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(Universal Music Classics)
Release Date: Friday 4th December

Johnny Main
johnny main

status quo

Status Quo – forever those denim clad no-nonsense boogie rockers, and whether you like them or not, they are one of the UK's most successful acts having had more UK hit singles than any other band and appeared on BBC TV's Top Of The Pops a staggering 106 times (also more than any other band), but no-one divides opinion quite like them – especially if you're a Status Quo fan.

Quo stalwarts Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt are gearing up for the 50th anniversary of the band's first ever hit single, 'Pictures of Matchstick Men', in 2017 while rumours abound about the band finally retiring.

With all this in the future, the emphasis on recent Quo releases has been directed towards the rich history of the band. A compilation CD (and accompanying DVD) was released earlier this month which collated a large number of hit singles along with some more well known album tracks as part of a 'Definitive Hits' package.

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The record company archives look like they are finally being raided for some deluxe double disc editions bringing together rare and in some cases previously unreleased material alongside spruced up original albums.

This most recent releases include the 'Hello', 'Quo' and the 'Rocking All Over The World' studio original albums, all of which have been mastered from the original master tapes by Andy Pearce with the assistance of Quo's unofficial 'fifth band member' Bob Young.

They include updated booklets containing rare photos and memorabilia from the band's personal collections as well as brand new and extensive notes by Dave Ling.

It should be noted there that was a 'Piledriver' deluxe edition which surfaced in March 2014, which was also a double disc affair. Containing a cleaned up version of the original album it also included a handful of tracks recorded for the 'BBC Sounds Of The Seventies' programme, a couple of tracks from a John Peel radio session and tracks recorded at the Paris Theatre in London in 1973.

Disappointingly, most of this material was already available so with the best intentions, this was never going to entice many of the hardcore Quo fans to part with their hard earned cash but did have them in full-on moaning mode!

Like the 'Piledriver' release, these new deluxe editions are very much a mixed bag as far as the Quo fan base is concerned but they still contain some very interesting material for the more casual fan.

Looking at 'Hello' album first, this is a bonafide classic album as far as the band are concerned. Not one track from the original album hasn't been played live at some point in the band's career, and yet the band (or should that be Rossi) still can't be convinced the play the entire album during a gig.

From the crunching riff to 'Roll Over Lay Down' through the almost country feel of 'Claudie', straight past the sprightly 'Blue Eyed Lady' before culminating in the epic 'Forty-Five Hundred Times', this album shows Quo are their early hard rocking best.

As far as the bonus material on the second is concerned, it's all a bit disappointing to be honest. 'Joanne' was included on the 2005 single disc remaster while the 'Caroline' mono version and stereo edit are nice to hear but they don't really add much in the way of value.

The original fast and slow demos of 'Caroline' are interesting listens too, and along with the 'Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home' live cut from the April 1973 gig at the National Stadium in Dublin represent the only unreleased material on the disc.

If I'm being honest, I was hoping for the archives to be trawled through to uncover more previously unreleased live material but then again, maybe this is all that survives in the band's archives from this particular moment in Quo history.

'Hello' Track List:
Disc One:
Roll Over Lay Down
A Reason For Living
Blue Eyed Lady
Softer Ride
And It's Better Now
Forty-Five Hundred Times

Disc Two:
Joanne – B-Side to 'Caroline' single
Caroline - Original Fast Demo (Previously Unreleased)
Caroline - Original Slow Demo (Previously Unreleased)
Don't Waste My Time – Live at 1973 Reading Festival
Caroline - Mono
Caroline - Stereo Edit
Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home - Dublin National Stadium (Previously Unreleased)

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status quo

Originally released in 1974, the 'Quo' album kicks off with a solid pairing of 'Backwater' and 'Just Take Me' before 'Break The Rules' which is something of a rarity as it's credited to all five members of the band.

Included many times in the band's live set, 'Break The Rules' has been given a rest over the last couple of years but still remains a genuine fan favourite. 'Don't Think It Matters' on the other hand is one of the Quo fans most requested songs to be added to the live set list but so far, the band have resisted the temptation of playing it live.

The 'Quo' album originally peaked at number two in the UK charts, and is considered by many Quo fans to be one of their heaviest, with the reason for this firmly placed at the door of then bass player Alan Lancaster, who is credited with co-writing six of the eight tracks.

Alongside the studio album, the deluxe edition adds in the studio track 'Lonely Night' along with a complete set from the band's January 1975 from the L'Olympia in Paris.

