STATUS QUO – On The Level [Reissue]

STATUS QUO - On The Level [Reissue]


Mercury Records
Release date: July 12, 2005

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Released 30 years ago in 1975, On The Level was Status Quo’s fourth release from the golden era, and their eighth release in total.

Everything was happening for the foursome during this time, and On The Level may have been their poorest album since 1972’s Piledriver. Nevertheless, it contained their biggest hit to date, and their first number one single, “Down Down.”

It was also a critically acclaimed release in 1975, but when looking back on it today; it isn’t a particularly memorable album. It contains all the signature riffs and sounds like any other Status Quo-album, but it seems as if the autopilot switch was turned on at times during these writing/recording sessions. Nevertheless, in 1975, Status Quo just couldn’t do anything wrong.

One of the standouts on this release, in addition to the aforementioned “Down Down,” is the quiet and classic Quo-number “Most Of The Time.” With its distant and mellow voice from the start, to the Blues really kicking in midway through the song, this is a masterpiece.

Other songs are average rockers like “Little Lady,” “I Saw The Light,” “Over And Done,” and “Nightride.” They’re not poor songs, but they aren’t even close to the creativity witnessed on Quo, released one year prior.

The bonus tracks on the re-releases so far have constituted one track per each release. On The Level, on the other hand, contains no less than five extra tracks, including the single version of “Down Down” and live versions of Hello!‘s “Roll Over Lay Down” and “Gerdundula” – the latter a classic Quo-track originally appearing on 1971’s release Dog Of Two Head; not appearing amongst these re-released classics. So it’s a good thing to have that track on board as well, even though this is a live version.

Also appearing is The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues,” the studio version, of which, is Piledriver‘s closing track. This live version, however, includes the nerve and energy the 1972 studio version lacked.

So all in all, including the bonus tracks, the re-release of On The Level is a solid outing, even though it’s not Status Quo’s best album of this era. With Hello! and Quo as its predecessors, it was an arduous task to deliver something better, and On The Level is by no means a total disappointment.


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