Status Quo album-by-album thread (50 Years of Quo)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JulesRules, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    I have been thinking about doing this thread for a while. There are certainly some fans of the Quo on these boards even if the band failed to achieve permanent success in the US (contrary to UK, Europe, Australia and various other markets). My interest in what is currently touring under the name "Status Quo" has waned after Rick Parfitt's sad passing last year, but I don't want to be bitter about Francis Rossi or the members that are playing with him. I don't agree with the notion that the Frantic Four line-up made the only good Quo music, as we'll see in this thread. Still, even for the purist fans it's a good time to start this thread because finally all the classic Vertigo albums are available as deluxe editions (mastered by Andy Pearce, with more or less interesting bonus material).

    While the music press has never cared much for the band, I think they offer more variety and substance than they are often given credit for and it's also a goal of this thread to prove it. But certainly Quo are mainly fun listening and not ridden with philosophical ideas or highly complicated musical concepts. I sometimes think of them as the British equivalent of boogie bands such as Canned Heat or ZZ Top, the main difference being that the Quo are less laid back and more aggressive.

    My intention is to cover every album release, including selected bonus tracks and rarities (i.e. singles-only material) plus live stuff.

    I'm going to post the album covers and detailed information for each LP but will only write reviews for those albums I'm really familiar with (mainly 70s and 2000s stuff), so feel free to step in if you think you've got something to say. Reviews and views are welcome!

    For additional reading pleasure and sometimes opposing views, I recommend this series of texts written by forum member @Ma Kelly (his username will be explained in this thread as well, in case you don't know!) though mind it stops in 1984.****in_quo/1/

    Finally one last comment before we get rolling. I prefer a slow but steady pace (also because of my online habits). And please excuse my long-winded posts…

    You ready?
  2. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    PS: I know there are some people who are interested in only the early material. That's fine, but it would still be cool if some of you hung around for a bit longer and checked out some of the posted videos. I don't think Quo were ever truly one-dimensional. If you like their early Bee-Gees-type ballads, you should also be able to like "Living on an Island", if you like the 70s Rock’n’Roll material there's no reason to scoff at the "Heavy Traffic" album...
  3. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter


    1966-1967: Before Status Quo


    Francis Rossi * 29.5.1949

    Alan Lancaster * 7.2.1949

    Roy Lynes * 25.10.1943

    John Coghlan * 19.9.1946

    1966-1967: Before Status Quo - the pre-Quo recordings by The Spectres and Traffic Jam

    The Spectres

    1. I (Who Have Nothing) [A-Side] 3:01 (Carlo Donida/Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)

    2. Neighbour, Neighbour [B-Side] 2:43 (Alton Joseph Valier/Huey Meaux)

    3. Hurdy Gurdy Man [A-Side] 3:15 (Alan Lancaster)

    4. (Her Name Was) Laticia [B-Side] 3:00 (Lancaster)

    5. (We Ain't Got) Nothing Yet [A-Side] 2:18 (Ron Gilbert/Ralph Scala/Mike Esposito)

    6. I Want It [B-Side] 3:01 (Roy Lynes/John Coghlan/Francis Rossi/Alan Lancaster)

    7. Spicks and Specks 2:40 [Singles Collection] (Barry Gibb)

    8. Walking With My Angel 2:15 [Singles Collection] (Carole King/Gerry Goffin)

    9. When He Passed You By 2:45 [Singles Collection] (Alan Lancaster?)

    10. Don't Cry When You're All Alone [unreleased demo]

    11. You Are My Girl [unreleased demo)

    12. Love in Vain 2:14 [Riots Of The Amphetamine Generation]

    13. Say That You Need Me [Riots Of The Amphetamine Generation)

    Traffic Jam

    14. Almost But Not Quite There [A-Side] 2:45 (Francis Rossi)

    15. Wait Just a Minute [B-Side] 2:20 (Roy Lynes)

    BBC Sessions

    BBC Session 1 (as The Spectres) (1966)

