From page 82 of Classic Rock Magazine June 2011
Reissues Cherry Red
Expanded versions of First Lady of glam’s first two albums add the gold to the lead.
O ver-praised by the kind of Guardian -reading pop intelligentsia that sees her short-lived but spectacular career as an earlyblow for feminism; horribly underrated by the sort of earnest, Classic Rock -reading galumph who still thinks of hit singles as an irrelevance; Suzi Quatro has long defied easy critical pigeonholing. Even in her mid-70s heyday she hardly fitted in with her designated role as Queen Of Glam; her biggest contribution to that muchmaligned but game-changing period was to provide a new twist on glam’s self-avowed androgyny: a girl that looked and sounded like aboy. Even her band failed to fully conform to the glam stereotype: a grizzlier bunch of greasers it would be hard to imagine trying to fit into stack-heeled shoes.
Like the Sweet and Mud before her, Quatro’s real claim to fame was as a convincing cipher for the songwriting and production talents of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Thus the highlights of both these CD versions of her first two albums are the very tracks the original vinyl versions mostly
lacked: i.e. big Chinnichap hits like Can The Can, Devil Gate Drive, Daytona Demo n and The Wild One . Indeed it’s hard to equate the still tremendously rousing – even sexy – Can The Can or Devil Gate Drive with Quatro-penned fodder like Glycerine Queen or Klondyke Kate .
Both these expanded reissues, in fact rely on the same by-numbers formula: second-rate ‘original’ material written by the singer and her husband/guitarist Len Tuckey; several old-time rock’n’roll covers – All Shook Up, Shakin’ All Over etc – and those brilliant glam-rock goliaths.
As testament to Quatro’s legacy, neither album really works, tending to highlight the inadequacies of her music over its highlights; for that a greatest hits would do abetter, more accurate job. Go to YouTube, however, and dig out some of the fantastic Top OfThe Pops appearances – especially the one for Devil Gate Drive where Tuckey and keyboardist Alastair ‘Haggy’ McKenzie get up and do that dance on the chorus – and you will see exactly just how brilliant Miss Q was in her prime.
You might say that without her there would have been no Pretenders or Runaways. Certainly Chapman would put his Quatro experience to good use writing hits for future famously feisty females like Pat Benatar, Blondie and Lita Ford. None of them, though, wore a leather jump suit quite like Suzi. 0000 ■■ ■ ■■ ■ Suzi Quatro and Quatro