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Finally, both versions of 'The Wild One' and the b-sides in a superb remaster
on 8 May 2011
With a string of big hits and a successful first album making the leather-clad, pants-wearing Suzi Quatro pretty much a household brand for rock and roll rebellion outside of America, the pressure was presumably on to produce another rocking screamer that would continue the momentum. The result - 1974's `Quatro' - is, like many "difficult" second albums, disappointing.
Though again sporting slick rock production and a number of compositions from the Mike Chapman/ Nicky Chinn team, this effort sadly replaces the song-writing of Quatro and guitarist Len Tuckey with a host of covers of 50s and 60s staples - though they are, admittedly, stirlingly executed.
Chapman and Chin contribute `The Wild One', `Too Big', `Savage Silk' and the bubble-gum stomp of `Devil Gate Drive', all of which Quatro commits to with screaming melodic zeal, while adding three more big hits to her catalogue. But the covers are mostly too boringly chosen to really showcase her talent. `Keep A-knockin', `Trouble' and `Shot of Rhythm and Blues' tend to leave her sounding a bit like a female Elvis impersonator. Though, `Move It' is a driving, adrenaline-fuelled rocker and the soulful rendition of `Hit The Road Jack' is an unexpected and brilliant surprise. While Quatro/Tuckey were not at their rock best with the boogie-styled `Klondyke Kate' and `Friday', the heart-achingly tender ballad, `Cat Size' is not only a high point, but it helps make `Quatro' worth a purchase.
The whole thing has an update-the-50s-with-a-modern-70s-polish feel. But, other than in her obvious powers as a rock interpreter, `Quatro' lacks any real stamp of Quatro as an artist. In fact, its dearth of self-penned work, in addition to the continued pro-written singles, is probably one of the major reasons rock commentators discount her as a serious artist.
That said, this Cherry Red 7t's remaster package is superbly done. It sports the original British song list which opens with the slow version of `The Wild One', long missing in action from CD, a particular bonus for Australians (the Australian version opens with the rock version). The inclusion of the Quatro/Tuckey b-sides (including the outstanding `I Wanna Be Free') also serve to flesh it out and elevate the collection above the limits of the original album.
This is a bit warmer than the previous Australian remaster (2004) and sports the added bonus of very interesting liner notes, full original cover art and a collection of the various covers of the singles when they were originally issued around the world. It is fantastic to see this treatment being given to Suzi Quatro's 70s recordings. Let's hope it continues with `Your Mamma Won't Like Me' and `Aggro Phobia'! Very much worth a purchase, if mainly for the cover art and to finally have the epic slow version of `The Wild One'.