    16. Gloria 2:47 (Van Morrison)

    17. Interview with Francis Rossi 0:49

    18. I (Who Have Nothing) 3:03

    19. Neighbour, Neighbour 2:38 (Alton Joseph Valier/Huey Meaux)

    20. Bloodhound 2:05 (Larry Bright)

    21. Bird Dog 2:16 (Don Everly/Phil Everly)

    BBC Session 2 (as Traffic Jam) (1967)

    22. I Don't Want You 2:47 (Pete Dello/Brain Potter)

    23. Almost But Not Quite There 2:38

    24. Spicks and Specks 2:47

    25. It Takes Two (William “Mickey” Stephenson/Silvia Moy)


    • Alan Lancaster (vocals/bass)
    • Francis Rossi (vocals/guitar)
    • Roy Lynes (organ/vocals)
    • John Coghlan (drums)

    The band had been around in various forms and guises since about 1961. This is remarkable because 1) the Beatles-led music boom hadn’t truly begun yet and 2) the band members were in their very early teens when the band was formed! They played at Butlin’s Minehead (a sort of holiday camp) alongside another band called The Highlights, which consisted of Rick Parfitt and the twin sisters Gloria and Jean Harrison. (Watch Rick, Gloria and Jean reminisce on the “Hello Quo” DVD!) While The Spectres played rock music, The Highlights were more of a cabaret band but Rick was attracted to the sound of that other group. He and Francis quickly became friends and hung out a lot together. One curious thing both had in common – Rick had called himself “Richard Harrison” with the Highlights and Francis had been calling himself “Mike Rossi”. Both weren’t too happy about their real names!

    When The Spectres released their first single (a cover of "I (Who Have Nothing)"), they consisted of Francis Rossi, Alan Lancaster, Roy Lynes and John Coghlan. Two more singles (“Hurdy Gurdy Man” and another cover, “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”) were released but none were successful. The name change to Traffic Jam (after Steve Winwood & company had already secured the name "Traffic") didn't change that and this group's only single (“Almost But Not Quite There”) was no hit either. Another change however prefigured their breakthrough, as Francis' friend Rick Parfitt (who’d just got ‘stilettoed’ after an argument with the singing twins…) was brought into the group, mainly for his voice. The band was now called "The Status Quo" and recorded a Rossi song that had been treated with all kinds of cool effects in the studio, thereby planting the band firmly into the psychedelic movement.

    "Pictures of Matchstick Men" became the quasi-title track of the debut album (which we'll come to shortly) and is rightly regarded as a classic of the psychedelic era (and has been re-recorded in 1999 and 2014 as well as played live). However those six early recordings were not included on the debut album or one of its reissues, even if the deluxe edition contains excerpts of the BBC sessions done as Spectres and Traffic Jam. Three unreleased Spectres tracks (including The Bee Gees' "Spicks and Specks" later re-recorded for the Quo debut) were later released on Castle's "Singles Collection", two more were released on a rare vinyl release called "Riots of the Amphetamine Generation".

    I wish all those quartet recordings were collected on a single CD!

    What do you think about the tracks recorded before "Pictures of Matchstick Men"?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  4. vzok

    vzok Forum Resident

    I remember hearing "I Who Have Nothing" and liking it. Not familiar with the other tracks.
    JulesRules likes this.
  5. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

  6. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    I have to listen to all this stuff befor I can make up my mind. My favourite version of "I (Who Have Nothing)" is the one by Manfred Mann's Earth Band...
  7. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Great stuff Jules. I should be here for the duration of this thread. I'm a big Quo fan.

    My favourite early pre-Quo recording is their version of (We Ain't Got) Nothing' Yet. I think it's a more powerful and energetic version than the Blues Magoos original.
    JulesRules likes this.
  8. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    Just listened - certainly an early indication of the band's ability to lay down a mean shuffle!

