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Music Review: Suzi Quatro – Unreleased Emotion

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Suzi Quatro’s Unreleased Emotion is a neglected nugget in her canon. It’s been so since its recording in 1982.

Back then, Quatro was married to guitarist Len Tuckey, who shares co-writing credit with Quatro for all but one of the 12 songs. The full collection didn’t see the light of day until 1998 when it was given a limited CD only release, six years after the couple’s divorce in 1992. It’s been available as an import, and several of the songs, including “I’m A Rocker” and “Good Girl (Looking For A Bad Time),” appeared on singles. Now the complete disc has been digitally remastered and includes two bonus songs, “I Go Wild” and “Tonight (I Could Fall In Love).” In addition, the new edition includes a booklet with liner notes from Phil Hendriks. It’s about time.

In fact, Unreleased Emotion is well worth discovering for the first time, even after all these years. While Quatro is most associated with lady rockers like Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, and The Runaways, this set is more reminiscent of poppy hits from earlier decades. You could call it the unreleased Leather Tuscadero album. That is, Quatro’s Happy Days character could have performed many of these songs on the show and they’d have perfectly fit the scene at Arnold’s.

From start to finish, every song on the program keeps the party going and the tone bouncy. For example, for the lively, upbeat “There She Goes” and “Can I Be Your Girl,” Quatro is a one-woman bubblegum girl group. Built on the “Hang On Sloopy” riff, “Comes the Night” is pure ‘60s Top 40.

Other songs have Quatro sounding very New Wave in general, with nods to Blondie in particular. These include the album’s catchy, festive opener, “Pardon Me” and the trip south of the border, “Secret Hideaway.” Featuring especially cool vocal harmonies, “Strange Encounters” is also an energetic tune Debbie Harry could have produced. This one should be a rock movie theme. I have only one complaint—Suzi’s version of “Suzi Q (Suzie Q.)” has a cookin’ groove, but is much too short. Much.

The fact Quatro was drawing from classic rock styles for this album, ironically, helps give the set a timeless feel. For most listeners, the songs aren’t anchored in our minds with any nostalgia or memories of hearing most or any of this material before. So Unreleased Emotion sounds like a fresh, new Suzi Quatro album she recently produced after a long drink at the Soda Fountain of Youth. Arnold, I’d like to place an order myself. I have about 12 songs I want to play on the jukebox.

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