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

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

  1. Ma Kelly

    Ma Kelly Forum Resident

    Yeah Big Al's bass on this is great - maybe his best? It's another thing I don't get with RAOTW onwards, his sound was less fat but also his playing became much simpler. On Blue for You and particularly this song (and the demo of Wild Side of Life as well I guess) his playing is pretty fluid. None of that on ROATW. Such a shame.
    JulesRules likes this.
  2. Ma Kelly

    Ma Kelly Forum Resident

    BTW has anybody ever got to the bottom of why there are two versions of the Wild Side of Life demo on the recent deluxe? I'm assuming it's just the label ballsing up, but it's kind of a curious thing to have done! Did nobody notice?!
    JulesRules likes this.
  3. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    I thought they sounded similar.
    JulesRules likes this.
  4. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident Thread Starter

    1977: Status+Quo+Live!

    1977: 1) Status Quo Live and Tokyo Quo

    Live at Glasgow Apollo, 27th Oct 1976 – Original LP & CD release & 2014 Super Deluxe Edition:

    CD 1:

    1. Junior's Wailing (White/Pugh) 5:21
    2. Backwater/Just Take Me (Parfitt/Lancaster) 8:27
    3. Is There a Better Way (Lancaster/Rossi) 4:17
    4. In My Chair (Rossi/ Parfitt) 3:35
    5. Little Lady (Parfitt)/Most Of The Time (Rossi/Young) 7:06
    6. Forty-Five Hundred Times (incl. Gotta Go Home) (Rossi/Parfitt) 16:54

    CD 2:

    7. Roll Over Lay Down (Rossi/Young/Lancaster/Parfitt/Coghlan) 6:06
    8. Big Fat Mama (Rossi/Parfitt) 5:13
    9. Caroline [incl. drum solo] (Rossi/Young; Coghlan) 6:40
    10. Bye Bye Johnny (Berry) 6:24
    11. Rain (Parfitt) 4:57
    12. Don't Waste My Time (Rossi/Young) 4:04
    13. Roadhouse Blues [incl. Shakin’ All Over] (Doors) 14:23

    Andy Bown – Organ on “Backwater”, “Is There a Better Way” and “Rain” (only Glasgow recordings)
    Bob Young – Harmonica on “Roadhouse Blues” [+ “Railroad”]

    “Is there anybody out there who wants to ROCK?”

    “Is there anybody out there who wants to ROLL?”

    “And is there anybody out there who wants to BOO-GEY?!”

    Jackie Lynton supplied the legendary intro and his “number one rock ‘n’ roll band in the laandh and “will you welcome the MAGNIFICENT Status Quoooooooooooooooooooo” is more than a subtle indication of what a force the Quo had become by that point. Rick summed up this period in particular with the words “it just felt mental”. Quo were now huge and after the success of the 3-track Live EP, a full-length double album recorded in front of an enthusiastic crowd (courtesy of the Glasgow Apollo) was an obvious move – and one that all Quo fans can be eternally thankful for, since other bands didn't capture their live set at their peak.

    While the packaging states the album was recorded over three nights, in fact they only used the first – a fact that Francis would later regret (“We were foolish, we should have used the third night”). He also said he wishes they’d fixed the mistakes, but I don’t hear many of them – the noticeable one is Alan singing the wrong verse in “Bye Bye Johnny” but otherwise the album sounds fine to me. Nonetheless, I'd like to hear the 28th and 29th Oct recordings someday, particularly for the jam parts in 4500x.

    The only issue I have with “Live!” is, well, the same issue as with pretty much all double live albums: it’s long. It can be hard to find the time to listen to it and to not lose attention halfway through.

    Some remarkable things: Alan, who didn't ever have a vocal on a single, is lead vocalist for almost the entire Side One. Andy Bown plays keyboards on some tracks but he’s mixed into the background so the benefit isn’t quite clear. Francis’ Incredible Exploding Guitar in “Forty-Five Hundred Times” – at times he’s noodling around a bit, but I’ve certainly heard him play with far less inspiration. John Coghlan seems to hit his cow-bell at seemingly any occasion. I also prefer some of his drum parts here to the studio versions, “Little Lady” sounds a bit more relaxed and jazzy compared to the somewhat relentless attack of the studio recording.

