Pictures: Live At Montreux
Quid Pro Quo

Status Quo

Taking its Pictures Live tour to the shores of Lake Geneva (the same place immortalized in “Smoke On The Water”), veteran British rock band Status Quo open their set on Pictures: Live At Montreux 2009 (also on DVD and Blu-ray) with “Caroline,” featuring the twin guitar assault of original members of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. Who wouldn’t love the sloppy beginning and drive of “Is There A Better Way,” which is probably as heavy as Status Quo gets (lyrically it’s not one of their best). Then there’s the distinctive single note guitar opening of perhaps the band’s best known songs, “Pictures Of Matchstick Men.”

“Living On An Island” from their 1979 album Whatever You Want is a pretty light tune with some nice electric piano.  I love the guitar opening of “Down Down,” which morphs into a tight little rocker, showcasing once again that Quo duel guitar thing (the crowd is alive on this one with their handclaps).

John Fogerty’s “Rockin' All Over the World” is a much quicker, old barrel-house shakedown of the classic tune (Quo recorded it in 1977). The piano on this one is an absolute delight. Altogether, Pictures: Live At Montreux 2009 is a blast of Status Quo well worth getting your hands on.

If you’re looking for something newer from Status Quo, try their 2011 studio release Quid Pro Quo. This is straight-ahead boogie rock at its finest. Founded by school chums Rossi and bassist Alan Lancaster in 1962, Status Quo has seen more than a few lineup changes over an illustrious career that has sold over 118 million records.

“Two Way Traffic” lifts off with big guitars and equally big drums, along with a blaring organ, staccato beat, and a chorus that sounds a bit like early ELO. Mostly, however, the record is good time rock and roll with a 50s feel in some spots, and a rolling organ and spiky piano as the undercurrent. “It’s All About You,” features the harmonica for rockin’ fun, while “Anyway You Like It” moves with its quick-switching chords in the chorus.

“Reality Check” may be the best one of the bunch — a fun ZZ Top/Warren Zevon-like ditty with a great lead smack dab in the center. “Leave A Little Light On” introduces some slide and more vocals reminiscent of early ELO — so early I am reminded of the Move.

“The Winner” has more of a poppy, mid-80s feel with a catchy chorus. The 15-song set ends with “In The Army Now,” a song originally recorded in 1986 for an album of the same name. It’s also been recorded by quite a few others. This version is notable because it features the Corps Of Army Music choir on backing vocals. All proceeds from the single release of “The Winner,” which came out in September 2010, go to the British Forces Foundation and Help For Heroes charities.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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