Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Suzi Quatro - Quatro (1974)
Released October 1974
Recorded in London
By the end of 1974, glam rock was fizzling out, its fun and sparkle now being replaced by a desire to be "adult", toning down the fun and going all polished, reflective and aiming not just as teens (or pre-teens). Suzi Quatro suffered a lot from this change in prevailing mood and nowhere is this better reflected than on this album. All that Chinn-Chapman drum-powered glam majesty was replaced by several standard rock'n'roll covers and only a few Chinn-Chapman songs. It signalled the beginning of the end of Suzi's all-too-brief flirtation with stardom. Her debut album had actually been excellent, but this one didn't hit the same high spots. It just didn't quite have that album's effervescence.
The opener, "The Wild One", while being pretty glammy in its hit single format, it is given a laid-back bluesy, smoky, almost jazzy makeover here, which is ok, but something is lost, to be honest, because the single was great. "Keep A Knockin'" is covered with typical Quatro chutzpah, retaining some of that old glam appeal. It has a "live" ad hoc, improvised feel to it, as Suzi sings to a crowd of "boys" and "girls". "Too Big" was another Chinn-Chapman hit single, but it was grinding and bluesy, especially in comparison to songs like "Can The Can" and "48 Crash". "Klondyke Kate" is a Quatro/Tuckey composition, with a thumping bassy sound and a reasonable dose of the blues.
"Savage Silk" was a Chinn-Chapman non-single that floated around wistfully, before finally breaking out in to their trademark sound. It had echoes of T. Rex's later, failed latter-end glam singles like "Truck On Tyke" or "Light Of Love". Glam in its last throes. Songs like this would have been copper-bottomed hits in 1972 or 1973. In late 1974, no chance. Suzi could handle covers in her sleep, and a rocking "Move It", a funk-rock-ish "Hit The Road Jack" and a muscular, barroom-style "Trouble" are all given the necessary treatment. I enjoy them all, but they hardly display any real progression.
"Cat Size" is a Quatro/Tucker number and is a solid, convincing rock ballad with a great vocal from Suzi. A "Honky Tonk Women" riff introduces a cover of "A Shot Rhythm And Blues". "Friday" is a chunky, solid bluesy rocker to end on, with some infectious bass, barroom piano and impressive riffy guitar. It also has some risqué lyrics about promiscuity, unusual for the time.
The iconic glam single, "Devil Gate Drive", was not on the original album, but is on this re-release. It pre-dated the album by eight months.