I put my hand down behind the couch as I was heading to the motor last week to grab some CD’s to listen to in case the FM iPod thing was rubbish, I stuck them in a bag and left for Glenelg. I was well up the road before I realised that I had 10 Status Quo CD’s and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
Now this might strike fear into many, panic even, but for me it was an unexpected joy and a timely reminder. Quo are one thing in the minds of the general population and something else altogether in reality. At least they were until the late 70’s and even then it was only on vinyl it started to go all wrong.
On 1970’s Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon they suddenly sounded like blues band in the Canned Heat mold after ditching the whiny psychedelic stuff, but a blues band with so much else going on. The sound developed through a brilliant run of albums, Dog of Two Head, Piledriver, Hello!, Quo, On the Level and Blue for You, with the brilliant Live! recorded at the Glasgow Apollo looking like it was the rock they tripped over as the albums after that, while having some brilliant songs including some of my favourites, were lighter, both in production and songwriting depth.
Unfairly known just for the simple boogie tunes Quo had a huge variety of styles on those early albums, the different songwriters going in all directions to make every album an amazingly cohesive ecletic mix of music including some surprisingly powerful stuff, and I’m used to the heavier side of metal coming at me 24/7. In fact, Caroline Live at the NEC with a single Fender Telecaster thrashing out the intro played loud rocks me back on my heels more than any blast beating detuned black metal band ever will. Sometimes it’s not about speed or how gnarly you sound, it’s the attitude and you can’t manufacture that. Something I found out when I saw Quo a few times after they came back from their ’84 retirement. It just wasn’t the same with hired hands filling out the band and a distracted looking Rossi.
But, ’84 was still a good time to be a Quo fan with two nights on the trot at the Glasgow Apollo (that’s my tickets sellotaped into my programme above with the t-shirts I bought on the first night – I love my folks’ attic) where they were just amazing. Oh, I’d love to go back and appreciate what I was seeing better with my older eyes and ears.
Anyway, when I came back from Glenelg I was straight onto Amazon and I plugged the gaps in my reissue CD collection so I now have all the single B-sides and the like. I’m in heaven and Holly likes them too, Joycee doesn’t but hell, you can’t have it all.
I’ve played tracks from the first few albums to unsuspecting listeners and they think it’s current music from skinny trousered blokes with sideways fringes. Ha.
Status Quo rock. Always have, always will.
And, you frantic four from the 70’s, get it together while you all still can.