torsdag 28 januari 2016

Status Quo - Hello! (UK 1973) (SHM-CD)

260:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition. Innehåller en poster.)

Hello!! is the sixth studio album by the British rock band, Status Quo. Released in September 1973, it was the first of four Quo albums to top the UK Albums Chart, as well as their first album on which all tracks had been written by the group themselves. (Bob Young was not an official member, but the group's roadie and harmonica player, as well as co-writer, primarily with Francis Rossi, of several songs throughout their career). It was also the first Quo album on which drummer John Coghlan was credited with songwriting.

Keyboard player Andy Bown and saxophonist Stewart Blandamer both played on "Forty-Five Hundred Times". This was Bown's first appearance on a Status Quo album, although he would guest on most subsequent releases, and become a permanent member of the line-up a few years later.

1973 began for the band in February when their old record company Pye, following the group's success for their new label in 1972, decided to release a single from their 1971 album Dog of Two Head. The single, Rossi and Young's "Mean Girl" reached #20 upon its release. It was backed by the Rossi/Parfitt composition "Everything", taken from the band's 1970 album Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon.

In August 1973 the only single from the album, Rossi and Young's Caroline was released, reaching #5. This was the group's first single to reach the UK top five. Its B-side was a non-album track called "Joanne", written by Alan Lancaster and Rick Parfitt.

The 8-track album was released in September the same year. It became the most successful album the band had ever released. Initial copies of the record on vinyl came with a large black and white poster of the group. Of the 8 tracks on the album, only 6 of them were new. "Caroline" had already been heard by the public due to its single release, whereas "Softer Ride" had served as the b-side to the band's "Paper Plane" single from their previous album Piledriver.

No other singles were issued from the album, although a live version of Roll Over Lay Down appeared on a three-track EP released in May 1975, which reached No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart.

This was the band's first album to feature the band's name written in the now-familiar font used on most subsequent album covers.

Following the success of Piledriver, Status Quo opted not to change a thing, unfurling the mind-numbing boogie attack of Hello! The strategy worked, resulting in the group's first number one album and in "Caroline," its first top-five single. Mostly, the album succeeds in spite of itself. "Roll Over Lay Down," not immediately impressive, builds into a tizzy over the course of five minutes. It is one-upped by "Caroline," the definitive Status Quo rock song, a not particularly hard or fast four-on-the-floor stomp saved by a massive, deceptively simple guitar hook.

"Forty-Five Hundred Times," less catchy but harder rocking, is brutally long, but is rescued by its placement as the album's closer. In between, the group, writing in some instances with coordinator Robert Young, offer up slight variations of their standard formula. Several of those, like the rickety, Beatlesque "Claudie" and the bluesy "Softer Ride" transcend their three-chords-and-a-riff construction enough to render them decent, memorable pop songs. 

Down to the proto-Spinal Tap black-on-black cover, this was the vanguard of British denim rock in 1975, and given the narrow conceptual and technical limits within which the Status Quo had to work, it has held up well, though it is certainly not for the faint of heart or attention span. Clearly the product of a band at their commercial and creative peak, Hello! wears its strengths and weaknesses well: not particularly flashy or intelligent, but without exception confident, comfortable and fun.

01. "Roll Over Lay Down" (Rossi/Parfitt/Lancaster/Coghlan/Young) - 4:38
02. "Claudie" (Rossi/Young) - 4:06
03. "A Reason for Living" (Rossi/Parfitt) - 3:46
04. "Blue Eyed Lady" (Parfitt/Lancaster) - 3:54
05. "Caroline" (Rossi/Young) - 4:18
06. "Softer Ride" (Parfitt/Lancaster) - 4:02
07. "And It's Better Now" (Rossi/Young) - 3:20
08. "Forty-Five Hundred Times" (Rossi/Parfitt) - 9:53

Bonus Track
"Joanne" (Parfitt/Lancaster) - 4:06 - originally the B-side of Caroline