Breakfast In Coverville: A Coverville Tribute to Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America”

On March 29, 1979, Supertramp released what would become their most successful album, with over 4 million copies sold in the US alone – and a total of 11 million sold worldwide. The album topped the Billboard album charts for six weeks in the US, and also hit number one in Norway, Canada, and the homeland for many of this project’s submissions, Australia.

As I did last time, I present ALL the submissions for this project, along with information about the performers. And not only are the songs going to be included in a podcast, I’ve gathered them all here as individual downloads and as a complete zip archive (97MB) along with brilliant cover art again designed by Shelby Miller.

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You won’t have a tangible CD to hold in your hands, but this is the digital age, baby! Music these days is distributed as much on plastic discs as it is in ones and zeroes. So download the songs below, copy them to your portable music player, listen to them on your computer, or if you feel inclined, put them in your favorite order, burn them to a CD and put it in a jewel case emblazoned with the magnificent artwork provided by Mr. Miller.

Because there were only ten songs to choose from on the album to cover, I expected a lot of duplicates, and I’m pleased to say that each one does bring something new to the song. And even though I was slightly bummed that nobody was able to cover ‘Gone Hollywood’, ‘Goodbye Stranger’ and ‘Just Another Nervous Wreck’, I’ll leave the door open for anyone who wants to cover any of the three (ELR contributor SkyHawk gave ‘Goodbye Stranger’ a terrific effort, but ran out of time before the deadline to complete it, so keep your eyes on this space for a future release!)

And now, the music:

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1. Gone Hollywood

Dave Verdick

Helping round out the ‘missing” tracks when this cover album was first released is this tune, which is a cover of the lead-off track to Supertramp’s original. Taken in more of a guitar-heavy direction, I have to applaud Dave for doing a great job with one of the harder songs on the album to cover!

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2. The Logical Song

Geoff Madden

A contributor to every iteration of Coverville Idol to this point, Geoff took on the herculean task of covering three songs himself in this project! And not only does each one bring something new to the original, each of the three are in a distinct and different style. Nicely done.

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3. Breakfast In America

Brecht Fist and Amy Rica

Miles Cool’s “My Old School”, “Say You, Say Me” by Seu and Samie, and “Slap & Tickle” by the brilliant team of MC Slap and DJ Tickle. You had to know this was coming. And it’s brilliant.

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4. Breakfast In America

Theresa Miller

Taking a much different approach to the song as Brecht and Amy is Theresa Miller, a newcomer to Coverville Idol audiences. Much more paced and heartfelt, and MUST be listened to with headphones. Her beautiful vocals and some very subtle effects need to be appreciated.

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5. Breakfast In America

James Ghofulpo

Imagine Supertramp covered by a 80’s post punk band, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from this track. Distorted guitars and vocals really put this version into its own place and time brilliantly.

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6. Breakfast In America

Chris Cross

Christoph is no stranger to frequent listeners of Coverville. He’s been a part of each Coverville Idol to date both solo, and as part of his a cappella band No Strings Attached, he developed an amazing revision of the Coverville theme song, and his Musically Challenged segments are among some of my and Tina’s favorites.

The newly married Christoph (submitting under his new wife’s surname) turns in a nice jazz-influenced version of the track. Absolutely smooth.

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7. Breakfast In America

Tim Snyder

More surreal and psychedelic is Tim Snyder’s entry, but no less impressive. Maybe elements of Pink Floyd in there, and certainly a little darker.

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8. Breakfast In America

Beth Madden

Not only did Geoff Madden contribute three entries, he was able to coerce his family into contributing a couple tracks, the first being this final rendition of the title track which uses some very unusual instrumentation to give this tribute to America a very worldly feel. About Beth:

Beth completed Year 12 at Chisholm Catholic College in 2005, and is in the throes of her final year of a double degree (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science) at University of Queensland. Her hobbies are: singing – she is a member of the Queensland University Musical Society, a university-based community choir; music – piano and cello; writing (fantasy genre); reading; movies; and anime. Although uncertain as to exactly what she wants to do with her degrees (although her current dream job is to become one of Cirque du Soleil’s singers), she is hoping to go back to Japan (after a two week school visit in Year 11) for up to a year to teach English to Japanese students.

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9. Oh Darling

Aaron Richard

Surprisingly, the only version of ‘Oh Darling’ I received, which makes this cover in a class by itself in more ways than one. Keeping the prominent piano of the original, this version seems to strip the song to its barest form, as the dedication of a singer to his object of affection – even though said object may not reciprocate the feeling. Aaron’s vocals convey the longing of the lyrics.

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10. Take The Long Way Home

Jim Bouchard

Jim participated in the Squeeze Coverville Idol project as part of his band Lucky & Generous. This time, he throws his hat into the ring as a solo artist, and showcases the vocals, guitar and harmonica into a terrific garage-jam performance.

