The first of, as it turned out, many albums from the band which would become simply Status Quo - "Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo" not only stands out as a debut album with a very silly name, but one which would become a reminder of what Quo would move away from rather than building upon, at least stylistically. Originally released in September 1968 (as Pye NSPL18220), the debut album consists of a dozen pop tracks, culminating in the now classic "Pictures of Matchstick Men". As a 30th anniversary of this album release looms large, the reissue CD presents the original twelve songs carefully re mastered.
As is the norm with debut albums, single releases flowed from "PMM" - "Black Veils of Melancholy", "Ice In The Sun", "Technicolour Dreams" and "Pictures of Matchstick Men" made A-sides and other tracks also found their way onto B-sides. The twelve songs represent a collection of cover versions and band-penned material, and overall the standard of material is good. "Ice In The Sun", "Elizabeth Dreams", "Spicks and Specks", "Sheila" and "Pictures of Matchstick Men" are all quality songs, performed well and presented here in very clear and impressive style. One of Quo's strangest tracks to date, "Paradise Flats", is included here as well and sounds more worrying every time you hear it ! Notable also is "Sunny Cellophane Skies" for it is an early example of Alan Lancaster at work lyrically and "Gentleman Joe's Sidewalk Cafe" is a quirky little love song that tells an all too familiar story.
In addition to the original twelve tracks, the reissue CD also boasts three bonus tracks. First up is an original mono mix of "To Be Free", the B-side of "Black Veils of Melancholy" and one of the few tracks penned by original keyboard player Roy Lynes and featuring prominent keyboards. A previously unreleased version of "Pictures of Matchstick Men" comes next, with unique guitar filler to the vocals and harmonies on the chorus. To complete the CD, an alternate mix of the bizarre "Paradise Flats", apparently labelled on the original multi-track tape boxes as "Paradise Hats" !!
The album which started the long and successful career of Status Quo has been carefully considered on this reissue CD and the bonus tracks ensure its place on every collector's "must have" list, simply to complete the early history of the band in a way which no other currently available recording can offer.