Before I get on to the Quo album I think a quick bit of my musical history is probably in order.
The very first record I could call my own was either a single from Suzi Qautro doing Devil Gate Drive or The Wombles with A Wombling Xmas. For my street cred, if I ever had any, I’d like to think it was Suzi. Still a great song. As for The Wombles, Remember You’re A Womble was their career highpoint for me. Looking back at the release dates Devil Gate Drive preceded The Wombles so it’s possible I stole that one off my brother. I don’t remember going to buy either of these records but I do remember buying my first ever long playing album from Gloria’s Record bar, known locally simply as Gloria’s, on Battlefield Rd on Glasgow’s South Side. It was a K-Tel compilation album called Music Explosion (click on photo for tracklisiting).
I saw it advertised on TV and think it cost me cost me £1.49. A fair chunk, if not all of, my pocket money back in those days. I’d heard Terry Jack’s Seasons In The Sun and Sparks’ This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us on the radio and my first real interest in music was taking its first baby steps. I was 9 years old and a whole new world of possibilities never before encountered was waiting to open up in front of me. Although it was another few years before I jumped headlong into what some may call an obsession with music.
Fast forward to 1977. Red Rum wins the national for a third time, the Ford Fiesta makes its debut, Kenny Dalglish leaves Celtic for Liverpool, Elvis Presley dies as does Groucho Marx and Marc Bolan but culturally, for me at least, the most important thing to happen in 1977 was the November release of the Rockin All Over The World album by Status Quo.
My dalliance with music was about to become a full blown love affair.
I have my old school friend Ian Ewing to thank for this as it was his house and his, or rather his dad’s, record player that this record made this wonderful noise that had a rather strange effect on me. Been a good few years since I’ve seen Ian but I’d like to ask him how he came to have this record as I can’t remember but I’m so glad he did. Little did I know at that point that this was actually a fairly average Quo album and that they had passed their creative peak but this was the catalyst to me discovering their earlier 70’s riches and the Quo becoming my first music love.
I’ve taken a lot of flak over the years for my love of Quo, the lazy jibes about all the songs sounding the same and being 3 chord wonders etc. In my younger days I used to get all defensive about Quo but I’m rather more good humoured about it now. To be honest if that is what they can do with 3 chords then I can only imagine what they would have done with 4. I also have a somewhat odd relationship with the band because I don’t like anything much they did beyond 1983 which coincided with the break up of the classic Frantic Four line up of Rossi, Parfitt, Coughlin who left in 81 and Lancaster, who never got invited back after playing at Live Aid and subsequent court cases etc. I still go and see them live (over 50 shows and counting) but I only go for the 70s classics and anything else I tolerate until a classic comes along. My air guitar skills were honed at the Quo shows.
When the Frantic Four made up, forgot their differences and got back together to do a couple of short tours in 2103 and 2014 I was in dreamland and was lucky enough to catch 7 shows over the 2 tours. I’m still hopeful that we haven’t seen the last of this line up and they have one more tour in them.
Anyway all that has been a rather long winded introduction to the first album I fell head over heels in love with. Status Quo’s Hello. Released in September 1973 it was the first of four Quo albums to reach the top of the charts. It established the band as a heads down no nonsense hard rock boogie band and over the next 5 or 6 years Quo were one of the biggest UK bands around. The run of releases starting with Piledriver (72), Hello (73), Quo (74), On The Level (75), Blue For You (76) leading up to the Live album in 77 was a fantastic body of work and the reason I love this band so much. I was really born about 6 or 7 years too late.
Hello’s 8 tracks (or 9 if you get the remastered version) clock in at just over 39mins and it really is an album that doesn’t have any filler on it.
Tracklisting – 1. Roll Over Lay Down 2. Claudie 3. A Reason For Living 4. Blue Eyed Lady 5. Caroline 6. Softer Ride 7. And Its Better Now 8. Forty-Five Hundred Times.
I’m not going to go into every track individually but this album shows Quo in all different lights. There’s the no nonsense rockers in Caroline Roll Over Lay Down and Blue Eyed Lady, the epic 45 Hundred Times and the more gentle And It’s Better Now and Softer Ride.
If pushed for a top 3 today it would be:
1. 45 hundred times
3. And It’s Better Now
You can listen to a few tracks from the album below or you can also find it on Spotify on the following link https://open.spotify.com/album/5X2iAS1YMrrPU0mVQZJjCC
I don’t expect all my posts will be this long and I’m playing a bit of catch up as this is a bit late as I tried to figure out the blog software. Feel free to comment good or bad. I’m a big boy I can take it.
See you on week 2.