Locus Focus: SUPERTRAMP AT CARIBOU RANCH

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Did you know the grand piano featured on the front cover of Supertramp’s Even in the Quietest Moments… album was not Photoshopped?

That’s right, someone had the bright idea to lug the thing up a snowy mountain where it was covered in the white stuff. The exact location of the shoot was the Eldora Mountain Resort, a popular skiing area, a short but torturous piano-shifting distance from Caribou Ranch, the studio where Supertramp recorded their third UK Top 20 album. According to the studio’s creator and producer, James Guercio, the rarefied Colorado mountain air meant that bands like Supertramp could sing an octave higher, which proved to be a problem when they tried to hit the same notes at sea-level. Caribou Ranch lies 9,000 feet up in the Rockies, so singer Roger Hodgson had to avail himself of the thoughtfully provided oxygen tank in the corner of the studio. Tracks like Give A Little Bit had to be recorded with the aid of a few gulps of the stuff to avoid any breathlessness on the part of the Supertramp vocalist. No longer a residential recording facility, the ranch is now in the middle of a favourite spot for hiking trails, North of Nederland, off Highway 72 on County Road 126.

Colorado’s Caribou Ranch is location No. 183 in Rock Atlas USA, published by Red Planet, price £22.00.