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11. Take The Long Way Home

Geoff Madden

Another submission from Geoff, this one turns the knobs up for a more sneering rock style.

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12. Take The Long Way Home

Black and Blue

Injecting a terrific blues feel to the song, is this entry from Black and Blue. Once I heard this version, I fell in love with it instantly. I think it becomes its own song, and not just a cover of the Supertramp classic. About Black and Blue:

Black and Blue are a blues rock band from Melbourne, Australia, formed in late 2005 by four members of an earlier blues band called “Dirty Work” and vocalist Steve Gibbs. The band is named for the song “Black & Blue” by Australian 70s blues band Chain, which according to Australian music legend is the only Blues track ever to reach number 1 on the popular charts anywhere in the world.

Black and Blue have played around Melbourne and country Victoria, playing both covers and original material.

Besides the two members overlap between Black & Blue and the LSO, the blues rockers have also been joined occasionally by some of the other members from the Lowdown, who will contribute horns on some of Black & Blue’s original tracks to be featured on their debut album later this year.

Members: Steve Gibbs (vocals), Frank Breen (lead guitar), Pat DeGuara (bass), Aaron Richard (keys), Kevin Starling (drums).

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13. Lord Is It Mine

Robyn Madden

The second of two entries from Geoff Madden’s family, this is Robyn Madden’s take on the lesser known of the ballads on Breakfast in America. Much more instrumentalized (I made that word up) than the original, I think it really adds something beautiful to the song.

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14. Lord Is It Mine

etgilles

Like his take on Squeeze’s “Walk A Straight Line,” etgilles turnes in yet another heartfelt performance. I really get the impression that he feels the songs he covers, and I while it’s not the only way to successfully cover a song, it’s one of the best ways.

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15. Lord Is It Mine

Tim Snyder

A second entry from Tim Snyder, this version is more reminicent of an old country classic, than any of the other tracks. And it’s amazing how well the song lends itself to this style.

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16. Just Another Nervous Wreck

Chickenduck

(NEW!) A great second entry from Chickenduck, this time taking on the deep album cut “Just Another Nervous Wreck”. This one reminds me of indie singer/songwriter Ben Kweller, the more I hear it. With the lesser known tracks from the album, it’s harder to introduce it and put your own spin on it. Where the original of “Nervous Wreck” is large and polished, this is appropriately cautious and reserved.

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17. Just Another Nervous Wreck

Jim Bouchard

(NEW!) Jim Bouchard’s entry, while similar to Chickenduck’s in stripped-downedness (yes, I said that), takes a more confident and accelerating feel to it.

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18. Just Another Nervous Wreck

Geoff Madden

(NEW!) And finally, the third of the post-entries. I could easily hear this on one of 10CC’s albums when Godley & Creme were still with the band. More than any of his other entries, you can put this side-by-side with the orignal and have a hard time believing that they came from the same place. Amazing chord progressions and great use of multiple-track vocals.

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19. Casual Conversations

Geoff Madden

The final entry from Geoff and the Maddens for this contest, and probably the one that is the most fun. As you listen to this rendition, especially if you’re not familiar with the original, you can’t imagine that this is a cover of Supertramp. I love that.

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20. Child Of Vision

The Lowdown Street Orchestra

A fantastic way to close out the album, is this spectacularly-produced brass funk track. Another example of a track that could easily stand alone, and something that I would have epxected to hear on the radio in the 70’s, aside The Sound of Philadelphia and The Hues Corporation. From the band:

The Lowdown Street Orchestra is a 9-piece funk brass band from in Melbourne, Australia, originally formed in 2006 by ex-members of the Monash University Big Band who wanted to play the music of New Orleans Brass Bands from the “new school” such as the Dirty Dozen and ReBirth Brass Bands, who had reinvented the traditional street jazz in the 1980s by mixing old songs with funk and hip-hop elements.

The band started out as an all-acoustic outfit predominantly playing at street festivals, with the whole band either playing sousaphone, trumpet, trombone, sax or marching drums.

Since then, the lineup has expanded to include guitar and drum kit, allowing a broader stylistic range for stage gigs. The LSO these days play covers from anyone from The Cure to Rage Against The Machine to Michael Jackson, as well as straight ahead funk and jazz.

Having said that – they still use the 100% acoustic and portable lineup to play out on the street and can be seen doing so semi-regularly around Melbourne for events like the annual Moomba parade, the closest thing the city has to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras.

Members: Aaron Richard (sousaphone), Frank Breen (guitar), Dan Duke (trumpet), Pete Morton (sax), Jezz Blamey (sax), Adele McCarthy (sax), Tim Blamey (trombone), Dave Wilkinson (kit), Ilana Kornhauser (percussion).

Complete .zip file containing all songs and album art

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