Who? Status Quo
Album title? Hello!
But aren't they pretty well-known? In the US? Surely you jest.
Any chart success? In the US?
Well, no. How about throughout Europe? Sure. #1 in England and top 40 in a slew of other countries.
Allmusic.com review ? Yes.
Following the success of Piledriver, Status Quo opted not to change a thing, unfurling the mind-numbing boogie attack of Hello! The strategy worked, resulting in the group's first number one album and in "Caroline," its first top-five single. Mostly, the album succeeds in spite of itself. "Roll Over Lay Down," not immediately impressive, builds into a tizzy over the course of five minutes. It is one-upped by "Caroline," the definitive Status Quo rock song, a not particularly hard or fast four-on-the-floor stomp saved by a massive, deceptively simple guitar hook. "Forty-Five Hundred Times," less catchy but harder rocking, is brutally long, but is rescued by its placement as the album's closer. In between, the group, writing in some instances with coordinator Robert Young, offer up slight variations of their standard formula. Several of those, like the rickety, Beatlesque "Claudie" and the bluesy "Softer Ride" transcend their three-chords-and-a-riff construction enough to render them decent, memorable pop songs. Down to the proto-Spinal Tap black-on-black cover, this was the vanguard of British denim rock in 1975, and given the narrow conceptual and technical limits within which the Status Quo had to work, it has held up well, though it is certainly not for the faint of heart or attention span. Clearly the product of a band at their commercial and creative peak, Hello! wears its strengths and weaknesses well: not particularly flashy or intelligent, but without exception confident, comfortable and fun.
1. Roll Over Lay Down
3. Reason For Living
4. Blue Eyed Lady
6. Softer Ride
7. And It's Better Now
8. Forty-Five Hundred Time
Availability: Around $8 new or you can splurge and get the 5 Classic Albums set that contains five remastered albums for around $16.
I have certainly heard of Status Quo many times. I was aware that they were much bigger in Europe than in the United States. But that is really all that I could tell you about them.
As for this album, the Allmusic review is pretty good, so no need for me to add a track by track. What I will say is guitars, guitars and more guitars. And I love it. It kind of reminds me of what I thought about Wishbone Ash when you first started posting their albums. I thought the guitar playing was out of this world.
The vocals, on the other hand, are serviceable. Again, similar to Wishbone Ash. But over time I've come to accept vocals that aren't top notch in my book (like those of Wishbone Ash or even Rush). I think a person likes these bands just as much for the vocals as for anything else. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I don't think the songwriting is overly strong, but it's okay. I thought that last track was somewhat epic and it's not a ballad, so there is that. Nice post, nice enough that I wouldn't mind hearing some more.