    I've mentioned the loud audience - this is something that distinguishes this LP from pretty much all the other 70s live recordings later released. The Quo Army in full flight doing "Oh–oh-oh-oh–oh" choruses in the middle of "Roadhouse Blues" or interacting with the drum solo, all that contributes to the contagious energy found on the album.

    The original LP had a changed running order compared to the actual concert, probably in order to fit the songs onto 2 LPs. The 2005 remaster was changed to the original 1976 setlist, the 2014 box set version mastered by Andy Pearce went back to the original release (likely because it used replica packaging of the original LP – including the typo “Junior’s Waiting”!). I have to say I like Pearce’s remastering but not everybody does. The atmosphere comes across well (particularly on headphones, where one really gets transported to the Glasgow Apollo) whereas the 2005 remaster may have been more punchy with the vocals somewhat more pronounced. (I’ve been involved in a rather heated Amazon discussion with a reviewer who gave the box 1 star and said that the new version sounds as if the guys all had a cold that night. In the end I was accused of working for the “lable” [sic], having no proper gear – which I admit to – and having hearing issues – which is complete nonsense.)

    Live at Glasgow Apollo – “re-ordered” 2005 Remaster:

    CD 1:

    1. Junior's Wailing (White/Pugh) 5:22
    2. Backwater (Parfitt/Lancaster)
    3. Just Take Me (Parfitt/Lancaster)
    4. Is There a Better Way (Lancaster/Rossi) 4:17
    5. In My Chair (Rossi/Parfitt) 3:35
    6. Little Lady (Parfitt)
    7. Most Of The Time (Rossi/Young)
    8. Rain (Parfitt) 4:52
    9. Forty-Five Hundred Times (incl. Gotta Go Home) (Rossi/Parfitt) 16:41

    CD 2:

    10. Roll Over Lay Down (Rossi/Young/Lancaster/Parfitt/Coghlan) 6:04
    11. Big Fat Mama (Rossi/Parfitt) 5:22
    12. Don't Waste My Time (Rossi/Young) 4:05
    13. Roadhouse Blues (incl. Shakin’ All Over) (Doors) 14:21
    14. Caroline (incl. drum solo) (Rossi/Young; Coghlan) 6:43
    15. Bye Bye Johnny (Berry) 6:22



    2014 Super Deluxe Edition Disc 3: “Tokyo Quo”, Live at Sunplaza Hall, 17th Nov 1976

    [Junior’s Wailing/Backwater-Just Take Me]
    1. Is there a Better Way 4:02
    [In My Chair]
    2. Little Lady 3:03
    3. Most of the Time 3:37
    4. Rain 4:37
    [Forty-Five Hundred Times]
    5. Caroline 4:29 [actually played later in the concert]
    6. Roll Over Lay Down 6:09
    7. Big Fat Mama 5:16
    8. Don’t Waste My Time 4:14
    [Roadhouse Blues/Caroline/Drum Solo]
    9. Bye Bye Johnny 6:59


    2014 Super Deluxe Edition Disc 4: Live at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney Australia, 20th Nov 1974

    1. Junior’s Wailing 4:04
    2. Backwater 4:37
    3. Just Take Me 3:47
    4. Claudie (Rossi/Young) 4:19
    5. Railroad (Rossi/Young) 5:51
    6. Roll Over Lay Down 5:40
    7. Big Fat Mama 5:24
    8. Don’t Waste My Time 4:14
    9. Roadhouse Blues (Pt. 1) 8:55
    10. Roadhouse Blues (Pt. 2) 1:38
    11. Caroline 4:16
    12. Drum Solo (Coghlan) 3:21
    13. Bye Bye Johnny 6:14

