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by John Butterfield / England, Editor of the official
Dr Feelgood Newsletter ''FEELIN' GOOD'' (The printed one)
A is for...
Back in 1972 Dr Feelgood found themselves playing for the first time a real tour organised by Chris Fenwick who then became their manager. This Dutch experience persuaded the Feelgoods they could reach wider audiences. Many more trips to Holland followed and in particular Amsterdam. Following on from dates when they played "Boddy's" (a bar which was the Dutch equivalent of the "Hope and Anchor") to the larger venues the "Milky Way" and "Paradiso", the latter venue providing the cover photograph for the "Mad Man Blues" album. Whenever the Feelgoods toured Holland they often used to stay at the same hotel in the capital city and "commute" to the various towns/cities for the gig and then travel back for a late drink (more often than not in "Doffers Bar"). Many enjoyable nights spent in Amsterdam and Holland.
also for ALCOHOL
Something not only drunk in large quantities over the years by various Feelgoods but also providing inspiration for songs such as "Tanqueray" (the American brand name for Gordon's gin), "My sugar turns to alcohol" (the Kursaal Flyers track the Feelgoods recorded for "Primo" and played live for the first time on a German tour to promote the same album), "Sugar Shaker" (about a bar they used to frequent in Germany), "Milk & Alcohol" (the tale of a drunken night spent in the USA with Nick Lowe and a John Lee Hooker concert). Drinking establishments have also had album sleeves connections - The Canvey Club became the Alibi Club for "Sneakin Suspicion" (an album that could not have the standard group shot due to Wilko departing before the album was completed), Dr Feelgood Music Bar provided the ideal venue for the last live album "Down at the Dr's". The Grand Hotel, Leigh on Sea, was at one time a regular meeting place for Lee and Chris and provided the name for Grand Records. There are of course many more tales I could relate about alcohol and Dr Feelgood but MY DRINK awaits me!
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B is for...
- the album recorded at Trackside Studios, Southend 1986. Was going to be called "Southenders" but unusual photo of Lee with harmonica in mouth led to Stiff Records renaming it. Dr Feelgood were Lee, Gordon Russell (guitar), Phil Mitchell (bass) , Kevin Morris (drums) and assisted by guests such as Ian Gibbons (keys), Big Figure (backing vocs) and producer Will Birch. Will is a long time friend of the Feelgoods and introduced them to their London debut in 1973 at the "Tally Ho" in Kentish Town. Stiff Records saw "See you later alligator" reach number 2 in Swedish singles charts leading Sonet Records to re-release "Brilleaux" replacing "Grow too old" with "See Ya". The next Stiff album "Classic" was never released in the UK apart from a later issue on Grand Records. The first Stiff recording to feature Dr Feelgood was:
BOOGIE ON THE STREET
(BUY 5) - single released 1976 by Lew Lewis and his band. Lew (Lew Davis) (Note by Gabi: I think Lew's right forename name is Keith.) was (exharmonicist) with Eddie & The Hot Rods and in 1969 part of Southside Jug Band with Sparko, Lee and Chris White. "Boogie" was recorded in April 1976 at Feelgood Studios, Canvey Island and due to Feelgoods being contracted to United Artists Lee, Sparko and Figure joined Lew under pseudonyms Lee Green (guitar), Johnny Ocean (bass) and Sheik of Araby (guest percussionist). Flip side "Caravan Man" a joint composition by all concerned. Follow up "Out for a Lark" (also wrote by group) did not feature Figure and was released on United Artists in 1977 produced by Sparko.
When out for a lark the Feelgoods like to consume a plentitude of... BEER
- alcoholic liquor from fermented malt etc. flavoured with hops etc. Usually located in close proximity of anyone in the Feelgood entourage (past and present). Whilst some groups have a multitude of equipment, special effects etc. on stage outnumbering musicians the Feelgoods tend to be outnumbered by vessels containing different beers and at times has been known to create an obstacle course the military are envious of. This accounts for the apparent random movements across stage during guitar solos etc.
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C is for...
