||MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
'Live And Kickin'/'If You Knew Suzi...'/'Suzi... And Other Four Letter Words'
Every man has always had a soft spot for Suzi Quatro, who this year celebrates 50 years in the music business, starting off with her sister in the Pleasure Seekers back in 1964 as a young teenager and eventually becoming a household name in the mid seventies after a plethora of smash hit singles.
Whilst it might have been the guys that loved gazing at pictures of young Suzi in her tight leathers, it's what she did for girl power that has made her such a ground breaking artist.
The term 'girl power' wouldn't even be invented for another two decades but Suzi Q started it all by taking on the men at their own game of rock 'n roll and becoming the first female musician to be taken seriously. And she could rock harder than most, inspiring future talents as Joan Jett, Girlschool, Rock Goddess and countless others that followed, proving that the girls can rock.
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These three re-issues from Cherry Red's 7T's label came from a time when the glam rock era was disappearing into a wave of punk rock and at a time when Quatro was slowly starting to move away from her tight leathers image.
'Live And Kickin' was originally only released for the Japanese and Australian market in gatefold sleeve and this is the first time that it finally sees a UK release. Recorded in both Tokyo and Osaka, it's fair to say that 'Live And Kickin' is not rated up there with Deep Purple's 'Made In Japan' or Cheap Trick's 'One Night At The Budokan', however this is a fascinating document of Suzi Quatro on the road in 1977.
Surprisingly it dosn't feature heavily on the hits with only 'Can The Can', 'Devil Gate Drive' and 'The Wild One' being the only recognizable songs to novices.
What we do get with this live album is Suzi with her constant band that included her then new husband, guitarist Len Tuckey, expressing themselves on some free fall bluesy country rock without a hint of glitter to be seen. There's a few covers on here including a more laid back version of Steve Harley's 'Make Me Smile' but this album is worth the price of admission alone just to hear the rocking 'Glycerine Queen'.
'If You Knew Suzi...' was Quatro's fifth studio album and saw Suzi take a more mature approach away from the stomping sounds of the glam rock era. Although this album relied heavily on outside writers, Suzi Quatro had a knack of making songs her very own.
Once again Chapman and Chinn provided the hits with the country flavour of 'If You Can't Give Me Love' (Suzi's last UK Top Ten Hit) and 'The Race Is On' which proved to be popular in Germany where Suzi Quatro is still a big audience puller to this day.
From the AC/DC family tree, Vanda and Young wrote the snazzy sounding 'Evie', a devilish rocker as is Suzi's cover of Rick Derringer's 'Rock 'N Roll Hoochie Coo' which has a Southern Rock flavour, and her cover of Tom Petty's Breakdown' is sublime.
There's a few tracks on here written both herself and Len Tuckey with 'Non-Citizen' being the pick of the bunch and you can almost feel the outside punk influence of the time sneaking in as Suzi snarls away in this lovely little groover.
'Suzi... And Other Four Letter Words' was released in 1979 and by now Suzi was also a big star back in her native America after appearing as Leather Tuscadero in the hugely popular TV series 'Happy Days' along with Henry Winkler who played the Fonz which by was being shown on both sides of the Atlantic.
Once again it was Chapman and Chinn who provided the biggest hit, this time with the galloping 'She's In Love With You', but Quatro finally got to release her own self penned single in the rock 'n rolling 'Mama's Boy'.
Quatro with Tuckey wrote the majority of the album and I'm sure you can hear our Suzi using the F-word in the fade out of 'Hollywood'.
Two overlooked gems on this album are Quatro's and Tuckey's penned doo wop dream of 'Starlight Lady' and a track written by the little known J Lee with 'You Are My Lover' which is right up there with the finest hits of Blondie. Simplistic but effective where Suzi sings from the heart, this would have been a smash hit but sadly the record execs played safe with the old hit juke box of Chapman and Chinn.
The hits dried up for Suzi Quatro as she entered the 80s but she's still shaking her butt and kicking ass to this day.
For all three releases...
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