    Tokyo Quo: This was recorded as a Japan-only live album a few weeks after the Glasgow run and didn't see worldwide release until 2014 as one of two bonus discs in the "Live!" box set edition. The main differences to Live:

    v A single LP instead of a double album, which means it's shorter (obviously) but also misses many important tracks

    v No keyboards (not that they made a big difference) on "Is There a Better Way" and "Rain"

    v The mixing wasn't done by Quo but the Japanese engineers, which means that the balances are somewhat different - the bass and vocals stand out more, but Rick's rhythm guitar is somewhat submerged in the mix. Also the recording doesn't have nearly as much ambience and audience as "Live!", but some may actually prefer that

    v Francis' playing is somewhat shaky at times, showing that the band didn't really care about being recorded (unlike the Glasgow gigs) - "Roll Over Lay Down" and “Big Fat Mama” suffer in particular. Other oddities are Rick missing the intro of ROLD (which is then repeated with him joining, sounds interesting) and dropping out during the solo of BFM, reducing Quo to a power trio of Francis, Alan and John for the last minute of the song

    Still, it's an interesting listen. Quo didn't get quite the overwhelming response that other bands like Deep Purple, Cheap Trick or The Scorpions received in Japan, but they certainly went down well (“Caroline”, “Bye Bye Johnny”). And after all, there aren't so many professionally recorded Quo gigs from the golden years, so I'd say it's essential for anybody who's somewhat of a dedicated Quo fan/completist.

    Australia ’74: Not sure I'd count this as “professionally recorded”, but it’s still the best of all the bootlegs used on the deluxe reissues. Unlike those other concerts with weak audience-recorded sound, this is a soundboard recording with relatively good instrumental presence but virtually no atmosphere or ambience. “Roadhouse Blues” is presented in two parts with about two minutes missing. Since this break occurs after pretty much exactly 46 minutes (the length of a typical cassette side), I assumed that the tape had run out and was switched over – but according to the bootleg index, the original recording includes that missing part. My only explanation is that the CD is derived from a cassette copy… if that’s the case, the original bootleg might actually sound better.

    Anyhow, the great thing about this CD is that you can hear Quo (with passable sound quality) actually “playing live”, not “recording a live album”. Not that there’s a big difference, but a review that’s replicated in the box booklet claims the band were a bit “tight-assed” at the Glasgow ’76 dates. And even though the setlist never changed that much (only “Claudie” and “Railroad” fell out of the concert program between ’74 and ’76), we can still enjoy differences in the performances such as the guitar solo in “Roll Over Lay Down” which displays more virtuosity than usual, the rhythm guitar accompanying the drum solo or Francis’ always similar, but yet unique “audience interaction bits”: "Everyone's got to move together... If the bloke next to you ain't doing it, kick him in the wossnames."
    Almost Simon, Ma Kelly and John Fell like this.
  5. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I can imagine where the error originated - they searched for bonuses released on various bootlegs and found things such as the two 1975 tracks. Nobody seemed to notice that despite the different title it's the same recording. Why that happened I don't know.
    Ma Kelly likes this.
  6. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    obviously a much much bigger band in the UK than the US.
    JulesRules likes this.
  7. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    They were absolutely huge here from around 1973 onwards. Quo are seen as a British institution now! They are much loved.
  8. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    It's really a shame that more early Frantic Four shows were not recorded professionally. It would have been interesting to hear some of the more rarely played numbers live. I like the Australia show because Railroad (A favorite of mine.) was still in the set list. It's too bad a show with Mad About The Boy, I Saw The Light or Nightride did not get recorded for example. It is also unfortunate that songs like Down Down, Mystery Song and Paper Plane were not in the set list either. However, the box set provides a good example of what the classic early Quo sounded like in a live setting.
    JulesRules and Man at C&A like this.
  9. Claus

    Claus Foodie

    Status+Quo+Live! is one of the best live records.... except the boring drum solo. Every song blows away the studio versions. My rating: 9/10.
  10. PJayBe

