Saturday, May 8, 2021

Status Quo - 'Golden Hour Presents Status Quo' Down The Dustpipe (1975)

 (U.K 1962 - Present)

Status Quo
are an English rock band that formed in 1962. The group originated as The Spectres and was founded by Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster while they were still schoolboys. After a number of lineup changes, which included the introduction of Rick Parfitt in 1967, the band became The Status Quo in 1967 and Status Quo in 1969.

In January 1968, the group released the psychedelic-flavoured "Pictures of Matchstick Men". Rick Parfitt was invited to join the band just as the song hit the UK Singles Chart, reaching number seven; "Matchstick Men" became the group's only Top 40 hit in the United States, peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. Although Status Quo's albums have been released in the United States throughout their career, they never achieved the same level of success there as they have in Britain. Though the follow-up was the unsuccessful single "Black Veils of Melancholy", they had a hit again the same year with a pop song penned by Marty Wilde and Ronnie Scott, "Ice in the Sun", which climbed to number eight. After the breakthrough, the band management hired Bob Young as a roadie and tour manager. Over the years Young became one of the most important songwriting partners for Status Quo, in addition to playing harmonica with them on stage and on record. [extract from Wikipedia]

Status Quo 1970

The Status Quo Sound and Image
In 1970, we realised that we were a rock'n'roll band, not a psychedelic one, and we'd have to do something consciously about the way we looked if we wanted to get the message across."
"We had a lot of faith in ourselves, but we had to turn our back on this pop thing," says Parfitt. "Fifty to sixty girls down the front screaming: fantastic, but we knew it weren't gonna last. But we knew we were good, we knew we had something, so we decided to literally heavy things up.
We came off the road in 1969 and we went back to just wearing jeans, T-shirts and pumps." "We rebelled against the system," he goes on. "Being told to wear frilly shirts, 'get your hair cut right, put that right, boys'. We hated it. I remember putting my head round the curtain once, and the tour manager said if I did that again l'd never work in show business again and I thought, 'Fuck that'. "The jeans had to be ripped, the pumps dirty, the hair long and unwashed - we were real scruffy bastards - and we decided to take on this heavier music: "Junior's Wailing", "Roadhouse Blues" and Them's "Gloria". We just wanted to be a lot heavier - and scruffier."

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt 1970

In tandem with the rougher look came the tougher sound, inspired by The Doors' track.
"Me and Francis were out at this club in Germany, we were sort of just sitting there drunk and we saw this couple dancing to The Doors' 'Roadhouse Blues'," says Parfitt. "It had this infectious shuffle beat and the way they were moving their bodies - they were really silky and really smooth - it kind of turned us on. And that's largely responsible for why we do so many of these shuffle rhythms, because it turns us on. We like it and it's become our trademark, and all because we were getting drunk and watching this couple dance in that soppy little club."

"We were slowly hardening the sound," says Rossi. "We were now doing gigs in pubs and nobody wanted to know, but that was sort of good, and it almost continues to this day. The more they put a brick wall in front of us, the harder we tried, the more we dug our heels in. You go on and you think, 'We're going to show these fuckers, we're going to get them somehow'. That was the challenge every night."

In typically confident manner, Rossi was often heard to introduce the band thus: "You haven't heard of us, we're Status Quo, we're loud and you'll hate us." "l knew the band were good before I'd joined, and then when I joined it got that little bit worse, of course," laughs Parfitt. "But we eventually became a very, very good band. We believed in what we did, we've never not believed in what we do, right from the start. And we just worked and worked and worked." "We thought, 'Somebody's going to tell us off for this', but they didn't," adds Rossi. "We were really going places now - we were playing what we wanted to play, we were wearing what we wanted to wear and we were getting genuine reaction from the people.

"It was thirty or forty one night, then fifty or sixty the next time. We felt we had a purpose and it was going somewhere. That was one of the joys of those days. When you're struggling, it's definitely you against the world and it galvanised you and you could feel it was growing and growing."

"The change was pretty black and white. You could see it in people's faces when we took to the stage. They looked at each other as if to say: 'ls this the same "Matchstick Men" band?' But at that point we didn't care; we were like, either fucking like it, or piss off," says Parfitt. "We went the complete opposite, with the long hair, ripped jeans and pumps. It got to the point where we used to buy the filthiest, most disgusting jeans from people in the street. If we spotted someone with a really beaten-up, nasty-looking pair of jeans at a show, we used to try to buy them from them. Some of the pairs we had were hideous - smelly and dirty and everything." "I mean, you can call it a classic look now, but back then what we were aiming for, I suppose, was something that was the complete opposite of having an image," adds Rossi. By the turn of the decade, Quo were slowly becoming visually and musically more recognisable, but there was still a spot of stagecraft to be learnt.

