Monday, 24 October 2016

"Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" by STATUS QUO (2003 Sanctuary/Castle Music 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Junior's Wailing..."

Across many decades of record collecting and buying/selling rarities for Reckless Records in London - I can count on one-hand the number of times I've seen a British original of Quo's "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" August 1970 LP with it's 'S/Quo' black and white poster inside. I suspect like the poster in The Who's "A Quick One" - the number is under 1000 - possibly even only 500. But it's a measure of how comprehensive and well thought out this superb 2003 CD reissue from England's Sanctuary Records is - that said rarity is pictured in all its hairy-rocker glory on Side 2 of the foldout inlay - along with a huge array of other relevant memorabilia much of which is seriously hard to find.

As all Quo fans know - "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" was the band's 'real' beginning. Gone were the garish coats and frilly shirts and the 60ts Psychedelic warbling about Matchstick men and what not - and in came the start of their head's down no-nonsense Rock Boogie that Status Quo became so famous for (and have been continuing into 2016). Along with England's Slade and The Rolling Stones - they can claim to be a band for over 50 years. In fact I'd argue that the "Ma Kelly's..." album is actually more diverse and shows a group maturing rapidly and not just finding their twelve-bar feet - a flowering that would explode on "Dog Of Two Head" in 1971 (their final LP for Pye) and enter British hearts on "Piledriver" in late 1972 (their first LP for Vertigo). Here are the egg and chips...

UK released February 2003 - "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" by STATUS QUO on Sanctuary/Castle Music CMQCD 754 (Barcode 5050159175420) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with ten Bonus Tracks that plays out as follows (71:58 minutes):

1. Spinning Wheel Blues
2. Daughter
3. Everything
4. Shy Fly
5. (April) Spring, Summer And Wednesdays
6. Junior's Wailing [Side 2]
7. Lakky Lady
8. Need Your Love
9. Lazy Poker Blues
10. Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 3rd studio album "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" - released August 1970 in the UK on Pye Records NSPL 18344. The American copy on Janus Records JLS-3018 wasn't released until March 1971 so dropped the last track on Side 2 "Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home" and replaced it with the single "In My Chair" as Track 1 on Side 2 (followed by 6, 7, 8 and 9 above). The front sleeve was the same but the 'table/menu' photo on the back of the British LP was replaced with a black and white photo of the band as a four-piece (minus Roy Lynes who is shown on the 'S/Quo' poster in UK copies - he officially resigned the band).

11. Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home (Early Rough Mix)
12. Daughter (Early Working Mix)
13. Down The Dustpipe - 6 March 1970 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17987 (B-side was "Face Without A Soul" from the 1969 "Spare Parts" LP)
14. In My Chair - 23 October 1970 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17998 - A-side
15. Gerdundula - 23 October 1970 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17998 - B-side to "in My Chair" - features the 'Original Version' which is different to the cut on the 1971 "Dog Of Two Head" LP
16. Down The Dustpipe (BBC Session)
17. Junior's Wailing (BBC Session)
18. Spinning Wheel Blues (BBC Session)
19. Need Your Love (BBC Session)
20. In My Chair (1979 Pye Promo Flexidisc)

FRANCIS ROSSI - Guitar and Lead Vocals
ALAN LANCASTER - Guitar and Lead Vocals
RICK PARFITT - Bass and Lead Vocals

The outer card-wrap/slipcase gives this reissue a classy feel and the 8-squares-per-side foldout inlay is a feast of fan memorabilia that is in itself bolstered up by superlative and seriously detailed liner notes from DAVE OXLEY. Chief moved on the reissue was JOHN REED who has been behind so many great reissues and is a compiler fans trust and admire. SEAN MAGEE at Masterpiece did the Remasters and there's a special thanks to LIAM MOORE at the BBC for the Sessions.

There's a repro of the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' advert for the UK single of "In My Chair" with the brill "Gerdundula" on the B-side (Pye 7N 17998) - it depicts the ludicrously hard-to-find British picture sleeve for "In My Chair" which they wittily refer to as 'a pretty bag' (I've never seen one in 45 years and sure its £45 price tag in the RC 2018 Price Guide is a tad low).

Even though the bopping "Shy Fly" was considered as a 45 - the album actually produced no singles. But the then non-album 45's for "Down The Dustpipe" and "In My Chair" in March and October of 1970 changed everything for the band - getting them radio play and crucial sales. Written by Australian songsmith Carl Groszmann - apparently the initial demo Quo heard for "Down The Dustpipe" was none other than an uncredited MAN - the Welsh Rock Band. Initially ignored by Radio - Quo toured and pushed the catchy "Dustpipe". Two months later it debuted in May 1970 and eventually crept up to a healthy No. 12 on the British charts. And although the non-album follow-up "In My Chair" only made it to No. 21 (hit the charts in November of 1970) - it signalled 'their sound' - a fabulous slow Boogie Rocker with the boppy and unpronounceable "Gerdundula" on the B-side. Their inclusion as 'Bonus Tracks' on this CD ups the listening ante in a big way (Tracks 11 and 12 are Previously Unreleased).

Album tracks like "Spinning Wheel Blues", "Lakky Lady" and "(April) Spring, Summer And Wednesdays" would be used by Pye to sell a "Best Of" in May 1973 after the band had broken huge with their debut Vertigo album "Piledriver" in December 1972 (afforded the luxury of an eye-catching gatefold sleeve) and the single "Paper Plane" which busted the UK Top Ten in January 1973 by landing at No. 8.

British proto-metal band Steamhammer provided the cover version of "Junior's Wailing" and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac the slow burner cover of "Lazy Poker Blues" - but the rest are band originals. The other great unsung hero of the band in the early years was songwriter and occasional Harmonica player BOB YOUNG who co-wrote "Spinning Wheel Blues",  "Shy Fly", "(April) Spring, Summer And Wednesdays" and "Need Your Love" with Rossi while Lancaster trumped up two in the shape of "Daughter" and "Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home". Parfitt co-wrote "Everything" and "Lakky Lady" with Rossi.

An often overlooked part of the mighty Quo's career and yet an album held in real affection by true fans. A wolf in sheep's clothing indeed and the beginning of a classic LP run with those 'From The Makers Of' logos on the back on each album sleeve. Ah them was the days...

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