For most musicians, being on tour is quite enough to keep you busy, thank you very much. Not if your name is Suzi Quatro. The Queen of rock ‘n’ roll has been putting her in-between concert time to excellent use with the release of a six-track EP called Uncovered, which, you’ve guessed it, has six cover versions of songs that have been an influence on her music and career.
Touring and recording? Now that’s what I call multi-tasking.
Suzi Quatro – Uncovered (Sun Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Mark Rotherham
First up is Creedence Clearwater Revivial’s 1969 song, Bad Moon Rising. Suzi gives us a fabulous, jingling, upbeat version of this song, which combines great melody with apocalyptic lyrics. And, if, like me, you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember a certain horror film with amazing special effects. It’s a downward shift in gear for our Suzi, a bit acoustic, a bit almost country and western, but Suzi’s voice fits this song perfectly. It’s foot-tapping, great, addictive music, and hey, that’s what we all want, right?
All musicians are varied and diverse, and this really becomes apparent when they do covers of songs that are important to them. So you might be surprised, and yet, not surprised at hearing Wilson Pickett’s Midnight Hour. You’ve got horns, piano, saxophone and slow, molasses-flowing vocals all in one song. It’s not what you expect from Miss Q, but for those of us who know, and I’m now happily one of that number, you could almost see this one coming. It’s a touch faster than other versions you might have heard, but Suzi turns it to her own style in her own way, and it’s fabulous listening.
I’m pretty sure that Suzi is giving us I Feel The Earth Move in tribute to the original version by Carole King, although I have to confess that the last time I heard this song was in 1989 when it was done by Martika. Now, I thought that version was good, and I have to say this is the last song I thought would be sung by Suzi Quatro until I heard it. There are loads of horns playing the solo like, well, a sexy horn solo. It’s an inspired choice of a cover version. It’s simply excellent.
Walking The Dog, originally by Rufus Thomas, combines horns, blues guitar, and schmoozy vocals. Once again, you’re really just wanting this to be played live. This is so Suzi Quatro. It’s moving, and it’s upbeat, it’s feelgood and brightside. Let’s face it, this song is just exactly what you want. And if you don’t know how to walk that dog, Suzi Q is only too happy to show you.
The fifth song in this collection is James Brown’s The Boss and the only one I’ve not heard before. But it’s James Brown territory, so you know it’s got the blues all over it. “I paid the cost to be the boss,” and so said every manager in the world. On the level I’m looking at this, it’s a song that says my life might be great from the outside, but if you look at it through my eyes, you might be surprised. It’s a serious message told in an upbeat way. Lots of horns, lots of pianos, and try as hard as I might, I can’t get any guitar until right at the end. And don’t tell anyone at MetalTalk, but just this once, that’s not a bad thing.
The EP closes with the Otis Redding song, (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay. Now, everyone’s heard this song, and it’s been sung by loads of singers over the years. For her take on it, Suzi takes a slow approach, and you know what? It really works. This version of the song adds some real mood to what was already a moody song. Again, this is miles away from what you’d traditionally expect from Miss Q, but that’s what cover albums are all about. It’s all about giving you a completely different slice of the artist you thought you knew, but really, you didn’t, and nor did any of the rest of us.
Cover albums are always fascinating to listen to. They give you a great insight into the artist, what their influences are, and what carried them along on their musical journey.
This EP is no exception, and even though your average Suzi Quatro album is usually a thoroughly enjoyable mixed bag of music, this small collection of songs is even more mixed, and it all builds into a bit more of an idea about how she got there.
For more details, visit https://sunrecords.lnk.to/SuziQuatroUncovered.