    As everyone and his dog have posted below the video, it's the same riff as in "Black Night" by Deep Purple. And this song also didn't mark the first instance of its usage...
  9. Aghast of Ithaca

    Aghast of Ithaca Forum Resident

    Traffic Jam's song I Don't Want You (complete with Brian Matthew intro) was included on the excellent psychedelia box set Real Life Permanent Dream. It's a good lively track and it's got a surprisingly confident Rossi vocal considering he was only about 17 at the time.

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  10. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    Aaaah that lovely nasal wail. Francis' voice is so recognizable :)
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  11. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    Of course, looking forward to the ride.

    My Quo starts around 1970 and i do go beyond the 1984 split, first gig was Rock Til You Drop at Wembley 1991 (the 4th show of 4 that day,) bought myself a nice second-hand copy of that album on vinyl last week for a few quid. The 90's and beyond are more questionable but amongst those albums are some great tracks. Will ask my Quo loving mate JohnS if he'll contribute too as he sometimes frequents the SH boards and he's seen Quo 100+ times live and he too goes beyond the 1984 timeline where many Quo fans end.

    Onwards..................and cheers to Jules for starting this. :cool:
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  12. ifihadafish

    ifihadafish Forum Resident

    I'm in!

    Quo were my first ever gig (29 years ago) - and I just sucked up the double Live album (probably bought it 30 years ago) and it remains one of the best live albums ever. For some reason I never bought their studio albums* - until the last few years - first on CD and now picking up the vinyls

    *Okay I admit it - I started with In The Army Now and then Ain't Complaining and finally Perfect Remedy and it put me off getting more - and the two live albums did the job (I'd picked up the Live At The NEC by this stage).

    Eagerly awaiting this hitting the boogie era.
    JulesRules likes this.
  13. 12stringbassist

    12stringbassist Basso Profundo

    Manchester UK
    Great thread, I will be in here lots, later on. :)
    JulesRules likes this.
  14. Johns44

    Johns44 Forum Resident

    Yateley, UK
    Hi Jules. I'll be around for this one. I've been a huge Quo fan since I was 12 and still am 41 years later. From the early stuff as The Spectres I think I Who Have Nothing and Neighbour, Neighbour are excellent. I'm certainly looking forward to this thread.
  15. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    I'll post the debut album soon, discussion about Spectres and Traffic Jam stuff is still open.
  16. Aghast of Ithaca

    Aghast of Ithaca Forum Resident

    Well, just to add that Rossi has claimed, semi-seriously, that the song titles in this period are a series of uncanny premonitions that success is just around the corner, getting a bit closer with each flop 45.

    I (Who Have Nothing)

    (We Ain't Got) Nothing Yet

    Almost But Not Quite There

    Wait Just a Minute

    ... and then he writes Pictures of Matchstick Men, and off they go.
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  17. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    Haha! That's great. Never thought of that.
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  18. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    1968: Picturesque Matchstickable Messages


    Rick Parfitt * 12.10.1948

    1968: Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from The Status Quo

    1. Black Veils of Melancholy (Francis Rossi)3:17 L
    2. When My Mind Is Not Live (Rick Parfitt/Rossi) 3:03 L
    3. Ice In The Sun (Marty Wilde/Ronnie Scott) 2:13 L
    4. Elizabeth Dreams (Wilde/Scott) 3:29 L
    5. Gentleman Joe's Sidewalk Cafe (Kenny Young) 3:02 L
    6. Paradise Flats (Wilde/Scott) 3:13 L
    7. Technicolour Dreams (Anthony King) 2:54 L
    8. Spicks and Specks (Barry Gibb) 2:46 L
    9. Sheila (Tommy Roe) 1:57 L
    10. Sunny Cellophane Skies (Alan Lancaster) 2:47 L
    11. Green Tambourine (Paul Leka/Shelley Pinz) 2:19 L
    12. Pictures of Matchstick Men (Rossi) 3:14 L
    *”L” indicates songs played live by Status Quo according to

