Friday, 7 September 2018

Status Quo - Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon (1970)


  

Released August 1970

After a few years of psychedelic looking for "Pictures Of Matchstick Men", Status Quo literally became a different band overnight with this album. They turned, seemingly overnight, from Paisley print shirt wearing flop-haired fops into no-nonsense, heads down bluesy boogie merchants, and there they would stay, for over forty years...

It began here with the Canned Heat-esque roadhouse blues of the rocking "Spinning Wheel Blues" and continued into the guitar and piano backed boogie of "Daughter". Blues rock was very much "of the age" - Canned Heat, Led Zeppelin, Free and Black Sabbath were all strutting their blues rock stuff, as were The Rolling Stones and The Doors too. Status Quo were doing nothing ground-breaking, but for them, they were. It was a sea change.

For me, Quo's slow numbers were never very convincing. Francis Rossi's voice didn't seem to go with them, and they always seemed a bit wishy-washy. Maybe it was Rick Parfitt singing. If so, the same applies. The dreamy "Everything" would seem to exemplify that. "Shy Fly" is back to rock, though, with a very Black Sabbath-esque, driving riff. "(April) Spring Summer & Wednesdays" is a strangely titled slow burning blues featuring another industrially impressive riff. It has echoes of some of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World" album on it in places, for me, anyway.

"Junior's Wailing" has what is now a totally recognisable Status Quo riff. Hearing it now anyone would say it was them. Not in the summer of 1970 though. Again, it has strong hints of Canned Heat, particularly in Rossi's voice and the slowed-down bit in the middle. "Lakky Lady" had remnants of the late sixties about it - acoustic guitar, T. Rex-style bongos. Just a little bit hippy/trippy., but rescued by a killer guitar solo. Both "Need Your Love" and "Lazy Poker Blues" are excellent rocking blues. "She put some coal on the fire so I can keep my poker hot.....". Hmmm. Great seventies lyrics!

"Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home" is a nine-minute extended steady-pace rocking jam of a track. It is a little indulgent in places but it has an absolute classic bit of guitar riffage. The single "Down The Dustpipe" didn't make the album, and is included on the remastered release of the album. It has the same sound as the later single "Mean Girl". Its 'b' side "In My Chair" is a slow bluesy grinder. Another single "Gerdundula", is strangely Tyrannosuarus Rex-ish, however, with some Irish-sounding fiddle backing. An odd one. Apparently named after two German friends of theirs - Gerd Und Ula - geddit? There are also some good quality BBC sessions live cuts too.

It all began properly here for Status Quo. This is a good album and should be ranked up with the later ones but strangely, isn't. Great cover too.

B-

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