In this latest instalment of an extensive Quo reissue campaign are three albums from the late 70s. One a stone cold classic, one great, one very hit-and-miss.
Across them are some of the best songs ever recorded by the ‘Frantic Four’, from the thundering Down Down to the beautiful, world-weary Living On An Island. But the material that fills out these Deluxe Editions is patchy. Live tracks and B-sides are good, not so a bunch of wobbly-sounding demos.
The classic, from 1975, is On The Level (8⁄10). Both the album and the single Down Down hit No.1 in the UK, and the quality runs deep. Little Lady has the four at their most frantic. A cover of Chuck Berry’s Bye Bye Johnny is blistering. But there’s subtlety, too, in Rick Parfitt’s trippy, melancholic Where I Am.
In 1978, Quo moved with the times. If You Can’t Stand The Heat (5⁄10) kicked off with Again And Again, a flat-out hard rock blaster, but disco-style synths on Accident Prone were typical of an album that was a little too slick and lightweight.
What followed, in 1979, was a return to core values on Whatever You Want (7⁄10). The title track and Living On An Island were the hits; Rockin’ On and Breaking Away the brilliant deep cuts. It was Quo’s last great album.