    Bonus Tracks 1998:
    13. To Be Free [B-Side] (Roy Lynes) 2:38 L
    14. Pictures of Matchstick Men [Alternative Version mixed by Mike Brown] 3:14
    15. Paradise Flats [Alternate Mix by Mike Brown] 3:12


    Deluxe Edition 2003:

    13. To Be Free 2:38 L
    14. Make Me Stay a Bit Longer [A-Side] (Rossi/Parfitt) 2:56 L
    15. Auntie Nellie [B-Side] (Lancaster) 3:22 L
    Saturday Club BBC Session 13/2/68
    16. Interview With Brian Matthew 1:07
    17. Pictures Of Matchstick Men 3:13
    18. Things Get Better (Steve Cropper/Eddie Floyd/Al Jackson) 2:11 L
    David Symonds BBC Session 16/1/68
    19. Spicks And Specks 2:48
    20. Judy In Disguise (Andrew Bernard/John Fred) 2:45 L
    Symonds on Sunday BBC Session 27/1/69
    21. Interview 1:18
    22. Make Me Stay a Bit Longer 2:48

    Disc 2
    Tracks 1-12: “Proper” Stereo Remix
    13. Auntie Nellie [Stereo Remix] 3:33
    The Spectres BBC Session (Saturday Club) 10/9/66:
    14. Gloria 2:47 (Van Morrison)
    15. Interview With Francis Rossi 0:49
    16. I (Who Have Nothing) 3:03
    17. Neighbour, Neighbour 2:38
    The Traffic Jam BBC Session (Saturday Club) 24/6/67:
    18. I Don't Want You 2:47
    19. Almost But Not Quite There 2:38
    20. Spicks And Specks 2:47
    The Status Quo BBC Session (David Symonds) 29/3/68:
    21. Gloria 2:43
    22. Interview With Alan Lancaster 1:00
    23. Black Veils Of Melancholy 3:14
    24. Bloodhound 2:05 L

    • Francis Rossi (vocals/guitar)
    • Rick Parfitt (vocals/guitar)
    • Alan Lancaster (vocals/bass)
    • Roy Lynes (organ/piano/vocals)
    • John Coghlan (drums)

    "Pictures of Matchstick Men" - originally written as something in the vein of "Hey Joe" - with its heavy phasing and wah-wah effects worked perfectly in the pop year 1967 and turned “The Status Quo” into a hot new band. The next single "Black Veils of Melancholy", Francis Rossi admitted was an attempt of repeating the success with a very similar sounding song. However, Alan Lancaster said that he doesn't think the songs are similar. In any case, it was not a hit and they went back to outside writers Marty Wilde (himself a former teenage idol and father of Kim Wilde!) and Ronnie Scott for the proper follow-up "Ice in the Sun". This was more poppy and less rocky but did contain another ear-catching sound effect, in this case the sound of a plectrum scraping across the piano strings!

    When the debut album was finally released in 1968 it featured a mixture of psychedelic-sounding originals written by or for the band and covers of relatively current pop ‘hit’ songs (with hindsight not such a good move, but acceptable back then). The preceding singles were all included, with the exception of "To Be Free" (b-side of "Black Veils..."), later included on the reissues. Speaking of reissues, there was a 1998 remaster on Castle by Robert Corich and Mike Brown and a deluxe edition in 2003 (not sure who remastered that one). Unfortunately neither reissue is available anymore. I've tried to spark some movement but at the moment, it doesn't seem like BMG are willing to change anything about this situation. Personally, I would love a double CD that contains everything the band recorded in that era (i.e. all BBC Sessions) and the earlier, "Rickless" Spectres and Traffic Jam recordings put on an extra disc (see above).
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  19. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    I must have a copy of this album somewhere but has been a long time since i listened. As for Matchstick Men, its a good fun single, using that same Hey Joe chord sequence that many have used since. I prefer Ice In The Sun.

