SUZI Q — LIVE IN THE 70s
Author: Bruce Jenkins Date Posted:6 August 2021
Following the previous article on Donny Hathaway Live, we’re staying with concert recordings from the 1970s but jumping forward, changing styles and swapping gender. Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together for Suzi Quatro, Live And Kickin’.
Recorded in Osaka in mid-1977, this double album (on white vinyl for RSD 2021) has the bass-playing rocker barrelling through a selection of her hits and a range of covers for an appreciative Japanese audience.
Now Suzi Quatro was enormous in Australia in 1973. Her first album took up residence near the top of the charts for much of the last quarter of 1973, while the first two singles—“Can the Can” and “48 Crash”—were solid number one hits. “Devil Gate Drive” maintained that form the following year (also hitting the top of the charts in the UK, as had “Can the Can”). Suzi was petite, potent, and much of Australia fell in love with her… particularly those teens coming of age via rowdy 18th birthday parties heard across the nation. So one cannot help wondering why her people didn’t record a live album Downunder. Aussie audiences would have yelled, stomped and raised the corrugated iron roof.
In Live and Kickin’, what we do have is a very enjoyable Quatro concert but one that seldom catches fire. There are several songs from her then-current LP Aggro-Phobia, but as none of them were hits, audience response is muted. Having said that, the band is road-tested and tight, with Len Tuckey shooting off several hot solos (particularly noteworthy is his ripper on “Half as much as me”). And the side boasting a synth-laden “What’s it like to be loved” and extended “Can the Can” is fun. The covers are also lively—“Heartbreak Hotel” and Steve Harley’s “Make me smile” stand out—but one cannot help wishing for her smouldering version of “Shakin’ all over”, a funky-sexy "Your Mama won’t like me", or a frenetic “48 Crash” amped up for performance. Make no mistake: it’s energetic and the band works as hard as their diminutive leader; perhaps there was simply a gap between the music and the audience, or perhaps the moment had passed.
For folk of a certain age, Live And Kickin’ will bring back fond memories of flares, hot summer nights, and sending the already-eighteen-year-old for a six-pack of Fosters and a bottle of Lindeman’s Ben Ean Moselle. Fleeting, flickering images of dancing woozily around a beach campfire and hoping for a pash. Glam ruled, Suzi was the “Glycerine Queen” and sparks did fly.
© Bruce Jenkins 2021