1990 was a great year for the Quireboys. After years of slogging away on the UK club circuit, the dawn of a new decade saw the band not only make the leap to headlining theatres and delivering show stealing festival/support slots but also saw them release a gold-selling album that boasted 4 hit singles, and with ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’ mainstream success appeared just a top five single away for Spike and the ‘boys.


Of course, hindsight is always a wonderful thing, and the veritable tsunami of “what ifs” that followed for the band could form the basis of multiple RPM features all of their own, but 30 years on when the 21st Century version of The Quireboys decided to re-record their debut it was never really about looking back but all about giving the dozen songs that make up the record a Gypsy Rock ‘N’ Roll makeover to capture how the band sounds right now.


So, for those of you who have always longed for the loose energy of those early Survival released singles and the Reading Festival bootlegs that were essential listening for those of us in the know in the late 80s, this could be your chance to finally get the debut album you so yearned for. For me though, I’ve always loved what the band along with George Tutko and Jim Cregan did with ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’ first time around (‘Seven O’Clock’ shoehorned chorus aside that is), so let’s see what a Gypsy Rock ‘N’ Roll makeover has added to proceedings shall we?


Sequenced in its original running order the 30th Anniversary party version of ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’ kicks of as it should with their honky tonk Top 40 smash ‘Seven O’Clock’ and yes the chorus is still very much where it has been for the past 30 years, but you know what, after all these years I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is the perfect album opener and wonderfully raucous stuff!


‘Man On the Loose’ is where things truly step up a gear as this tune is given a cowbell driven rocket up its arse, complete with soaring gospel backing vocals and some glorious two-handed piano work (if you know you know) from the always excellent Keith Weir. The Willie Dowling cowrite ‘Whippin’ Boy’ sounds positively reborn here too and given room to breathe the guitars of Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin smoulder.


Overdriven backing vocals aside ‘Sex Party’ will always be err a beast of a party tune, whilst one of my favourite tracks from the original album ‘Sweet Mary Anne’ has never sounded more like the track that would make the Quireboys the Rod Stewart & The Faces of my generation. And talking of Rod if he had recorded ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ on one of his albums I’m sure that Spike and the boys would now be living some kind of Brian Tatler royalty enriched highlife. That this song never went top 5 when released is still one of life’s great mysteries.


Virtually flipping the album over for what would have been side 2, ‘Hey You’ (the band’s biggest hit back in the day, charting at number 14) stays pretty damn close to the original version, and acoustic intro aside so does the swaggering giant that is ‘Misled’. ‘Long Time Comin’ meanwhile still struts and boogies hard, and thirty years ago it was Quireboys tunes like this that really opened the door for The Black Crowes to come steaming in and steal the band’s limelight whilst they were off trying to record album number two in the US.


‘Roses And Rings’ is yet another song that has The Faces influence written through it like a stick of seaside rock, and here with added fiddle I can just see John Peel kicking a football around to it on Top Of The Pops. ‘There She Goes Again’ and a wonderfully reworked ‘Take Me Home’ close the 30th Anniversary version of ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’ out in true style, and if you have purchased the CD version of the album you’ll also have live versions of ‘Man On The Loose’ and ‘Mayfair’ left to enjoy. My one small gripe here is there is no place for ‘How Do You Feel?’ or ‘Pretty Girls’, two tracks that not only featured on the Japanese version of the 1990 album but also deserve a Gypsy Rock ‘N’ Roll makeover…ah well, you can always dream I suppose.


Available on CD right now and later this month on limited edition double 10” blue vinyl, The Quireboys aim to get back in the top ten with this 30th anniversary edition of ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’ and I for one wish the ‘boys every success with the campaign.  Get your copy now from the links below and make The Quireboys dreams come true.…


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Author: Johnny Hayward