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johnny main
Words: Johnny Main
11th June 2017

status quo

Here's another batch of deluxe 2 CD Status Quo releases via Universal Music, and under the spotlight this time are 'Blue For You' from 1976, 'Just Supposin' (originally released in 1980) and its 1981 follow up, 'Never Too Late', which features the last studio performances of original drummer John Coghlan before he quit the band in early 1982.

These special editions are once again carefully curated releases that have been re-mastered by Andy Pearce with the assistance of 'fifth band member' Bob Young from the original tapes and there's an enhanced booklet containing new notes by Classic Rock's Dave Ling as well as rare photos and memorabilia from the band's personal collections.

Status Quo have previously released deluxe editions of 'Hello', 'Quo', 'Rocking All Over The World (which included a remix of the original album), 'On The Level', 'If You Can't Stand The Heat' and 'Whatever You Want', which were something of a mixed bag so I settled in (with a bottle or six of Quo branded Piledriver Beer) for an afternoon of old-school Quo, interested to see how this new trio of releases compared.

status quo

First up is 'Blue For You' which was Quo's ninth full length album and was originally released in March 1976. Another release, like the previous three efforts, produced by the band themselves, it entered the British album charts straight in at number one and remained there for three weeks. One of the true highlights of the album is the Rick Parfitt penned 'Rain', which was such a strong number that it wasn't only released as a single (reaching number seven in the UK single chart) but it remains in the band's live repertoire to this day.

Apart from that you have original band members Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster sharing a writing credit on 'Is There A Better Way', another track that loomed large during their live shows, especially in the seventies. It was dropped for a number of years, before returning in 2008/2009 and subsequently became one of the highlights of the 2013/2014 Quo Reunion Tours with Parfitt really letting loose on that guitar riff.

'That's A Fact' was recently given the acoustic treatment and lent its name to Quo second acoustic album, 'Aquostic II - That's A Fact', but the electric version here is far superior to the rather lacklustre acoustic version, whilst old favourite 'Mystery Song', another Parfitt penned classic that's stood the test of time, closes things off. 'Blue For You' continued where 'On The Level, 'Quo' and 'Hello' left off being, as it is, the last true Frantic Four' album and for some it would mark the beginning of a slow decline for the band as keyboards became more and more prevalant in their sound.

status quo

The extras on the second disc are a hotch-potch of previously released material. 'You Lost The Love' (the b-side of the 'Rain' single), a single version of 'Mystery Song' along with another single not even featured on the album, 'Wild Side Of Life', and it's b-side, 'All Through The Night' along with a demo version of 'Wild Side Of Life' and some previously unreleased material.

The unreleased material consists of a rehearsal version of 'Wild Side Of Life' and, under it's original title of 'Honkey Tonk Angel', yet another demo version of the song and a selection of live tracks recorded in Osaka 1976 that aren't the best quality. For this release, it seems to be a case of get it if you don't have the previous 2005 remaster. If you are a Quo completist then this should be in your collection, otherwise avoid it until the price comes down substantially.

From 1976, the next album races all the way forward to 1980 and Quo album number thirteen, 'Just Supposin'. Recorded at Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin, this album was a co-production between the band and John Eden, entering the UK album charts at number four and spawning three hit singles. The first of these was the classic 'What You're Proposing' which peaked at number two in October 1980 and was followed up barely a month later with a double-A side single, 'Lies'/'Don't Drive My Car', which just missed out on a Top ten spot. A third single, the ballady 'Rock N' Roll' was released some twelve months later in November 1981 and turned out to be the last single released with drummer John Coghlan.

Apart from the single releases, 'Just Supposin' saw Lancaster jump to the fore with the writing credits on the hard rocking 'The Wild Ones' and the bonafide late Quo claassic 'Over The Edge' which made it into the band's setlist until they stopped touring (for the first time) in 1984. Unfortunetly it hasn't been performed again live since Lancaster left the band in 1985 which is a shame because this is a real shining star on an otherwise fairly bland release. The keyboards give a more polished sound and the raw energy of the band seems to be tempered slightly - was this because of too much Guinness consumed whilst recording or were the cracks really beginning to show by this time?

Quo, for the first time in their career, didn't tour in 1980. A German and French tour were scheduled for February/March respectively, but these shows were cancelled after Parfitt, who was suffering from a spinal complaint, was ordered by Doctors to have a rest for three months. Heartbreak for Parfitt followed when his two-year old daughter, Heidi, drowned after falling into the swimming pool at the Parfitt family home in Surrey which meant future tour dates weren't booked.

To make up the second disc, there are scant extras including 'AB Blues' (the b-side of the 'What You're Proposing' single) and a "writing version" of album track 'Coming And Going', with the rest of the disc made up of a handful of live performances culled from the 1981 show at Salle de la Rotonde, Le Mans on 25th March. As before it's a case of get it if you collect everything with the Quo name on it, otherwise this isn't going to offer you a lot for your money if you already own a copy of the album.

status quo

The final album released is the follow up to 'Just Supposin'', 1981s 'Never Too Late'. During the recording sessions for the 'Just Supposin' album it became clear that the band had been so prolific that they'd managed to record a second full albums worth of material at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, so rather than release a double album, they kept back ten tracks, which became their 'Never Too Late' record.

