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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Status Quo

The Frantic Four Reunion 2013

Review by Gary Hill

Status Quo is one of those legendary bands that are more or less a cult group. I mean, they’ve got a rabid following and a pretty good sized one in Europe, but in the states, they aren’t that well known. They are also a band that can take a pretty standard sound (most of their music is bluesy rock without a lot of Earth-shattering innovations) and make it work. There is nothing here that will really challenge a listener with a sound that’s something drastically new. All these performances just plain rock, though. That’s the strength of Status Quo and of this live album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Intro/Junior's Wailing
After the introduction the guys power out into a killer no frills hard rocking, blues based number. It’s got some great riffing and killer charm.
Backwater

The riff at the start of this feels a lot like Cream. From there we get a cool mellow bit before they launch it out into the song proper. It’s another straightforward rocker.

Just Take Me
This essentially comes right out of the previous piece. After a quick burst of more it drops to drums wailing away behind the vocals and no other instrumentation. Then they power it out into another cool jam from there. It really turns into a killer instrumental excursion as it continues. They bring it back to the song proper to end it.
Is There a Better Way
Although overall this is cut from the same cloth as the other music here, this one feels almost like a heavy metal tune. It’s got some great guitar soloing and is just a solid rocker delivered in style.
In My Chair
A straight ahead blues rocker, this isn’t anything particularly revolutionary. It’s quite effective, though.
Blue Eyed Lady
Another classic rock sounding tune, the vocals on this bring a real old time rock n’ roll sound to the proceedings. I like the guitar solo on this one a lot, too.
Little Lady
The main song structure of this really makes me think of something Chuck Berry might do. This is another no frills rocker that has a lot of charm.
Most of the Time
This starts off with an acoustic guitar driven section. That holds it like a rock ballad with a bit of a country flavor for a time. They launch out into a classic blues jam from there as it powers up, though. Then it’s back to the mellower sounds for the next vocals. That segment ends the tune.
(April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays
Somehow this has an almost Southern rock vibe to it. Add in some almost metal bluesy jamming and you will have a great idea of what this is like. This is a pretty dynamic piece with some definite contrast. It’s got several shifts and changes and is one of the most unique and effective pieces here.
Railroad
A pounding bluesy rocker, this works really well. Harmonica adds a lot to the number. We also get some of the most smoking hot guitar soloing of the whole show here.
Oh Baby
Roy Orbison mixes with heavy metal on this classic styled hard rocker. The jams mid-track really have that metal vibe to them, feeling at times like both Judas Priest and Black Sabbath.
Disc 2
Forty - Five Hundred Times
The first verse and chorus on this is more in a melodic classic rock sound. That first chorus is sung by the audience. After that chorus, though, this works out into more of a classic blues rock sound, not far removed from the other music here.
Rain
The main riff driving this really makes me think of vintage ZZ Top. That bluesy hard rock sound is merged with a more metallic element to create the basic premise here.
Big Fat Mama
Here we get another track that’s quite metallic. It’s a real stomper with a classic rock vibe to it.
Down Down
There’s a bit of a crowd singalong on the extended introduction  (and another later) here. From there we get a classic rock sounding tune that works quite well.
Roadhouse Blues
The classic Doors tune gets a killer rendition here. The harmonica brings a lot to the piece and the guitar solo really scorches.
Don't Waste My Time
Here we get another old school bluesy rock and roll tune.
Bye Bye Johnny
This is a play on “Johnny B. Goode” and therefore a full on Chuck Berry styled rocker. There is an extensive section mid track where the band drops back to essentially just rhythm section for a crowd sing along.
 
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