There are very few certainties in life. There’s death, taxes and there’s also The Quireboys because when you want low-down dirty rock and roll there isn’t a better band to go to.
Last year marked 30 years since the release of their first album “A Bit Of What You Fancy” and to celebrate they’ve done something different. Many bands mark the anniversary of a seminal album by going out on tour and playing the album from start to finish but oh no not The Quireboys, that would be too easy. Instead, they’ve decided to completely re-record it and bring some current Quireboys magic to those songs we know so well – albeit due to a certain worldwide situation it’s only seen the light of day this year. The tracklisting is the same as the original unless you get the CD version, in which case you get two bonus live tracks. So what’s it all about then? What made this album so good back then and is it still as good now?
Well, it certainly hit the spot back in the day, with the original release reaching number two in the UK charts in absolutely no time at all and spawning a handful of hit singles and also several songs that are still in the setlist to this day. In 1990 the Quireboys were young fresh and hungry. In 2021 they are more mature, more polished and that’s reflected in the quality of this recording.
The songs still stand the test of time but they reflect a little better where the band are now. Only frontman Spike remains from the original lineup, although it seems guitarists Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin and keyboard player Keith Weir have been around him forever. 2021 Quireboys are slicker, better musicians and have a more laid-back, country vibe to them. This comes across in the new recordings and the band manages to capture both the passion of their youth and the maturity of their current selves nicely.
The album starts with party favourite 7 O’Clock because after all, it’s always 7 O’Clock and time for a party somewhere! It continues with the same tracks in the same order as the original, but somehow it’s not the same. The differences between new and old versions are subtle rather than in-your-face. There’s a different bridge or solo, a slight change in pitch in Spike’s vocals, enough to bring a fresh new feel but not enough to change things out of all recognition. The songs seem somehow brighter and fresher, possibly due to the use of new technology and production techniques, but at the same time, they are still The Quireboys. They still have that Quireboys sound, that Quireboys attitude, that Quireboys swagger.