Classic Rock Review

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Roger Hodgson In The Eye Of The Storm (1984)

Front-Roger HodgsonFrom amazon.com

Review I came of age with the British Invasion in 1964 when I was seventeen. Over the years since then, I’ve closely followed a flow of wonderful and varied music from the Beatles, Kinks, Animals, Rolling Stones, and many others. Along the way, I’ve been heavy into Procol Harum, the Strawbs, Yes, Genesis, John Mayall, the Yardbirds, and most other quality British groups.

However, I realized a few years ago that “Breakfast in America” is still my all-time favorite “desert island” album. No doubt about it! I never get tired of listening… It’s a perfect collection of songs with catchy melodies and clever lyrics that are richly (yet cleanly) performed and produced by a group of exceedinlgly talented musicians. Over time, I’ve gotten into every subtle “ooooh” and “aaaah” soaring harmony, every nice guitar and synthesizer part, every cool lyric, and even the background sound effects and comments that make a song special. (e.g. “What’s she got, not a lot…”)

When I decided to buy the re-mastered “Breakfast in America” CD, I started reading the Amazon reviews and became intrigued with the praise for Roger Hodgson’s solo albums. So I purchased “In the Eye of the Storm” and “Ha, Ha” a month ago. I haven’t stopped listening and humming along to them since! “In the Eye of the Storm” is truly the great album we all wanted to follow “Breakfast in America”. Okay, I like “Famous Last Words…” (the actual BiA sequel), but it’s not in the Supertramp league of greatness that marks this album.

Listening to this album makes it clear that Roger Hodgson is the the basis of the Supertramp sound we all know and love, and he shows it all here. Great songs, great playing and production, and even a great song like “Had a Dream” to kick it all off. That one song embodies almost every cool thing you could want in a Supertramp song. If I didn’t know this was a solo album, I would swear it was Supertramp at their finest! And that’s a LOT of praise from a skeptic like me.

So I highly recommend that you buy it today. Hey, I just bought it 15 years after it originally came out, and I’m now enjoying the fresh sound of a whole “new” super Supertramp album that I never knew existed. And you should also buy Roger Hodgson’s “Ha, Ha”, which is almost as good. Listen to “London” on that album and you will understand why the idea of Supertramp doing reggae is so compelling. Oh yeah, don’t miss Roger’s cool background comment in that song: ” Ooo, so sorry boys…”

I think we need another excellent Roger Hodgson album to keep us going for twenty more years. The stereo in my Volvo sounds so much better than my home stereo in 1985. And I still need my rock fix everyday…

Review Combine the best moments from In The Eye of The Storm with Brother Where You Bound? and you’d have the best Supertramp album since Breakfast. Clearly the conflict between Davies’ musical direction for Supertramp and Hodgson couldn’t be resolved, so Hodgson made the break and put together a strong collection of solo material.

The best material here holds its own with his best Supertramp songs. Always tuneful and full of hooks, In The Eye Of The Storm overcomes the “solo album curse” of many artists. Nevertheless, there is enough second rate material and preachy lyrics to make one wish that Hodgson and Davies had been able to reconcile their differences. Although lyrically sharper than Davies’ songs for Brother, Eye lacks both a sense of adventure and an edginess that one had come to expect from the band.

All of that said, it’s still a pleasant album that manages to overcome its weaknesses. Certainly Davis and Hodgson (like Lennon & McCartney, Jagger & Richards and other songwriting teams)need each other more than they’d care to admit.

Eye reminds me of some of George Harrison’s less distinguished albums; there’s a considerable amount of craft on displace and clearly the heart’s in the right place, but there needed to be someone to edit the material into a strong, cohesive set. It doesn’t help that Hodgson plays most of the instruments himself. A band might have breathed more life into the album as well.

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January 17, 2014 Posted by | Roger Hodgson In The Eye Of The Storm | , | Leave a comment