    PJayBe Forum Resident

    Always left unhappy that the boxset version of the album went back to "album" order rather than "gig"order.
    John Fell likes this.
  11. Ma Kelly

    Ma Kelly Forum Resident

    I was always under the impression that the album was made of two nights' recordings? Little Lady / Most of the Time have always sounded a little different to the surrounding tracks to me, so I always thought they were from a different night. I could have invented that though. Ha, and I've never noticed Al singing the wrong verse - I'll have to listen out to that!
    Man at C&A likes this.
  12. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    I'll have to play again in full tomorrow and deliver my review. Love the intro, love everything about it really, and the live version of 4500 Times (which I heard long before the studio recording,) it soooooo much better.

    Tokyo Quo I had an mp3 of then bought the record store day vinyl reissue. Quite pricey I thought at the time but I play it a lot. Very boomy bass, clearly very raw and I like it for that reason. Zero polish wanted or needed. You can also here Rick and Fran talking to each other, not clear what they're saying but definitely some comments shared mid song. Cant remember which, I need to re-listen to that one too.

    Shame also there's no real live footage of the time. That would've been good.
    JulesRules and Ma Kelly like this.
  13. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    I was always unsure about the boxset, quite pricey, should have included all 3 nights, a proper celebration.

    Do the tapes still exist? If so why not used for all 3? I know it repeats tracks for sure but surely whoever wants that set would want the 3 nights. Or maybe that's just me.
    JulesRules likes this.
  14. Johns44

    Johns44 Forum Resident

    Yateley, UK
    I'm going to keep my review of "Live" short and sweet. Simply it is the best live album ever warts and all, unlike Frampton, Lizzy and Priest (why these all get rated more highly is beyond me).
  15. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    I'm with you on that, might take an exception to the Lizzy comment as that album is wonderful but with Quo live there is no dispute over "how" live it is. I care neither way, both are stunning. Definitely Glasgow Apollo is one of the all-time great live albums and does deserve better recognition.
    JulesRules likes this.
  16. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident Thread Starter

    There are good versions of Paper Plane and Railroad on the 1973 BBC concert (Piledriver deluxe edition).

    Mad About the Boy, I Saw the Light, Nightride and Down Down appear on bootlegs, but they didn't play them a lot (Down Down became a regular live feature after 1976). And Mystery Song was never played live in full, as far as I know...
  17. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bob Young says he's sure the tapes still exist, but he doesn't know where. The missing Southend 1975 tapes were never found, so I wouldn't rule the possibility out that the other two nights are lost.
  18. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    Yes, I know. I like that 1973 show and play it quite a bit and it't too bad some of the other rare tracks were not recorded in better sound quality.
    JulesRules likes this.
  19. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Live at Stafford Bingley Hall 1977

    1. ►Is There a Better Way

    2. ►Roll Over Lay Down

    3. ►Don’t Waste My Time

  20. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident Thread Starter

    1977: Rockin’ All over the World
    Andy Bown * 27.3.1946


    1977: 2) Rockin’ All Over the World

    1. Hard Time (Rossi/Parfitt) 4:45
    2. Can't Give You More (Rossi/Young) 4:17 (L)
    3. Let's Ride (Lancaster) 3:04
    4. Baby Boy (Rossi/Young) 3:13
    5. You Don't Own Me (Lancaster/Mick Green) 3:04 L
    6. Rockers Rollin' (Parfitt/Jack Lynton) 4:19 L
    7. Rockin' All Over The World (John Fogerty) 3:37 L
    8. Who Am I? (Pip Williams/Peter Hutchins) 4:31
    9. Too Far Gone (Lancaster) 3:08
    10. For You (Parfitt) 3:01 L
    11. Dirty Water (Rossi/Young) 3:52 L
    12. Hold You Back (Rossi/Young/Parfitt) 4:31 L
    2005 Remaster Bonus Track (not on 2015 Deluxe Edition!):
    13. Getting Better [from “All This and World War II”] (Paul McCartney/John Lennon) 2:19