Released in March 1981 and peaking at number two in the UK album charts, there was a sole single released from the album – a cover of the Richie Supa number 'Something 'Bout You Baby I Like', which still regularly appears in the Status Quo live shows to this day. There's also the fast paced rocker 'Mountain Lady', the straight-ahead Quo by numbers 'Falling In Falling Out', as well as a rocking version of the Chuck Berry number 'Carol', making it a good solid album but not a patch of some of their earlier efforts.

The bonus material here promises the most but spectacularly fails to deliver all that's promised. Alongside the single version of 'Rock N' Roll' are obscure Australian flexi-disc versions of 'Don't Stop Me Now', 'Something 'Bout You Baby I Like' and 'What You're Proposing' along with an album overview all interesting curios, but what I was really looking forward to most of all was (almost) a full live show spread over two discs, making this the first Quo Deluxe Edition to breach three discs. It was recorded live at the Cornwall Coliseum in St Austell.

I say almost because the running order omits 'What You're Proposing' and 'In My Chair' from midway but apart from that, the show is all here but unfortunately, once again, the sound is the real bug bear here. This could be immense but ultimately you're left unsatisfied with the lacklustre sound quality. The setlist is really top notch and it's only unfortunate that, as its Coghlan's last full tour with the band, that it's below par, so again I'd certainly be cautious of this release unless you're an avid Quo collector.

With Parfitt's death last December, Quo fans are calling out more than ever for old unreleased material inferior, almost bootleg quality, live tracks don't satisfy that demand.

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'Blue For You' Disc One:
Is There A Better Way
Mad About The Boy
Ring Of A Change
Blue For You
Rolling Home
That's A Fact
Ease Your Mind
Mystery Song

'Blue For You' Disc Two:
You Lost The Love (B-Side Of 'Rain' Single)
Mystery Song (Single Version)
Wild Side Of Life
All Through The Night (B-Side Of 'Wild Side Of Life' Single)
Wild Side Of Life (Demo Version)
Wild Side Of Life (Rehearsal Version)
You Lost The Love (B-Side Of 'Rain' Single)
Mystery Song (Single Version)
Wild Side Of Life
All Through The Night (B-Side Of 'Wild Side Of Life' Single)
Wild Side Of Life (Demo Version)
Bye Bye Johnny (Live at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Japan – 19/11/1976)*
Caroline (Live at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Japan – 19/11/1976)*
Don't Waste My Time (Live at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Japan – 19/11/1976)*
In My Chair (Live at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Japan – 19/11/1976)*
Roll Over Lay Down (Live at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Japan – 19/11/1976)*
Is There A Better Way (Live at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Japan – 19/11/1976)*
Rain (Live at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall, Japan – 19/11/1976)*
Honkey Tonk Angel (Demo Version)

'Just Supposin'' Disc One: What You're Proposing
Run To Mummy
Don't Drive My Car
Over The Edge
The Wild Ones
Name Of The Game
Coming And Going
Rock 'N' Roll

'Just Supposin'' Disc Two:
AB Blues (B-Side Of 'What You're Proposing' Single)
Coming And Going (Writing Version - 1980)
Don't Drive My Car (Live at Le Mans 1981)*
Over The Edge (Live at Le Mans 1981)*
Rock N Roll (Live at Le Mans 1981)*
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like (Live at Le Mans 1981)*
What Your Proposing (Live at Le Mans 1981)*

'Never Too Late' Disc One:
Never Too Late
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like
Take Me Away
Falling In Falling Out
Long Ago
Mountain Lady
Don't Stop Me Now
Enough Is Enough

'Never Too Late' Disc One:
Never Too Late
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like
Take Me Away
Falling In Falling Out
Long Ago
Mountain Lady
Don't Stop Me Now
Enough Is Enough

'Never Too Late' Disc Two:
Rock 'N' Roll - Single Version
Don't Stop Me Now - Austrian Flexi Disc*
What You're Proposing - Austrian Flexi Disc*
LP Overview - Austrian Flexi Disc*
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like (Austrian Flexi Disc)*
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like (Demo Acoustic Instrumental)
Caroline (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Roll Over Lay Down (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Backwater (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Little Lady (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Don't Drive My Car (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Whatever You Want (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Hold You Back (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Rockin All Over the World (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Over The Edge (Live at St Austell 1981)*

'Never Too Late' Disc Three:
Rock N Roll (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Dirty Water (Live at St Austell 1981)*
4500 Times (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Big Fat Mama (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Don't Waste My Time (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Roadhouse Blues (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Rain (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Down Down (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Drum Solo (Live at St Austell 1981)*
Bye Bye Johnny (Live at St Austell 1981)*

* Previously Unreleased


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