RICK PARFITT (Status Quo) – Over And Out (2018)
When the awful news broke on Christmas Eve 2016 that legendary rocker RICK PARFITT had passed, fans around the world were devastated that one of rock’s most iconic performers had been silenced. However, unknown to almost anyone, Rick had in fact virtually completed his first solo album whilst undergoing a period of recuperation after his heart attack in July. That album, poignantly titled “Over And Out” is released on 23 March 2018 through earMUSIC.
Featuring 10 brand new songs, including the title track that broke hearts anew when it was played at Rick’s funeral, this is an album of depth and passion. Created by Rick Parfitt and Producer Jo Webb, the record is a true labor of love and showcases the softer side of Rick as a writer, artist and performer away from the Status Quo maelstrom.
Parfitt gave almost 50 years of his life to Status Quo and his passing in December 2016 was felt keenly both within and beyond the world of entertainment. Quo are a household name and Parfitt, alongside Rossi, was the band’s driving force and public face.
In all those years, Parfitt had never released any solo material. One had been recorded back in 1985, due to be called ‘Recorded Delivery’. It featured the future Quo rhythm section of bass player John “Rhino” Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich. But the album never saw the light of day.
It seems that Parfitt recorded another, unknown to almost everyone, in Turkey in June 2016 whilst recovering from a heart attack. After his demise, further musicians were drafted in to complete the record. This included Queen’s Brian May, Muse bassist Chris Wolstenholme, Rick Parfitt Jnr, “Rhino” Edwards (again) and Alan Lancaster.
And so, 52 years after the start of Rick Parfitt’s musical career, and 15 months after his death, we receive his debut solo album. It has been a long wait.
Whilst the collection shows off the more crafted and mellow side of Parfitt’s talents, there is plenty of boogie and groove to satisfy fans of the band’s glory years as well.
Album opener, ‘Twinkletoes’ is a fair benchmark for the material. It’s a melodic rocker with catchy chorus, layered up vocals and neat arrangements. Brian May pitches up on this one to offer a few fine flourishes on the lead breaks.
However, ‘Lonesone Road’ and later ‘Fight For Every Heartbeat’ both offer something more substantial. The former finds a mark much closer to the pure Quo sound of their mid 70’s output. The boogie infused track changes up into a proper old swaggering foot-stomper with about a minute left on the clock.
Likewise, ’Fight For Every Heartbeat’ is a stripped back rocker. The gorgeous riff jumps straight from the gatefold-sleeve era of something like ‘On The Level’. Hints of honky-tonk piano keep the rock ‘n’ roll rumbling and there’s a crystal-clear guitar solo.
The melodic moments return with ‘When I was Falling in Love’ which carries a true classic rock flavouring the vocal phrasing. ‘Without You’ is the album’s lead track, a nice sweet ballad written for his son, flowing on sweeping strings and swelling backing vocals.
A brace of rockers follow. ‘Long Distance Love’ has a tight, choppy riff, cut under a driving drum track. Nice, tidy guitar solo from Rick.
Then ‘Everybody Knows How To Fly’ smashes in on a typical three-chord blues boogie. Harmonica fills out the stomp for good measure, just in case you though there wasn’t enough swing kicking off. Loads of dirty slide crawling all over the chorus. And Parfitt’s vocals are excellent.
Next up, ‘Lock Myself Away’ is a lovely little rock ‘n’ roll ditty: snapped drums, tinkled ivories and doo-wopped backing vocals. A simple joy.
The album closer is an old song. A version of ’Halloween’ appeared on a Quo b-side ‘Who Gets The Love’ in 1988. It’s the most complex track here and has keyboards to the fore, notably a snaking bass synth, together with the odd pained vocal and a harder guitar sound tan anywhere else.
Sentiment can often take over when posthumous material of a recently departed musician is released. There’s no danger of that here.
“Over And Out” shoulda be enjoyed as Parfitt wanted: enjoy rock n’ roll. And indeed you get thrilled to the infectious tones of ‘Everybody Knows How To Fly’ and ‘Fight For Every Heartbeat’, or melt at the melancholy of the title track.
01 – Twinkletoes
02 – Lonesome Road
03 – Over and Out
04 – When I Was Fallin’ in Love
05 – Fight for Every Heartbeat
06 – Without You
07 – Long Distance Love
08 – Everybody Knows How to Fly
09 – Lock Myself Away
10 – Halloween
Rick Parfitt – vocals, guitar
Chris Wolstenholme (Muse) – bass
John “Rhino” Edwards (Status Quo) – drums
Brian May (Queen) – guitar, vocals
Rick Parfitt Jnr – guitar
Alan Lancaster – drums