    Andy Bown – Keyboards
    Frank Ricotti – Percussion


    2015 Deluxe Edition Disc 2: Bonus Tracks 2015

    Rockin’ All over the World Remixed:
    1. Hold You Back (Rossi/Young/Parfitt) 5:10 L
    2. Baby Boy (Rossi/Young) 3:18
    3. Rockers Rollin' (Parfitt/Lynton) 4:42 L
    4. Who Am I? (Williams/Hutchins) 5:11
    5. Rockin' All Over The World (Fogerty) 3:51 L
    6. Dirty Water (Rossi/Young) 4:16 L
    7. Can't Give You More (Rossi/Young) 5:26 L
    8. Let's Ride (Lancaster) 3:05
    9. For You (Parfitt) 3:08 L
    10. Too Far Gone (Lancaster) 3:09
    11. You Don't Own Me (Lancaster/Mick Green) 3:29 L
    12. Hard Time (Rossi/Parfitt) 4:39
    Rockin’ All Over the World Demos:
    13. Dirty Water [1st Demo 1976] 4:16
    14. Baby Boy [1st Demo 1976] 2:49
    15. Hard Time [1st Demo 1976] 4:47
    16. Hold You Back [Studio Demo 1977] 3:41

    Around the release of the Live album, Status Quo announced that they would overhaul their live set and stage act and also refine their musical direction. The management was intending to break Quo into the US market, and they knew that they wouldn’t be played on US radio if they didn't clean up their sound and made some other compromises. The guy in charge would be Pip Williams, a producer the band had chosen because of his work on a Graham Bonnet album (Bonnet being managed by the same team as Quo, some Quo members also played on his records). Pip brought in multiple new directions, something Alan Lancaster in particular would criticize later saying that they weren’t a band without direction that needed a producer like that. But Rick said he wanted Quo to sound as well-produced as Pink Floyd, and I think Alan and Francis also had similar ambitions at the time. John Coghlan was suffering from a health problem (appendicitis – he’d been operated a few weeks before recording – “The poor guy should have had six months off” said Pip!) and not quite on top form, which was one of the reasons (besides making the album sound more ‘commercial’ and US-compatible) for bringing in a percussionist, Frank Ricotti. Pip said that some of the songs (“Who am I”) might have “benefited from a fully match fit Spud, but he deserves a medal for his positive work on RAOTW”.

    When I first heard the album, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it’s less energetic than the previous two or three, but I like the stylistic diversity and the interesting arrangements. Moreover, “Rockin' All Over the World” IMO is filled with mostly good to excellent songwriting. It does feel like a transitional album of sorts since it’s the first LP with an outside producer since 1971 and the first album with keyboards on pretty much all tracks since 1970 – but it doesn’t feature any compositional credits by Andy Bown, and Francis had not started writing with Bernie Frost yet. It’s also one of the last Quo albums with only one UK single, though “Rockers Rollin’”/”Hold You Back” was released as a double a-side elsewhere. (There were two singles from BFY, but not one single one from Live.)

    One thing that pretty much every fan noticed when the LP was released – it didn’t sound ‘right’. There was a combination of factors that contributed to the overall sound of the album – the studio, the different recording techniques (and mixing for US radio), the pills the production team was on at the time to regulate their weight (!) and the length of the album. The latter point was an indication of later problems, since the band always tried to balance out the writing credits (the main income for the guys, thanks to ****ty contracts). This hadn’t been a problem on earlier records but now that Alan was not writing with the other guys anymore, it meant that he had to push for a certain number of his songs on any LP. Now add to this the two non-Quo written songs (the John Fogerty cover and the Pip Williams song) and you run into problems. While there are vinyl records longer than RAOTW without sound problems, it was the first Quo studio album after 1970 with a length notably beyond 40 minutes – and Quo up to that point had made pretty liberal use of the bass frequencies. You could argue that the mastering took away more than was necessary, but it’s history… John Eden said the singles sounded better, though I'm not sure why – if that’s the case – the singles masters of “Rockers Rollin’”, “Hold You Back” and “Too Far Gone” weren’t used for the remaster.

