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Music Review: Roger Hodgson – Classics Live

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Supertramp’s story is not unusual. The story of rock bands that couldn’t stand their success is an old one. From its formation in 1969 through the seventies, Supertramp put out a series of critically applauded albums with some of the most commercially successful singles of the decade, reaching their zenith with the 1975 monster hit, Breakfast in America.

The artistic nucleus of the band was its founders, Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson. Each working individually, they composed the songs and wrote most of the lyrics. Hodgson did most of the lead singing, but Davies did his share as well. Hodgson also began playing the Wurlitzer electric piano which in some ways became the band’s signature sound. Trouble was too much of a good thing, and after a 1983 tour, Hodgson left the band.

Why? The reasons are unclear. Hodgson has said that there were no personal problems with Davies, but that hasn’t stopped speculation. Especially since the two made a legal agreement that they would no longer perform each others’ songs. Hodgson has gone on to pursue a solo career. Davies continued with Supertramp. Neither of them has met with the same kind of success.

Now Hodgson is back with a collection of live performances of some of his greatest hits. These are songs he has said in an interview he still loves to sing. “My songs come from a very personal place inside me and they carry my beliefs and my dreams and my philosophy of life.” More importantly, they are songs we still love to hear. They have been available as digital downloads on Hodgson’s official web site and will soon be out on a CD. Classics Live collects dynamic performances from the singer’s 2010 world tour: Brazil, Germany, Norway, Venezuela and Paris. If the album shows anything, it shows that Hodgson still has that distinctive voice that thrilled us all back in the day and the songs themselves are as alive today as they ever were.

The CD opens with “Take the Long Way Home” from Breakfast in America and adds three other songs from one of the finest rock albums ever recorded: “The Logical Song,” “Lord is it Mine?,” and “Breakfast in America.” From the 1974 Crime of the Century there are three songs: “School,” “Dreamer,” and “Hide in Your Shell.” There is an acoustic version of “Two of Us” from the 1975 Crisis? What Crisis? and Even the Quietest Moment (1977) is represented by the hit, “Give a Little Bit.” “It’s Raining Again” from 1982’s Famous Last Words, Hodgson’s last album with Supertramp, ends the album. The only song from his solo career is “Only Because of You.”

If you are too young to have been around in the seventies when Supertramp was at its heights, here is a collection that will give you a good idea of what made them so great. For the elderly among you, this is a collection that is bound to bring back some fine memories. Unlike some singers who seem to have grown tired of singing the songs that made them famous, Hodgson recognizes the “deep connection that fans have” with these songs and he performs them with the same passion and vigor he did forty years ago. Classic is the right title for these songs; classy is the right word to describe the singer.

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About Jack Goodstein

  • Penny Lane

    Wonderful review for Roger Hodgson’s Classics Live. When this CD became available in the digital download format on Roger’s site, I downloaded it right away. Sheer perfection. This man’s voice is flawless and sounds even better than when the Classics that he wrote and composed were released. A must have for every fan.

    Roger will be kicking off his worldwide 2011 tour later this month in Temecula, CA. If you have never seen Roger live, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to see the original singer/songwriter perform the songs we love such as Dreamer, Give a Little Bit, Breakfast in America, The Logical Song, Take the Long Way Home, Fool’s Overture, Hide in Your Shell, It’s Raining Again, and so very many more. Roger’s shows are absolutely amazing. See all the tour details on his site. Get yourself to a show. You will be so very glad that you did.

  • Vidal

    Each new concert of Roger brings me many emotions,and each new concert touch my heart and feelings more and more.
    Nobody in all my life gave the feelings that Roger’s songs do..when i need to feel better with my everyday bussines,just have to play His songs,don`t mind if i’m at home or driving..Just need Roger songs ¡¡¡
    Can’t wait to have in my hands the new release Classics Live asap pleeeease ;)))
    God bless Roger.

  • heartsong62

    The most amazing thing about Roger and his music would be how much love, vigor and passion he uses when he sings. Truly, you would struggle to tell the difference between recordings of 40 years ago verses today. The expression is the same these years later. Plus, from the minute he walks on the stage you know who he is performing for……the sea of faces before him.
    Sing on Roger, we will come see you again and again and again….
    Thank you for this heartwarming review, it only tells the truth…