"The Castle in Tooting was a real heads' gig. Greatcoat, pint, album under your arm, sitting on the floor. It was the first time we'd played to an audience that was sitting down on the floor. We were thinking, Blimey, this is weird. The stage was only three inches high, but I remember the audience being down there. You had to get down to the audience - and that's how the legs apart, head down thing happened," recalls Parfitt. 'And they were all nodding their heads, so we thought,
Do the same, copy the audience - you can't go wrong. We only looked up between numbers."
"We call it the attack stance. In the early days we used to play these halls that had stages at the end of them and the crowd used to sit down cross-legged on the floor while we were playing our set," Parfitt adds.

"The thing was, because they were sitting down and we were up high on the stage, we felt so far away from our audience. We started to lean forward and move our legs apart in a simple effort to get closer to our fans. We didn't want to be so far away, so the stance was born."

The Quo Stance

"It's just a great thing to nod your head on stage," says Rossi. "We just put our heads together. Funny, 'cos someone said to me, 'That's a good gimmick', but it's nothing like that at all. When we first did it, completely by accident, we got such a buzz off it, it had to be done again. We didn't suddenly say, 'Oh well, we'd better start standing in line shaking our hair'. It's gradually grown from the days when we just stood there nodding our heads and tapping our feet.... Once our heads start nodding, you know we're away." "We've often whacked one another," says Parfitt. "Once I had to follow France around the stage for five minutes because me [guitar] pegs were knotted up in his hair. The roadies had to untangle us halfway through a number. I pulled half his hair out! We've fallen over a lot too. We call that 'getting our wings'. I remember years ago doing a small youth club. We'd just gone on and the kids were going mad. Francis went dashing across the stage, turned round, fell off the stage and knocked himself out. Quite funny as it happens."

By early 1970, Quo had to capture this new sound and image for vinyl. The look was easy - don't shave. "When it came to doing the photo for Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon [LP], we knew about it in advance," says Rossi.
"We drove, did a gig, didn't wash. Did the next night's gig, didn't wash or shave, drove to London overnight, it had to look like that. It was a total rejection of all that 'press your trousers, make sure your make- up's right'. From then on, l'd always shave at night, so there'd be a bit of stubble the next morning."

The sound was best nailed on "Down the Dustpipe", written by Valley Music's Carl Grossman. lt also represented a welcome return to the charts, spending 17 weeks there and peaking at No. 12.

"It was a word-of-mouth hit," says Bob Young, who provided the track's lusty harmonica. "It only got anywhere by people coming to gigs and telling their friends, and them asking for it. It proved to us that some people were enjoying the band, no matter how unfashionable we were supposed to be."

So prevalent was Young that Rossi later quipped: "He's made four TV appearances in one week. It's all very flash. l think we're gonna pack in playing and send Bob out on his own to do the gigs." "There's nothing terribly involved," adds Rossi. "The lead guitar does things and then there's this riff. We did it in fifteen minutes in two takes. The first take was really miserable - really good - and it would have been fantastic except that something went wrong and there were a few giggles. It was a choker really. lt spoiled the misery." Although the track was not selected tor Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon it was very much in the style of the album, which also featured numerous live favourites and "Junior's Wailing", a track that became synonymous with the Quo sound throughout the Seventies as the opening anthem at their concerts.

And so, the Status Quo sound and image was born. The rest is history. [extract from Just Doin' It by Bob Young, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. Cassell Illustrated, 2006. p31-32]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Golden Hour vinyl, and as usual includes full album artwork and label scans. I remember buying this LP from K-Mart in Belmont (Geelong) back in the 70's for the pricely sum of $4.99 and was drawn to it by the cover. I already had their 'Hello' and 'Quo' LP's, and was looking for more of their material. Although not as heavy in sound, I was still happy with my purchase and of course now appreciate it more.  In absolute mint condition, you won't hear a pop or crackle in this rip. I have however added some bass enhancement to the tracks to improve this 'budget release' sound.
All tracks from the LP's 'Spare Parts (1969)', 'Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon (1970)', 'Dog Of Two Head (1971)' and various singles.

01 Down The Dustpipe   2:00
02 Technicolour Dream   2:09
03 Lakky Lady   3:09
04 Spinning Wheel Blues   3:10
05 Shy Fly   3:40
06 Antique Angelica   3:15
07 Gerdundula   3:37
08 Daughter    2:52
09 Railroad    5:18
10 Umleitung   7:00
11 Mean Girl   3:45
12 Everything   2:30
13 Little Miss Nothing   2:53
14 Junior's Wailing   3:25
15 Make Me Stay A Bit Longer   2:47
16 Tune To The Music    3:00
17 To Be Free    2:28
18 In My Chair    2:35

Status Quo were:
Francis Rossi - Guitar, Vocals
Rick Parfitt - Guitar, Vocals
Alan Lancaster - Bass, Vocals
John Coghlan - Drums
Roy Lynes - Keyboards
Bob Young - Harmonica

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