Tramp’s Footprints: The History Of Supertramp – Book Review

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You might think you know a little something about Supertramp. Maybe you’re a big fan and know a little about their history, the band members’ names and what they play. Perhaps, you recall seeing them a time or two, and count “Crime Of The Century” or “It’s Raining Again,” among your favorite songs. However, you love “The Tramp,” I’d venture a guess that your adoration pales by comparison to writer Abel Fuentes’ — which he makes plain in his massive biography about the band, Tramp’s Footprints: The History Of Supertramp.

Originally published in Spain in 2020, under the title Huellas de Vagabundo-Le historia de Supertramp, this 700+ page tome takes the reader from the very beginning of the band — their upbringing and origins — through their celebrated 1970s reign, and even after keyboardist, guitarist and singer Roger Hodgson left the group in 1983.

As much as we get behind-the-scenes stories of shows and recordings from what is considered the classic Supertramp lineup — Hodgson, keyboardist and singer Rick Davies, saxophone and woodwinds player John Helliwell, drummer Bob Siebenberg and bassist Dougie Thomson — we also get lots from the members of the road crew, touring managers, and others you wouldn’t typically hear from in a band bio. In fact, Fuentes amassed nearly 100 exclusive interviews for this book from what is often referred to here as the “Supertramp family.” And it’s all great stuff!

And while Fuentes gives us chapter upon chapter of the band’s story post-Hodgson’s departure (and I was surprised with how many albums they’ve released and how many concerts they’ve played), he doesn’t shy away from the derision between the band’s founders, primary songwriters and vocalists — Hodgson and Davies. In the end, the writer does put forth the question of whether a reunion of the ‘classic’ lineup is possible. Both Davies and Hodgson weigh in with no real definitive answer. One can hope, I guess.

So, even if you thinking you know it all, spending your time diving into Fuentes’ deep dive into the Supertramp story is very logical indeed. From where I sit, I’d say Tramp’s Footprints: The History Of Supertramp is an enjoyable and thorough read about a unique band that left an indelible mark in rock and roll.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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