Album review: STATUS QUO – Rock Till You Drop & Thirsty Work

STATUS QUO - Rock 'Til You Drop

UMC [Release date 06.03.20]

“Rock Till You Drop” was something of a love/hate album for the band. Rossi loved it, Parfitt hated it. It was a look back in the band’s rear view mirror. It was never uncomfortably reverential, but neither did it settle for recycling the past. Rock critics liked it a lot, probably because it vigorously propelled them back into the classy Quo milieu with which they were familiar, many voting it the band’s best album since “Piledriver”. Very much worth mentioning is an (elongated by 6 minutes) rerecorded version of ‘Forty Five Hundred Times’, a track originally on the band’s 1973 album “Hello”. And that’s even before we get to the two bonus CDs.

The first is brimful of B sides and 7” edits. The most noteworthy being the withdrawn versions of ‘Heavy Daze’ and ‘Better Times’. The second is as much a live tour event as you will ever get on one disc, featuring specially selected tracks from the band’s sold out gigs at Sheffield Arena, Glasgow SECC, Birmingham NEC and Wembley Arena, all from 1991, the year of “Rock Till You Drop”s release.

STATUS QUO - Thirsty Work

We almost feel short changed by the expanded edition of “Thirsty Work”, given there’s only one bonus disc. Still, the fact there’s 17 tracks on it, 4 previously unreleased, quickly disippates the gloom.

The album itself is a tale of two Quos. The one that seemed satisfied with finding its own groove in popular rock culture… ‘Sherri Don’t Fail Me Now’ and ‘Restless’ are bloodless affairs (yet both troubled the UK Top Forty). And the one that pursues the magic moment where popular music transcends its limitations… witness the gleaming pop rock immediacy of ‘Rude Awakening’ and ‘Ciao Ciao’.

Criticims aside, you can always hear Quo’s back story humming away in the background… on “Thirsty Work” as much as any of the band’s albums. Not for no reason was it a UK Top Twenty album.

These majorly expanded reissues confirm Quo as a band that knows how to monetise its own back catalogue. But then you ask yourself, if you had this much treasure piled up in the vaults, wouldn’t you?

Review by Brian McGowan

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