Status Quo – On The Level / If You Can’t Stand The Heat / Whatever You Want (deluxe 2016 extended remasters)


A fitting tribute to a great rock’n’roll band…

Levelled, Heated and Whatever’d by Brian McGowan

release date : 25 March 2016

To dub Status Quo as rock’n’roll’s perennial survivors would be to damn them with faint praise. When you consider that their music has transcended the Summer Of Love, Glam, New Wave, Disco, Punk, AOR and Grunge, then you realise you’re looking at enduring success. Like getting to the Champions’ League Final every year since 1968. And to think they started life as The Scorpions.

The band’s re-invention in the seventies, when they converted from pop scavengers to boogie based hard rockers is the template to which they still religiously adhere. ‘On The Level’ (1975), ‘If You Can’t Stand The Heat’ (1978) and ‘Whatever You Want’ (1979) have now all been reissued as extended remasters. These were albums that originally slugged it out in the album charts with The Stranglers, Genesis, Abba and Frank Sinatra, securing the band a permanent place in rock’s eclectic firmament.

The latter two climbed to no.3 in the UK, each providing the band with a Top ten single, respectively ‘Again And Again’ and ‘Whatever You Want’. Both remasters now come with a second disc, just bulging with previously unreleased demos, remixes, live tracks and edits. And let’s not forget ‘On The Level’. Apart from reaching no.1 on the UK album charts, its only single release, ‘Down Down’ also reached the chart pinnacle, and is probably one of the band’s most enduring songs.

Listen back to all this stuff and the band’s intuitive mix of discreet blues and barroom boogie seems to land on your plate, fully formed, ready to go. In places it’s gritty and the edges might be occasionally ragged, but it’s precision engineered and tailored to within a millimetre of studio perfection. If something feels loose or raw, it was intended that way.

Apart from their sixties’ singles, Status Quo found the USA an impossible nut to crack. To the extent that remixes of several tracks on these albums were done specifically for the US market in an attempt to break through. The vocals were played down, and the guitars pushed further up in the mix. But this was the land and the time where Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Walsh and Jackson Browne graced the Billboard placings. Apparently there was no place for British rock’n’roll upstarts. The remixes are all here. Judge for yourself.

The remastering has added clarity and separation to almost all the tracks, over both discs in each package. It looks like the engineers entrusted with this job nowadays find it easy to resist the temptation of pumping up compression to gain volume, and, quite rightly settle for accentuated dynamics. Dave (Classic Rock) Ling has done the liner notes. All in all a fitting tribute to a great rock’n’roll band.

statusquolevel350On The Level: Disc One

  1. Little Lady
  2. Most Of The Time
  3. I Saw The Light
  4. Over And Done
  5. Nightride
  6. Down Down
  7. Broken Man
  8. What To Do
  9. Where I Am
  10. Bye Bye Johnny

On The Level: Disc Two

  1. Down Down – single edit
  2. Roll Over Lay Down – Live EP
  3. Gerdundula – Live EP
  4. Junior’s Wailing – Live EP
  5. Roadhouse Blues – Bonus CD song (live 1975)
  6. Backwater – Live in Mainz 22/02/1975
  7. Just Take Me – Live in Mainz 22/02/1975
  8. Claudie – Live in Mainz 22/02/1975
  9. Little Lady – Live in Mainz 22/02/1975
  10. Most Of The Time – Live in Mainz 22/02/1975
  11. Bye Bye Johnny – Live in Mainz 22/02/1975
  12. Down Down – demo

statusquoheat350If You Can’t Stand The Heat: Disc One

  1. Again And Again
  2. I’m Giving Up My Worryin’
  3. Gonna Teach You To Love Me
  4. Someone Show Me Home
  5. Long Legged Linda
  6. Oh! What A Night
  7. Accident Prone
  8. Stones
  9. Let Me Fly
  10. Like A Good Girl

If You Can’t Stand The Heat: Disc Two

  1. Accident Prone – single edit
  2. One By One – early demo
  3. One By One – demo
  4. No Time Left To Cry – early demo
  5. No Time Left To Cry – Writing
  6. Keep Me Guessing – early demo
  7. Keep Me Guessing – demo / Writing
  8. Late Last Night – demo
  9. Late Last Night – early demo
  10. Invitation – demo
  11. Invitation – early demo / Writing
  12. Again And Again – demo

statusquowhatever350Whatever You Want: Disc One

  1. Whatever You Want
  2. Shady Lady
  3. Who Asked You
  4. Your Smiling Face
  5. Living On An Island
  6. Come Rock With Me
  7. Rockin’ On
  8. Runaway
  9. High Flyer
  10. Breaking Away

Whatever You Want: Disc Two

  1. Hard Ride – single b-side
  2. Living On An Island – single (edited version)
  3. Bad Company – demo
  4. Shady Lady – demo
  5. Rearrange – demo
  6. Living On An Island – US remix
  7. Who Asked You – US remix
  8. Whatever You Want – US remix
  9. Come Rock With Me – US remix
  10. Rockin’ On – US remix
  11. Runaway – US remix
  12. High Flyer – US remix
  13. Breaking Away – US remix
  14. Living On An Island – early demo
  15. Living On An Island – demo/Backing Track



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