
(live from Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, 2008)
- Drew Emmitt: Take The Long Way Home
(from Long Road)
- Lili Haydn: Goodbye Stranger
(web release; available here)
- Huntcase: Give A Little Bit
(from Huntcase Unplugged)
- Ian Ball: Breakfast In America
- Ian Ball: Breakfast in America (acoustic outtake)
(from Who Goes There)
- Me: Breakfast in America
(web-only release from Me)
Cover Lay Down publishes new coverfolk features on Sundays, Wednesdays, and the occasional Friday and holiday. Coming Soon: Summer's End, Bluesfolk, and a new 7-song EP from Jim Henry.