  • Adelheid

    Classics Live is a brilliant album and if this is as close as you can get to a concert with Roger Hodgson, this CD is giving you a pretty good impression of the atmosphere during those concerts.
    The sound is great and Roger’s voice is unique – it actually sounds free and strong and that voice is really becoming better with age. You can listen to samples on his homepage: http://www.rogerhodgson.com and you will find a big part of that magic from his concerts in those recordings – I might want to add that not everything can be captured on here, like you will have to physically attend one of his concerts to see the shining eyes – not only Roger’s shining eyes but also the shining eyes of his audiences.
    But still, this CD will make your eyes shine and allow you to experience the brilliance of both, Roger solo (only accompanied by Aaron MacDonald, who plays sax and more) and Roger with full band. I myself prefer the intimacy of Roger solo, the band stuff does sound great but Roger is one of those rare artists who grabs his guitar or sits down at a piano and when he starts singing it will send shivers up and down your spine – absolutely no band or gimmicks needed.
    So I am really looking forward to part two of the Classics Live sampler which will be released soon – hoping that it will contain some more brilliant acoustic stuff!
    Actually, I only wanted to say that I totally agree with your review – guess I got carried away, oops…
    Oh, and there’s a typo in the review: Breakfast in America was released in 1979 (not 75)! :)

  • Christine

    This live album is what millions of fans have been waiting for over the last years .. a most beautiful ‘excerpt’ of Roger’s outstanding live performances where so many people have come together to see that most amazing artist either solo, with band or even orchestra. I have seen Roger live several times by now and I won’t get tired of going to see him at his shows .. he connects people with his gift of timeless music, friendships have been made all over the world through it, and it makes this artist so special – besides he is a warmhearted, caring human being and points out that he’s always doing his ‘job’ to make people happy … that’s what he really does !

  • Ana L.

    “Classics Live” is like the elixir of eternal youth. Listen to these songs is to relive the past, as those scents that wrap yourself, and they take you to another time. It’s back to regain the feelings and emotions, one day, long ago, I discovered in my old Supertramp albums.

    Songs which became the soundtrack of my life, they have always been there, close to me, and now, Roger, like an alchemist, has discovered the Philosopher’s Stone, and offers us these hymns, that soundtrack, which in no way sounds old or outdated, on the contrary, these songs are very much alive, fresh, young, in perfect shape … because, when feelings included in a song, come from the heart and are truly, are timeless, so, today they sound even better than yesterday.

    I close my eyes, I am driven by the voice of Roger, I’m sixteen again, I open them, I’m 30 years more, I smile, I don’t notice the passage of time, Roger is a great alchemist, he has given us the Philosopher’s Stone, it’s called “Classics Live”.
    Can’t wait to have the second one!!!!

  • #9 Dream

    What???? Roger has not met the same kind of success??? Roger has been touring for years and selling out shows all over the world playing for anywhere from 2000 to 80000 people. The songs he wrote and composed are still being played on the radio today, over three decades after they were released. If that’s not success, I don’t know what is. He is loved the world over.

  • Cerita

    Roger makes the best songs ever. I love his passion and he is an amazing performer.

  • Medic

    I agree with the comment two above mine, that Roger Hodgson’s success might have changed, but to class it as “not met the same kind of success” as in the ST days is a little inaccurate.

  • Montera

    It’s such a joy listen something of Roger. This CD brings the fresh of his songs and proves that there is so much to coming from him in the future. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to watch him alive. I hope that you can make it to see him alive. It’s awesome!

  • Rissa Ciociola

    All you have to do is see Roger once & you will be forever changed… you’ll find yourself dreaming of his next show & even the one after that! Very few artists have an unchanged voice after all these years, and I promise you Roger *never* disappoints. He is the genius behind the many hits of Supertramp and this is the Breakfast In America World Tour with a full band! The audience will soon become your friends, sharing in all of the joy and the beautiful, ethereal music. Just imagine him, with his twelve-string guitar… “Even in the quietest moments, I wish I knew…” From one heart to another, go see him. You will leave glowing from the inside, your soul uplifted & a guaranteed smile on your face. :) “You find your way,” & “I’ll meet you when you’re there!” :)

    Roger’s official sites:

    Website: http://www.rogerhodgson.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rogerhodgsonofficial
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerHodgson
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/MrRogerHodgson

    Visit the Tour Page at http://www.rogerhodgson.com/documents/tour.html
    for the latest up to the minute news about added tour dates or changes. There you will find Roger’s complete schedule of shows, including ticket links, fan presale & on-sale information, maps, reviews, and more…

    Message from Roger to All Who Came to His Recent Shows
    “Thank you for welcoming me back to America so enthusiastically. I’m really happy to be back touring and singing my songs that have meant so much to you for many years. I often tell people that I have the greatest fans in the world – and I look forward to playing for many more of you this year.”