    @Eroc recently said that the optimum length of a LP side is 18:45, and that one shouldn't normally go beyond 21 minutes. RAOTW is something like 23 minutes per side, which isn't breaking any records but quite a jump from the previous Quo studio albums, most of which didn't clock in over 40 minutes total. And seeing that all of the subsequent LPs until “In the Army Now" were kept below 40 minutes (sometimes with the effect of excellent songs left off, see “Bad Company”), there certainly has to be something about it.

    Whatever the reasons, John Eden (who was the mixing engineer on this and the next two albums before being promoted to co-producer for “Just Supposin’” and “Never Too Late”) had long expressed the interest to remix the album for better sound quality. Given that the multitracks weren’t in such a great shape, it’s quite amazing that the project finally did materialize. Also, the co-ordination of the release was pretty complicated from what I heard. In the end it resulted in one of the best deluxe editions of the series – some fans complained about the inclusion of the original mix instead of live recordings, but it wouldn’t be a reissue of the original album if it didn't include the original album! Also, Andy Pearce did his best to try and make the LP mix sound as good as possible. Thankfully neither the remaster nor the remix were compressed to death, some bands could take a leaf out of that book (*cough* Rush *cough*). John Eden actually filmed the baking and remixing process for possible inclusion on a DVD. Hopefully someday this footage gets released e.g. on a “Classic Albums” Making Of video release. Anyway, on to the album! For your reading pleasure, I reviewed all the available versions of the 12 songs – original mix, remix, demo (if existent).

    Hard Time: You can immediately hear that Quo were going for something slightly different here, as the LP opens not with heavy guitars but with a soft, overcast soundscape consisting of gently strummed guitars, synthesizers and percussion accents. But it soon moves into more Quo-ish territory with a stomping riff and a catchy melody. The singalong chorus indicates the ‘commercial’ direction (though I have no idea why it was never played live) and the energy feels somewhat subdued compared to previous openers. Anybody spot the influence of The Beatles’ “Drive My Car”?

    Remix: It’s a bit strange to hear what was originally an opener turned into a ‘wave-goodbye’ moment, but I can get used to it. The new version is a bit faster but doesn’t fundamentally change the song’s makeup. The differences are subtle (drums sound far more natural and far less ‘hollow’) except for the brass parts which were close to inaudible on the original mix. Coupled with the electric piano, “Hard Time” now sounds like a natural predecessor of things to come.

    Demo: A raw version with pretty much all the elements in place (except the intro of course), but there’s a somewhat choppy transition from the verses into the chorus that starts to annoy me after a while. I'm glad they ‘fixed’ that!

    Can’t Give You More: This song ups the tempo and the energy, but it’s also a very melody-focused song influenced by country music and The Everly Brothers. Because of the time constraints, the album version fades out a bit too early. The band re-recorded the song in 1991 and released it as a single, but Francis isn’t really happy with either version and thinks it sounds better played on an acoustic guitar. Now that begs the question why, after two Aquostic albums, there is no acoustic version of it yet…

    Remix: Piano is audible, but not very loud. I'm not sure why John Eden slightly lowered the tempo here, but the main attraction surely is the marvellous ending. John Coghlan really starts flying here! Listen to those drum fills! Amazing!

    Let’s Ride: Alan’s first track on the album is a song that bristles with energy, influenced by his experience of starting to ride a motorbike. But the mix somewhat flattens out that nervous energy and there is too much percussion and too little drumming.

    Remix: The remix really fixes all the faults and turns what might be a somewhat overlooked song into a highlight! The guitars and drums sound very edgy, and it suits the song very well.

    Baby Boy: "When I was an older lady's toy"... oops, what is this? Instrumentally, I like it, but the lyrics are really poor and the vocal melody sounds so bored. I think I'm not alone in thinking this would have been an obvious choice for a b-side if the LP really was too long. IMO, this is the main blemish on the album.

