Along with cream tea, cricket, and fish and chips Status Quo are a British institution. Like Stonehenge they’re an immovable monolithic who’ve weathered many storms and seen numerous musical fads rise and fall. Originally formed in 1962 (as The Scorpions) things really started moving when they adopted the Quo moniker in ‘69, and over the next three decades they broke all sorts of chart records. While the band never achieved the same level of success in the second half of their career, it was a far more diverse and (dare I say) interesting period, and it’s finally been documented with the new compilation, Quo’ing In – The Best Of The Noughties.
CD1 (Noughties Hits):
When the new millennium rolled round Status Quo were buckling under the weight of their own history, and along with dwindling sales, the band found themselves in a musical quagmire. Rather than facing the future head on, 2000 found the band looking back with the ill-advised Famous In The Last Century record (later described by Francis Rossi in XS All Areas as “…the worst Quo album there had ever been…”) but they got back on track with 2002’s Heavy Traffic. However, this collection explodes into life with a new remixed version with the title track of their latest long player, Backbone. Full of chunky riffs, pounding drums and swirling keys, all wrapped up in a delicious melody, it sets the tone for the rest of the collection. If you ever need proof of Quo’s continuing verve and vigour, then the following ‘Looking Out For Caroline’ will set you straight.
When ‘Two Way Traffic’ came blasting out of my speakers I had to check my calender to make sure it was really 2022 because it could easily be classic Quo circa 1981 (‘Two Way Traffic’ was originally released on 2011’s Quid Pro Quo). But that’s the timeless beauty of Status Quo; they’ve always existed outside of fads and trends, and ‘Two Way Traffic’ is sure to sound just as good in another 50 years. While these hits never reached the giddy heights of pre-millennium singles, they sparkle in their own way and it’s only a cover of ‘Raining in My Heart’ (featuring Brian May) that lets the side down. Aside from that slight misstep, this disc is an air-guitar inducing, dandruff-flying, double-denim celebration of rock n’ roll that could easily hold its own with 12 Gold Bars.
CD2 (Quo’in Rarities):
What makes this collection different from the other Quo compilations that clutter up record store racks is the addition of rare and unreleased tracks, and it’s three of those that open this second disc. ‘Caroline’, ‘Paper Plane’ and ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’ have been re-recorded especially for this release, and they have a fire burning beneath their bums which gives them a ‘live-in-the-studio’ feel. Status Quo were (and still are) a phenomenal live beast and these three cuts succinctly capture some of that magic. “Aquostic” studio versions of ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ and ‘Down Down’ put a new spin on old favourites, and they both work rather well parred back. Perhaps it’s testament to the quality of Quo’s original material, but a cover of ‘Fun Fun Fun’ (featuring The Beach Boys) sounds limp in comparison to the other cuts.
Such is the depth and breadth of Status Quo’s discography (over 100 singles and 33 studio albums) that it is easy to overlook certain gems that are buried deep in their back catalogue. B-sides and album tracks have always held a certain fascination for me, without the pressure of having to write a ‘hit’ they often reveal another facet of a familiar band, and this second disc unearths a few nuggets of buried treasure, and one such prize is ‘Tilting At The Mill’ (a bonus cut from the 2006 reissue of Don’t Stop) and you are left wondering why a song of such quality was tucked away, and this disc will constantly throw up similar surprises.
Quo’ing In – The Best Of The Noughties has enough new material to tempt the hardcore fan who’ll already own most of these tracks, but for those who are unfamiliar with the band’s work post-2000, it’ll be a revelation, and is an essential purchase for both camps.
- Reviewed by Peter Dennis.
- Quo’ing In – The Best Of The Noughties is released via earMUSIC on 16th September 2022.
- Official Website
CD1: Noughties Hits
- Backbone (Out Out Quo’in Mix 2022)
- Looking Out For Caroline
- Two Way Traffic
- In The Army Now
- Beginning Of The End
- Round And Round
- Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ You
- Raining In My Heart (Featuring Brian May)
- Liberty Lane
- Jam Side Down
- Running Inside My Head
- Electric Arena
- Twenty Wild Horses
- Blues And Rhythm
- Gotta Get Up And Go
- The Way It Goes
- Bula Bula Quo (Kua Ni Lega)
CD2: Quo’in Rarities
- Caroline (Studio Version 2022)
- Paper Plane (Studio Version 2022)
- Rockin’ All Over The World (Studio Version 2022)
- Face The Music
- Cut Me Some Slack (Out Out Quo’in Mix)
- The Party Ain’t Over Yet
- Fun Fun Fun (Featuring The Beach Boys)
- Pictures Of Matchstick Men (Aquostic Studio Version)
- That’s A Fact
- I’m Not Ready
- Tilting At The Mill
- I’m Watching Over You
- Temporary Friend
- I’ll Never Get Over You
- Down Down (Aquostic Studio Version)
- Live Melody
- It’s Christmas Time