They don’t seem to have a dedicated Wikipedia page, yet QUILL have kept a solid presence on the British rock scene for five decades, 2023 marking the ensemble’s anniversary – and what’s the best way to commemorate such an achievement if not to pay tribute to their local musicians who went to claim international fame? “Local” in this case means from around Birmingham, and Brum had a paper titled “Midland Beat” back in the first half of the ’60s – the paper that has now lent its title to the sextet’s new album.
Out now, the record is comprised of ten brilliant covers by the artists of various vintage, spanning the ’60s to the ’90s and representing various styles, plus a track from QUILL’s most recent platter. And while Murray Head’s “Say It Ain’t So, Joe” was released by this collective earlier, laid down by a different line-up, of much more interest are classics from ELO, THE MOVE and BLACK SABBATH – because the six-piece’s drummer Bev Bevan played in all three outfits, even though he didn’t perform on the heavy metal fathers’ famous ballad. As far as readings of borrowed material go, “Celebrates Midland Beat” feels irresistible, and those who appreciated the band’s previous offerings, like 2015’s "Brush With The Moon" or “Live” from 1979, will love it.
1. Ordinary World – DURAN DURAN
2. Go Now – MOODY BLUES
3. The Day We Caught The Train – OCEAN COLOUR SCENE
4. Songbird – FLEETWOOD MAC
5. Telephone Line – ELO
6. Can’t Find My Way Home – Steve Winwood
7. Changes – BLACK SABBATH
8. How Does It Feel – SLADE
9. Blackberry Way – THE MOVE
10. Say It Ain’t So, Joe – Murray Head
11. Winter Rain – QUILL (from “Riding Rainbows”)