    Remix: The new version brings some welcome clarity to the mix and (I think?) is slightly faster, which somewhat works in favour of the song and makes it sound less “worn out”. Again, the guitars have more bite, the acoustic guitar is clearly audible and the instrumental part does sound vaguely Pink-Floyd-ish…

    Demo: The drumming is meatier and more interesting than what John did on the final version. But the problem is – I still don’t like the song, and without the instrumental part to shake things up, it’s just dull…

    You Don't Own Me: One of Al’s most biting songs, but all the bite and aggression is hidden and softened out by the mix. If one only knows the LP version, it’s hard to understand why this was the only new Lancaster tune the band played live on the following tour. Even Alan himself doesn’t seem to get it any more, saying “’You Don’t Own Me’ was the wrong style for Quo. We tried to make it a Quo song but in my opinion it didn't really work.” In fact co-writer Mick Green recorded his own version with The Pirates the same year, but I haven’t heard it.

    Remix: Jesus, what a dirty groove! Coming right out of “Too Far Gone”, one could say John Eden crammed all three of Alan’s songs into the second half, but it sure is effective. And as I’ve already intimated, the remix is a HUGE improvement over the original version. Finally, I think it sounds the way Alan had always envisioned it. Aggressive and (for sake of a better word) ‘bad’.

    Rockers Rollin’: Finally, we have a proper out ’n’ out Quo song by Rick and Jackie Lynton with a great push through the verses, effective dynamic shifts and an overwhelming chorus where Rick really shows his vocal capabilities with these melody jumps. The problem is, once again, the mix muting the aggression somewhat… and a premature fade-out.

    Remix: Coming after “Baby Boy” (which is in the same key) and placed third, “Rockers Rollin’” now gets the listener interested at an early position. The tempo is closer to how they played it live, and I don't miss the piano all that much. The synth is still there but mixed into the background. Add all this to the longer outro (with some of the best jamming since “Forty-Five Hundred Times”), and we have one of the big winners of the remix project. Finally, it’s turned into a real head-banger!

    Rockin’ All Over the World: In some ways, the John Fogerty cover doesn’t fit in all that well with the rest of the album. Most of the LP is typical Quo, but the title track is straight-to-the-beat country rock with a very obvious singalong chorus. On the other hand, Andy played a Jerry-Lee-Lewis-style piano intro and Rick played a Chuck-Berry-influenced solo (Francis does the second half), and it’s hard to really find fault with a song that obviously resonated with so many people and remains a party anthem until today. Yes, the push towards commerciality was obvious now, and it would bring a new group of fans that wasn’t particularly interested in the deeper cuts. But it was a big hit, and who doesn’t want a big hit?

    Remix: Placed after “Who am I” (which is in the same key), the most well-known song on the LP has some intriguing differences in the remix. As expected, it’s shed some layers of production (the tambourine is gone, as are some of the keyboards) but not all – and it would be churlish to try and mix out the piano, since it’s such an important part of the arrangement. John’s snare drum has far more tone here to it. The vocals sound a bit dry. The most obvious difference though is the extra chorus that must have been edited out of the original master! (Incidentally, Quo did play RAOTW with that extra chorus from time to time, e.g. at Knebworth 1990 or on one of the last tours with Rick recently.)

    Who Am I?: I like the song because of its slow but irresistible guitar groove and the unusual harmonies in the chorus. Francis also plays a stadium-compatible guitar solo in the middle, and there is some vocal interaction between Rick and Francis. While it’s a song written by Pip and Peter Hutchins, it was selected because the band loved it.

    Remix: The one song that really lost a lot “thanks” to John Eden’s tinkering. He’s simply taken a great riff out of the intro and replaced with a delay on Francis’ guitar part that never really goes away and makes the song sound empty. I also don't get why the tempo had to be changed here, it’s supposed to be hypnotic – this doesn’t quite achieve that feeling. I do like the longer running time, though. Overall not bad but one of the few tracks I feel has lost more than it’s gained.

