50 Years of Dr Feelgood Celebrated

50 Years of Dr Feelgood Celebrated

50 Years of Dr Feelgood Celebrated with Forty-One tracks on Greatest Hits…and it does feel good. A collection of era and genre defining R’n’B by one of the best bands of recent years to embrace this high energy and passionate kind of music.

Forty-One tracks on Greatest Hits…and it does feel good

This year the legendary British Rhythm and Blues band Dr Feelgood celebrate their 50th anniversary. One of the UK’s hardest working groups, The Feelgoods formed in 1971 on their native Canvey Island beside the Thames estuary.

They made their name on the so-called ‘pub-rock’ scene, a term that, to me at least, suggests a slightly amateur band (and I should know, I was in one many moons ago!) whereas the Feelgoods were anything but. The huge stage personalities of singer and exceptional harp player, Lee Brilleaux and the enigmatic, frantic and talented Wilko Johnson on guitar meant that they were always destined for greater things.

(Again, I should know as, back in 1979 in those blissful pre-internet days I saw an advert for a Gillan tour and a date at the Newcastle Mayfair; a great venue for heavy rock, beer and air guitars! So, my best mate and I travelled the 40 miles (no ticket sites or booking fees, just pay £1 on the door.) And, because we relied on printed information, we were somewhat surprised to find that, when the lights went down, Gillan were nowhere to be seen; instead and disappointingly for a very short time, Dr Feelgood began their set…it was marvellous and Wilko’s antics were strange and even funny as he out Chucked Chuck with his pecking and striding about the stage, somehow never banging into Lee or the equipment. I came away from that gig knowing I had seen a genius guitarist at work and a band of quality, professionalism and a crowd pleasing set.)

50 Years of Dr Feelgood Celebrated

I’m sure you’re familiar with the acrimony that ensued, leading to Wilko strutting off and the then unknown Gypie Mayo replacing him followed by a succession of very capable guitarists. Then of course, Lee tragically was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away in 1994; bravely the band carried on and did the legacy proud.

Now for the soundtrack of so many memories …

That legacy is encapsulated in the forty tracks from the first ‘era’ – 1972 to 1997 and, not only is it packed with Feelgood classics, we also get a previously unreleased track that illustrates brilliantly how the blues always ran through what they did and do….the Bo Diddley classic You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover get a raucous run-through. It is the last track on disc two, and is where I went first; as expected the guitar chords define ‘chops’, the bass is perfect and Lee id great on vocals and harp and yes, Feelgood Fans, I did buy this for one track and so should you.

Elsewhere we get the great opener to disc 1, She Does It Right…it not only sounds good, but transports you into the real world of the Oil City (Confidential) boys. Other highlights are, of course, the hits; Roxette, Milk and Alcohol and so on.

Disc 2 is my favourite however as it has the new track plus the John Lee Hooker song Mad Man Blues which they do a brilliant job on, especially the clever riffing on the riff; they also with Hooker’s Dimples taken a bit slower and given a great treatment by Lee who makes it seethe. (Both were on the Mad Man Blues album from 1988 and was all covers of equal beauty.) Introducing a nifty slide guitar and horns very nearly saves the cliché that is See You Later Alligator – not essential but great fun.

My last pick is a live version of Down At The Doctors: this sums up a great band that endure through all of the line up changes and continue to deliver quality proper R’n’B.

Bluesdoodles rating: 5 Doodles Paws – a Stupendous collection of era and genre defining R’n’B by one of the best bands of recent years to embrace this high energy and passionate kind of music. (OK, if you have all of their albums it may seem excessive, but it gets 5 for the extra track too.)

50 Years of Dr Feelgood Celebrated

Track listing:
Disc 1
1. She Does It Right
2. I Don’t Mind
3. All Through The City
4. Keep It Out Of Sight
5. Roxette
6. I Can Tell
7. Sneakin Suspicion
8. Back In The Night
9. Going Back home
10. Riot In Cell Block No 9
11. She’s A Wind Up
12. That’s It. I Quit
13. Night Time
14. Milk + Alcohol
15. Put Him Out Of Your Mind
16. Shotgun Blues
17. No Mo Do Yakamo
18. Jumping From Love To Love
19. Violent Love
20. Rat Race
21. Crazy ‘Bout Girls

Disc 2
1. Dangerous
2. Mad Man Blues
3. Dimples
4. Hunting Shooting Fishing
5. See You Later Alligator
6. King For A Day
7. Baby Jane
8. Sugar Turns To Alcohol
9. Down By The Jetty Blues
10. Wolfman Callin’
11. Roadrunner
12. Down At The Doctors
13. Heart Of The City
14. Instinct To Survive
15. Going Out West
16. You Got Me
17. Who Do You Love
18. You Gotta Help Me
19. Gimme One More Shot
20. You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

(The iTunes run-on track brought me another doctor – a real one…born in Tblisi, he earned a doctorate in Biology and moved to the UK to do research courtesy of the Royal Society. Not only was he academically gifted, but along the way he learned some serious guitar skills and, covid notwithstanding, is still active around the Essex, Herts and Bucks areas. He also released a superb album in 2002 called Dr Ika’s Blues and is perhaps best summed up by the non album cut, Go My Train Go…now that is genius.

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