The late Rick Parfitt, of Status Quo fame, leaves fans with one last chance to rock to his unmistakable sound.
When Rick Parfitt passed away on Christmas Eve 2016, it came as a big blow to the rock world. After ‘Rocking All Over The World‘ for the last 50 years as part of British band Status Quo, he had more than earned his status as a rock legend. After suffering a heart attack in mid 2016, he had to retire from touring with the band to focus on recuperation from the life threatening ordeal. Little did we know, Rick was working on a solo album with producer Jo Webb. By the time of his passing, he had managed to lay down guitar and vocals for the included tracks. Webb, along with Rick’s son Rick Parfitt Jr, worked together to make sure the album was completed as a tribute. Enlisting the help of a long list of previous collaborators including members of the RPJ Band, Queen’s Brian May, Muse’s Chris Wolstenholme, Alan Lancaster, John ‘Rhino’ Edwards, Bob Young, Wayne Morris and many others; the album was finally finished and ready for the world to hear! So what’s the verdict on Rick Parfitt’s posthumous debut solo album Over and Out?
It could be really easy to brand Parfitt as a one trick pony because of his public image within Status Quo, but this could not be further from the truth. He has always had a knack for writing a mixture of truth and honestly with memorable hooks; no matter how cheesy or cliché they may sometimes initially appear. There are a mix of genres contained within the album, with a bit of Parfitt magic sprinkled upon them. Spanning Rock n Roll, Rockabilly, Blues, Country, Ballads and Pop; no stone is unturned. Out of the ten tracks on the album, Parfitt has a credit on eight of them; the other two belonging to established songwriter John David.
Rick’s album was expected by fans to be a carbon copy of the Quo of old, due his recent stance on the matter. The good news is that there are tracks which have that vintage Quo flavour, but it does not dominate the record. Tracks such as Twinkletoes, Lonesome Road, Fight For Every Heartbeat and Everybody Knows How To Fly could easily fit onto many Quo albums. For this reviewer, it’s the personal tracks that really make this album shine. Emotionally charged tracks such as When I Was Fallin’ In Love, Without You and the title track show glimpses of Rick’s softer side; an under appreciated strength of his. The only song that seems a bit out of place is Halloween, which is a direct cut from Rick’s abandoned 1985 solo album Recorded Delivery. It was subsequently included as a B-side on an 80s Quo single, and sounds a bit out of place against modern efforts. However, it’s inclusion is probably down to lack of material and sentimental reasons; It is one song that Rick wanted to record again but obviously didn’t get the chance to.
As for the production, it’s hard to fault the work that has gone into it. Some would say it was thin and overproduced, but this reviewer disagrees wholeheartedly. To create this work out of vocals and guitar that were recorded without a band, is nothing short of amazing. Some hardened fans who are used to hearing raw Parfitt, may have noticed a few production tweaks on the record. Recorded at a time when Rick’s voice was fragile, there are some signs of autotune used on some tracks. Rather than hinder the experience, it actually enhances it by adding a modern shine; the track Long Distance Love is a prime example. As for the instrumentation, it is near flawless; not surprising considering the mass amount of music talent involved. On the more rocky tracks, Rick’s guitar is the first thing that strikes you. Despite his health, he still had the power to work that unmistakable rhythm; Lonesome Road sounds like a man leaving Quo fans one last blast of the thing that made him famous. Rick may be gone, but he’s alive and well on this record, magical.
Over And Out is an eclectic collection of light and shade, showcasing the many facets of Parfitt’s musical repertoire. It may be expected to be a Quo album, but it isn’t. This is Rick Parfitt doing musically what he did best, a lot more than some people realise. It was never going be Piliedriver, but give it time. Some would say it was an insult to his legacy, but I disagree. It serves to remind us of the talent that was lost while giving Rick one last chance to rock.