* * 1/2 SUPERTRAMP. "Free as a Bird." A&M. * * 1/2 ROGER HODGSON. "Hai Hai." A&M. Roger Hodgson left Supertramp in 1983, and these LPs represent the second efforts by both parties since the split. Everyone's faring much better now, thank you.
In fact, you could get a heck of an album by merging the best qualities of these two projects. And it wouldn't be all that different from the way pre-split Supertramp music reflected the distinctly different songwriting sensibilities of Hodgson and singer-keyboardist Rick Davies. Hodgson's record even includes a tune the pair wrote in 1974 called "Land Ho."
On his first solo work, "In the Eye of the Storm" Hodgson sounded stiff, a little unsure of himself and disoriented, and the LP was much less representative of his knack for writing radio-ready rock songs than "Hai Hai." It's a freewheeling musical melange and lyrical hodgepodge.
Lines like "Fee, fi, fo, fum, everyone wants it baby" aren't likely to have listeners hanging on every word. Good thing, too--Hodgson doesn't have much to say. Most of his lyrics have a breezy, dashed-off feel, especially next to the poignancy and detail of Davies' songs on "Free as a Bird."