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Status Quo XS All Areas: The Greatest Hits Review

Compilation. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

...Status Quo don't want you to feel their pain. They want you to bang your head, jump...

Nick Reynolds 2004

Critics say that rock music is only any good if it's about the personal pain of the musician. But Status Quo don't want you to feel their pain. They want you to bang your head, jump up and down and have a good time. For providing this simple pleasure they have been ridiculed by journalists and loved by large swathes of the British public for over thirty years.

Listen to "Gerdundula". This is an English folk song. Play it on a fiddle and stick your finger in your ear and it would pass in any folk club in the country. Considered as a selection of jigs and reels tracks like "Down, Down", "Caroline" and (my favourite) "Mystery Song" make perfect sense: loud, electric folk music for dancing.

The best stuff is from the early seventies, when the murky, basic production and tight rhythm section set up a selection of exciting guitar thrashes. "Softer Ride" stretches one blues chord out for two minutes. It's simple, and clever. If AC/DC did it, everyone would applaud.

Later they start to rely on covers for those all important hit singles. "Rockin' All Over The World" is great. "The Wanderer" is awful. Similarly when they try to expand their range the results are mixed. "Margarita Time" is daft but charming, but "In The Army Now" is horrible. It shows that the Quo should never try to be serious. And "The Anniversary Waltz" is ghastly cabaret.

Two CDs are far too much for anyone but a fan. But the Quo are a classic people's band. Like Oasis, only faster. Like the Ramones without the blocked nose and New Jersey accent. And if Fairport Convention are folk rock, why aren't Status Quo?

Switch off your brain. Enjoy yourself. Lose yourself in the crowd. All together now: "Again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again..."

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