    I notice the Bee Gee's cover, need to check that out. And Gentleman Joe written by Kenny Young, I assume the same Kenny who wrote Under The Boardwalk and songs for Fox.

    I wrongly assumed 4500 Times was the only Rossi/Parfitt co-write but i see thats not the case with When My Mind Is Not Live. Did they write any others together through the years?
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  20. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    Of course! They were not a prolific writing team but "O Baby", "Big Fat Mama", "A Reason for Living", "Hard Time" and later "No Problems" are all classics from the Rossi/Parfitt collaboration. (How accurate those credits actually are is another subject that will come up during this thread.) There are also three more co-writes on "Spare Parts" and the single "Make Me Stay A Bit Longer". :)

    Edit: I've forgotten a lot more. "Everything" from Ma Kelly. "Save Me" and "Lonely" from the 80s. And several co-writes with Bob Young ("Hold You Back") and Andy Bown ("Breaking Away"). More than I thought...
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  21. Aghast of Ithaca

    Aghast of Ithaca Forum Resident

    Make Me Stay A Bit Longer is a great track. In many ways it's a precursor of future Quo songs like Blue Eyed Lady, Drifting Away etc.
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  22. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    Interesting chord changes...

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  23. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    Since I posted the full BBC Sessions for The Spectres and Traffic Jam, here are the 1968 Quo recordings (the last session is entirely absent from the deluxe edition!):

    BBC Session 3 (first as Status Quo) (1968)
    1. Spicks And Specks
    2. Judy In Disguise
    3. Pictures of Matchstick Men
    BBC Session 4 (1968)
    4. Interview with Brian Matthew
    5. Pictures of Matchstick Men
    6. Things Get Better
    BBC Session 5 (1968)
    7. Gloria
    8. Interview with Alan Lancaster
    9. Black Veils of Melancholy
    10. Bloodhound 2:05
    BBC Session 6 (1968)
    11. Interview
    12. Ice In The Sun 2:06
    13. When My Mind Is Not Live 2:25
    14. Paradise Flats 2:35

    Live in Vienna 1969 (January 12th)

    This is an audience recording but worth noting because it’s the only live recording of the so-called “psychedelic” Quo incarnation. What’s obvious is that they played a lot of soul and rock covers besides their original material!
    1. Pictures of Matchstick Men
    2. Paradise Flats
    3. Love Me Two Times (The Doors cover)
    4. Medley:
    a. Lucille (Little Richard cover)
    b. Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley cover)
    c. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (The Beatles cover)
    d. Hold On, I'm Comin' (Sam & Dave cover)
    e. You Keep Me Hangin' On (The Supremes/Vanilla Fudge cover)
    5. Ice in the Sun
    6. Gimme Some Lovin' (The Spencer Davis Group cover)
    7. Hush (Joe South/Deep Purple cover)

    You may also check out the bootleg index over at (mainly lists live recordings and their quality but also some studio stuff) for info about later Quo live recordings.

    I'll leave this post open for a while because, well, the debut contains the only big US hit Quo ever had. "Spare Parts" is lined up next but may take a while depending on when I'm back online...
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  24. MrSka57

    MrSka57 Forum Resident

    Syracuse, New York
    The first time I heard them (outside of 'Matchstick Men') was the 1990 Knebworth Festival.
    The entire day was broadcast on a local FM station and SQs set was the best - they wiped the
    grounds with the rest of the performers (and that includes Floyd and McCartney).
  25. JulesRules

    JulesRules Napoleon Blownapart Thread Starter

    It wasn't hard to beat Macca from what I've heard/seen on the CD and Blu-Ray. However I think Floyd were rather good (if maybe worn out after, what, three years of touring?) and both Tears for Fears and the Superstar set (Clapton, Dire Straits, Elton John) are also contenders for the best performance at the festival.
    But yes, Quo were in top form, even fans of the "old band" admit that this was a great gig.
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