This previously unreleased gig kicks off with a heavy version of the Steamhammer song, 'Junior's Wailing' (the band's standard opening number for many years) before taking you on a roller coaster ride through their burgeoning back catalogue.

Quite how this set has remained unreleased for so long is a mystery as it certainly shows how heavy Quo were back in the early Seventies. The previous two years had seen them produce 'Piledriver' and 'Hello' and with 'Quo' following suit, they had a wealth of material to choose from and the performance doesn't contain any tracks that don't truly deserve to be there.

'Quo' Track List:
Disc One:
Just Take Me
Break The Rules
Drifting Away
Don't Think It Matters
Fine Fine Fine
Lonely Man
Slow Train

Disc Two:
Lonely Night – Single
Junior's Wailing – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Backwater – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Just Take Me – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Claudie – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Railroad – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Roll Over Lay Down – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Big Fat Mama – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Don't Waste My Time – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Roadhouse Blues – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Caroline – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)
Bye Bye Johnny – Live at L'Olympia, Paris (Previously Unreleased)

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status quo

When you mention Status Quo, most people would automatically think of the track 'Rocking All Over the World' which was first released back in 1977. Written by John Fogerty in 1975, it's not Quo's biggest hit, of course (it peaked at number 3 in the UK while 1975's 'Down Down' reached the top spot) but is certainly synonymous with the band.

In 1977, Quo brought in producer Pip Williams in for their tenth studio album having produced or co-produced their previous five albums themselves. It was felt, at the time, that Quo needed to try and break into the American market, something that had eluded them thus far, and Williams was judged as the best man for the job.

History will show, of course, that Quo never did break into the US market in the same way that the likes of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple had before them and in the view of many Quo fans the 'Rocking All Over the World' album proved to be a divisive turning point in the band's career.

The introduction of a poppier sound teamed up with more prominent keyboards proved too much for some European hard rock fans who began to desert the band.

The album is presented here as was in 1977 – twelve carefully crafted songs ranging from the hard rock sounds of 'You Don't Own Me' and 'Rockers Rollin'' to long time live favourites like 'Dirty Water' and 'Hold You Back', the catchy chorus led 'Can't Give You More' and the laid back groove of 'Baby Boy'.

Thankfully, the (frankly dire) version of The Beatles' 'Getting Better' previously included on the 2005 remaster, has been excised from this set as it really didn't do the band any favours.

Alongside the original album is a brand new and long awaited re-sequenced and remixed version of the original album by another Quo producer, John Eden.

It was Eden who produced a couple of early eighties Quo albums,'Just Supposin' and its 1981 follow up 'Never Too Late', and he was tasked with overhauling the original mix which was deemed to be too glossy and removed a lot of Quo's trademark hard rock elements.

Overall, the remixed version of the album is very good, but don't expect anything drastically different. For tracks like 'Hold You Back' and 'Rockers Rollin'', the count ins have been retained where before these were edited out, and with the former, instead of the track fading out as it's always done, it comes to an unrehearsed stop before you hear Rossi discussing the take.

Musically the album has a fresher sound with the keyboards toned down especially on 'Rockers Rollin'', giving it a more guitar orientated sound while the familiar intro to the title track is has its familiar sliding bass note at the top of the number reduced in volume slightly. Sure these are all subtle differences but make an altogether better sounding album.

If you take into account the fact that they've also added on four previously unreleased 1976 demo recordings as an extra bonus, then this is one very tidy package indeed.

Could the original mix (which most Quo fans already own) have been substituted with another live disc of unreleased material from around the 1977 tour? Probably, but that's a minor quibble from my point of view.

After a wait of over two years it's nice to finally have the remixed album out there and let's hope some of those who criticised the mix on the original album for all those years ago give this new remixed version a second chance.

'Rocking All Over The World (Remix)' Track List:
Disc One:
Hard Time
Can't Give You More
Let's Ride
Baby Boy
You Don't Own Me
Rockers Rollin'
Rockin' All Over The World
Who Am I?
Too Far Gone
For You
Dirty Water
Hold You Back

Disc Two:
Hold You Back (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Baby Boy (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Rockers Rollin' (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Who Am I? (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Rockin' All Over The World (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Dirty Water (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Can't Give You More (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Let's Ride (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
For You (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Too Far Gone (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
You Don't Own Me (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Hard Time (Previously Unreleased Remixed Version)
Dirty Water (Previously Unreleased 1976 Demo Version)
Baby Boy (Previously Unreleased 1976 Demo Version)
Hard Time (Previously Unreleased 1976 Demo Version)
Hold You Back (Previously Unreleased 1976 Demo Version)

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