Saturday, 2 March 2019

Status Quo - Hello! (1973)


  

Released September 1973

Recorded in London

Status Quo produced perfect heads down, British blues rock, nothing more, nothing less. They should never be derided for it. This is probably their most obviously “Quo” album, packed full of riffs, pounding drums, Francis Rossi’s slightly nasal vocals and some searing guitar parts as well as the chunky riffs too. It continued the tradition of driving guitar boogie that had populated most of its predecessor "Piledriver"'s tracks. It was even more pronounced on here though - this was a full-on attack. "No nonsense" would describe it perfectly.

TRACK LISTING

1. Roll Over Lay Down
2. Claudie
3. Reason For Living
4. Blue Eyed Lady
5. Caroline
6. Softer Ride
7. And It's Better Now
8. Forty-Five Hundred Times
9. Joanne (Bonus Track)                                        

“Roll Over Lay Down”, often only played in its live incarnation, is great in is studio version too. A proper copper-bottomed Quo rocker, with a “false ending” quiet bit too. “Claudie” continues the riffage, with some Byrds/country rock-style jangly guitar in places. “Reason For Living” utilises the trademark Quo riff once more, to great effect. Sure, it has the same sound to it, but is a great sound, more power to it. It’s classic Status Quo, so just get your head swinging and enjoy it. There is a simple, beautiful perfection to it.


“Blue Eyed Lady” betrayed a few prog rock leanings in its initial intro, before kicking in to a full-on Quo riff and trademark Francis Rossi vocal. Just when you think the obligatory slow ballad is coming, up next is the barnstorming, archetypal Quo of “Caroline”. Maybe it is their signature song. You can’t go far wrong with it. From the very first notes it is Quo heaven. It has that wonderful extended intro and the rock doesn’t let up from beginning to end. It is based, as music snobs never tire of telling us, on very few chords. So what? They are great chords, and boy does it work. It is commonly thought that punk was the antidote to mid-seventies prog-rock's endless noodlings, doodlings and pretensions. Maybe this did it first. Not many ELP, Mike Oldfield, Yes or Greenslade fans had any time for Status Quo, did they? This was as "in your face" as glam rock as well, despite Quo's long hair and denim appearance. As a glam-rock loving proto-punk in 1973, I despised prog-rock (I have since re-assessed), but I loved this.

"Softer Ride" has a bluesy feel, particularly at the beginning, but that is soon blasted away by some sledgehammer riffery. It is seriously thumping and shakes your speakers. "And It's Better Now" has brief echoes of Quo's dreamy, hippy days in its cuter melody, but it also has its muscular moments. Something about the guitar has hints of Thin Lizzy about it too. "Forty-Five Hundred Times" sort of goes against the "antidote to prog" thing, however, by being nearly ten minutes long. It also has a wistful, acoustic beginning. It doesn't take long to get rocking, though. It also features keyboards and saxophone in its wall of sound too, an unusual thing for Quo. The saxophone, in particular, is pretty inaudible, though. The track has airs of The Rolling Stones' "Midnight Rambler" to it. It probably does go on a bit too long, and, in comparison to the others, does't seem to get anywhere, lacking in structure somewhat.

The bonus track, "Joanne", was the 'b' side to "Caroline" and has a definite sixties feel to it. Overall, half an hour or so of this album with aurally blow your cobwebs away.

B

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