Sunday, August 17, 2008

Covered in Folk: Supertramp
(Joe Crookston, Ian Ball, Drew Emmitt, Lili Haydn, and Me!)



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.



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.

26 comments:

A Free Man said...

Who would have thought that Supertramp would make good material for folk covers?

FiL said...

What version of Ian Ball's album includes the cover of "Breakfast in America"? The version I have doesn't have it.

boyhowdy said...

FiL: Near as I can tell, this was a track recorded for the album in the same recording sessions, but which was then released to the web as a promotional vehicle for the album. The live version is likely the outtake/demo; the other version certainly sounds like the album sessions, at least IMHO.

Javejavor said...

That Drew Emmett track is just smoking hot!! Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. Supertramp covers are way too hard to find and each of these nailed it!

Anonymous said...

train did a good supertramp cover.and even thought the goo goo dolls don't really fit on your site,thanks for NOT posting their supertramp cover.

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