Suzi Quatro

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For men of a certain age the name Suzi Quatro brings back a fond memory of the leather clad singer playing her seemingly massive bass in what can only be delicately described as a provocative fashion. Of course, apart from fuelling the imagination of teenage boys, the Detroit born musician, more importantly, inspired many aspiring female artists to form bands. She’s really never gone away so her latest solo album ‘No Control’ isn’t a case of an old Rocker being dug out of their retirement but simply another chapter in a long running series. This might suggest something potentially stale and stodgy but listening to this album was a really pleasant surprise; it sounds fresh and vibrant, combining hard Rocking songs with catchy melodies (a lot of young contemporary Hard Rock bands could take note of that seemingly elusive element).

Suzi Q’s singing is in great shape, just like the lady herself, easily handling the opening fast paced straight ahead Rocking romps of ‘No Soul/No Control’ and ‘Going Home’ as well as the subsequent change of tack on a number of the following numbers. ‘Strings’ is a bouncy number led by synth horns, featuring a number of key changes, not to mention some real horns. ‘Love isn’t Fair’ has a carnival atmosphere with a Caribbean feel and another jaunty horn arrangement. ‘Macho Man’ has that chugging groove reminiscent of those 70’s hits and features the first guitar solo on the album, a great little Rocker. The collection is full of surprises; ‘Easy Picking’ features some Bluesy harmonica and sounds a bit like it could have been recorded by a 70’s group like Blue Mink (albeit with some souped up backing), another catchy melody with very nice keyboard work.

‘Bass Line’ takes it down slightly with a melody that pays homage (ahem) to Shocking Blue’s ‘Venus’ and unsurprisingly features some funky bass lines. There are one or two familiar melodies and arrangements. ‘I Can Teach You to Fly’ for instance definitely brings the Turtles’ ‘Happy Together’ to mind. The collection of eleven songs were all co-written by the singer and her son Richard Tuckey, who also handles guitar duties, and are all very listenable. The album features excellent playing and arrangements and, while it probably won’t register far beyond the singer’s hard-core fans, this is a set of songs that are powerfully melodic, as well as a lot of fun, and which deserve reaching a wider audience.

Simon Green