    Too Far Gone: 3rd Lancaster song! I’m not sure I like Alan’s vocal style here, it sounds a bit… unserious. (Though I know I complained about Al’s “serious” aggressive singing on “Quo”!) The intro promises more than the song delivers, but I like the guitar duet that plays slightly behind the beat. It’s one of the fastest songs on the record but sounds comparatively tame next to “Blue for You” material.

    Remix: Other than a more transparent sound, I don't hear too many differences to the original version.

    For You: Acoustic guitar, electric piano, interesting bass lines, gentle vocal harmonies… yes, in many ways this is a predecessor to “Living on an Island”. While it’s very unusual for Quo, sort of an earnest, fast country ballad, I quite like it. Pip and Francis spent a lot of time working out the guitar solo, and it shows.

    Remix: The new version sounds more natural and less dated, but I do miss that electric piano. Also, the delay on the lead guitar is unnecessary – again! Was that the fan?

    Dirty Water: Did I just say country? Well, I’ll say it again! Again, some fans dislike it for being too ‘mellow’, but I think it’s just about perfectly written. It being a singalong type song ensured its popularity in the live set, and there’s another fine solo. Plus, I like the organ and the jangle guitars in the background… and that sudden chord variation thrown in for surprise!

    Remix: Coming after the title track (which is in the same key), the track has moved from near the end to being one of the centrepieces. There are acoustic guitars that I don’t even hear on the original mix, including one that plays the solo simultaneously with the electric guitar (I think?). Sonically, it’s another winner, but I find the tempo too fast now. Having said that, they played it even faster when Jeff Rich was in the band! But the vocal just sounds breathless to me. There’s an actual ending here (not a fade-out or a “fall-apart” ending) and it sounds close to how they would end it live.

    Demo: Oh, that sounds like a saloon somewhere in the Wild West! In fact, this demo and the one for “Invitation” are among the most obvious “country” sounding things in the entire Quo catalogue. I like it – the structure is pretty much there, but some things aren’t fully finished yet… in fact, there are two guitar solos at the same time (!), something the band later simplified for the final cut.

    Hold You Back: Asides from the title track, this is probably the most persistent song on the album as it has often appeared in the live set and never fails to whip up the audience. Francis and Bob wrote the main part of the song (supposedly ripped off from “The Wanderer”), which was then combined with Rick’s jiggy open guitar intro. But as I've been beating a dead horse for a while now, the power in the song doesn’t come across properly on the original mix…

    Remix: Interesting that it opens the CD, being a rockier song than “Hard Time”. There’s more punch here thanks to bass and drums being more at the front and the guitars sounding rawer. While it doesn’t quite reach the intensity of the various live versions, I really like the longer coda. Only negative thing: I miss the piano!

    Studio Demo: This version sounds rawer, but apart from the missing intro not very different from the finished product.

    As you can gather from my review, I overall prefer John Eden’s re-imagined version of the album. As an experiment, I once programmed my CD player to play back the original mix with John’s running order and the remix with the original running order, and after that I can clearly say that I think the new running order flows better.
  21. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    I never really thought about Dirty Water as a country song before but it definitely fits the bill. Could imagine that being a huge hit if covered by someone in the US country charts.

    I need to give the album a listen, has been a while. Familiar with the strongest tracks, RAOTW, Can't Give You More, Rockers Rollin', Dirty Water and Hold You Back, all are great although in the UK the title track has been played to death, i could happily never hear it again. I need to remind myself of the other tracks. I have an mp3 of the deluxe edition, i do prefer the Eden mix.
    JulesRules likes this.
  22. Aghast of Ithaca

    Aghast of Ithaca Forum Resident

    What does L mean next to a song?
    JulesRules likes this.
  23. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    It was played live.
    JulesRules likes this.
  24. Aghast of Ithaca

    Aghast of Ithaca Forum Resident

    Ah, mystery solved. Thank you.
    JulesRules likes this.
  25. JulesRules

    JulesRules Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It's a code I use for my own discographies, so I can keep an eye on certain things :)

Share This Page