Supertramp – Even In The Quietest Moments

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Supertramp – Even In The Quietest MomentsEven in the Quietest Moments… is the fifth album by Supertramp, released in April 1977.

The album was recorded mainly at Caribou Ranch Studios in Colorado with overdubs, vocals and mixing completed at The Record Plant in Los Angeles and was Supertramp’s first album to use engineer Peter Henderson, who would work with the band for their next three albums as well.

Even in the Quietest Moments reached number 16 on the Billboard Pop Albums Charts in 1977, and within a few months of release became Supertramp’s first Gold (500,000 copies or more) selling album in the US. In addition, “Give a Little Bit” became a US Top 20 single and reached number 29 on the UK Singles Chart. While “Give a Little Bit” was the big hit, both “Fool’s Overture” and the title track also got a fair amount of FM album-rock play.

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A remastered CD version of the album with full original artwork, lyrics and credits restored (including the inner sleeve picture of the band absent from the original CD) was released on 11 June 2002 on A&M Records in the US. The cover photo is not doctored – a grand piano was placed on a mountain top at Eldora Mountain Resort (a ski area near Caribou Ranch Studios), covered with snow and photographed. The sheet music on the piano, though titled “Fool’s Overture”, is actually the Star-Spangled Banner.

In 1978, Even in the Quietest Moments… was ranked 63rd in The World Critic Lists, which recognised the 200 greatest albums of all time as voted for by notable rock critics and DJ.

Though all the songs are credited as being written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, only “Even in the Quietest Moments” is an actual Davies/Hodgson collaboration. Davies wrote “Lover Boy”, “Downstream”, and “From Now On” by himself, and Hodgson in turn wrote “Give a Little Bit”, “Babaji”, and “Fool’s Overture” unaided.

Davies said of “Lover Boy” that “I was inspired by advertisements in men’s magazines telling you how to pick up women. You know, you send away for it and it’s guaranteed not to fail. If you haven’t slept with at least five women in two weeks, you can get your money back.” Bob Siebenberg recounted that “Rick had been working on ‘Lover Boy’ for quite a while and finally came up with the long middle section. I just heard that as a really slow, really solid sort of beat, just to give the song dynamics underneath it all, because the song itself is really powerful and it needed something really solid underneath it.”

Most of the song “Even in the Quietest Moments” was written during the sound check for a show at the Tivoli Gardens (in Copenhagen). Davies and Hodgson worked out the various parts of the song with Hodgson seated at an Oberheim string synthesiser and Davies at the drum kit. Davies commented on the music, “It starts off in a very standard melody thing and then it notches onto a sort of one chord progression or perhaps we should call it a digression. It’s a thing where there’s hundreds of sounds coming in and going out, a whole collage thing.” Hodgson said of the lyrics, “It’s kind of a dual love song – it could be to a girl or it could be to God.”

“Downstream” is performed solely by Davies on vocal and piano, which were recorded together in one take. Siebenberg has described the song as his favourite on the album “because it’s so personal and so pure.”

“Fool’s Overture” had the working title of “The String Machine Epic”, and according to John Helliwell, “It came primarily from a few melodies that Roger had worked out on the string machine thing we use on stage.” Hodgson has stated that the song’s lyrics are essentially meaningless, explaining, “I like being vague and yet saying enough to set people’s imaginations running riot.”

This album is unique in the Supertramp discography as none of the songs feature the band’s trademark Wurlitzer electric piano. However, a Fender Rhodes piano was used during a short section of “From Now On”.

In a 1981 review, music critic Robert Christgau facetiously remarked that, unlike most progressive rock, which is “pretentious background schlock that’s all too hard to ignore”, the album is “modest background schlock that sounds good when it slips into the ear.”

Allmusic gave a mixed retrospective review of the album, calling it “elegant yet mildly absurd, witty but kind of obscure” but also contending that it “places a greater emphasis on melody and gentle textures than any previous Supertramp release.” They criticised the album as not being “full formed”, but marked “Give a Little Bit”, “Lover Boy”, “Fool’s Overture”, and “From Now On” as highlights worthy of praise.

Track listing

All songs written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, with lead vocals by Hodgson unless otherwise stated.

Side one

  1. “Give a Little Bit” – 4:13
  2. “Lover Boy” – 6:49
    • Lead vocals: Rick Davies
  3. “Even in the Quietest Moments” – 6:31
  4. “Downstream” – 4:04
    • Lead vocals: Rick Davies

Side two

  1. “Babaji” – 4:51
  2. “From Now On” – 6:21
    • Lead vocals: Rick Davies
  3. “Fool’s Overture” – 10:52