Sales Convention, San Diego, USA, January 1976 - venue Rivermont Hotel and the Feelgoods American debut. Following the two English album releases there were many record labels across the water trying to sign the Feelgoods but Chris Fenwick short-listed them down to two, namely Swan Song (following recommendations from Robert Plant) and CBS who won the battle and invited them to take part in the Convention. The show got off to a dodgy start when a roadie broke the neck off Lees' one pick-up Guild slide guitar but Lee calmly crossed the two songs off the set list that featured the slide and stormed into a 25 minute set built around "Malpractice" which was to be their first American release. Chris took the damaged guitar to Santa Monica Boulevard where a man named Valdez repaired it and inlayed Lee's name on the fretboard.
well known in the origins of Dr Feelgood. Much has been wrote and I'm sure there will be a lot more to tell - I'm eagerly awaiting Will Birch to write about Canvey/Southend scene but in the meantime briefly memories could include the pubs featured on album sleeves like: Lobster Smack (Down by the Jetty - view from back pub), Canvey Club (Sneakin Suspicion), The Cluedo Club a private bar in Feelgood House, 40 Long Road, which also housed the Feelgood Record Studios and HQ Feelgood House (Let it Roll), Dr Feelgood Music Bar (Down at the Dr's). The Music Bar was originally the Oyster Fleet an early venue for Lee, Sparko and Chris in the Southside Jug Band. It has since been demolished and rebuilt as the Oyster Fleet Hotel. Other venues could include Cloud Nine Disco where a regular Wednesday night spot was enjoyed in 1972 and Bardots Club the debut of Mister John Mayo in 1977. The HQ of Dr Feelgood and Grand Records is just up the road from Oyster Fleet.
- in particular one named "Dr Feelgood" which the band first tasted in 1990 following an invitation to the Beefeater Distillery in London. It was created by Pierre Duboscq and consists of Beefeater London Dry Gin and Noilly Prat Vermouth (both one tenths), Southern Comfort and Pineapple Juice (both three tenths) and remaining two tenths of Orange Juice - add a dash of lemon, strawberry cordial, raspberry cordial and shake with ice. A tasty concoction but very potent.
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D is for...
DR FEELGOOD MUSIC BAR, CANVEY ISLAND
opened in September 1993 by band Elvis DaCosta and the Imposters which featured Gypie Mayo on guitar. Many more ex-Feelgoods played there including Wilko, Sparko, Johnny Guitar, Dave Bronze. The bar promoted live music most nights and was managed by former Feelgood tour manager Dean Kennedy and wife Kim. The venue was only a short term lease and closed in July 1994. It was replaced with the Oyster Fleet Hotel and attempts to relocate the music bar in other premises failed. The highlights of the Music Bars brief existence include the 1st Lee Brilleaux Memorial Concert where ex-Feelgoods reunited to ratse money for the nursing team that enabled Lee to spend his last days at home with his family and of course the two gigs in January 94 by Dr Feelgood which were recorded and released on CD "Down At The Dr's" still available from Grand Records (see Order Shop Page).
"Bandsman" Terry Howarth drummed for 3-4 months in an early Dr Feelgood before being replaced by Big Figure (John Martin). Figure was also playing with Finians Rainbow and so the Feelgoods had a special guest Will Birch beat the skins 2 or 3 times. Will had played with Wilko in The Flowerpots (64-66) and was in 1972 along with Paul Shuttleworth promoting Sunday night live entertainment at "The Esplanade", Southend. Another venue Will played drums with the Feelgoods was "The Haystack" on Canvey Island and Will remembers Lee taking his boots off during "Blue Suede Shoes" and placing the microphone in one only to ram it into the surprised faces of the small crowd. In Oct. 1973 Will and Paul formed The Kursaal Flyers and there was plenty of work for Big Figure to concentrate only on Dr Feelgood. In April 1982 Figure joined The Lone Sharks with Sparko, Gypie and Bill Hurley (Note by Gabi: Bill is frontman of The Inmates). Buzz Burwell (ex Lew Lewis reformer Wilko & Lew Lewis Band) joined Dr Feelgood but only lasted until Dec. 1982. Will Birch and Rat Scabies (Note by Gabi: Rat is drummer of The Damned) attended one gig at The Red Lion, Brentford, and remembers Buzz fainting and falling off the stool. Rat immediately jumped up onto the stage, picked up the sticks and carried on with the set. During a disastrous tour of Dingwalls clubs in the U.K. it was decided a new drummer was needed, so along came Kevin Morris who had played in Pigboy Charlie Band (1970) with Lee and Sparko and also English Assassins with Phil Mitchell and Ian Gibbons (Note by Gabi: Ian was keyboarder of The Kinks). During Kevins lengthly spell with Dr Feelgood he's still here and is the longest serving member of Dr Feelgood - there have been two occasions to have guest drummers: The first was in May 1985 while doing a tour of Devon/Cornwall Kevin became father so Big Figure kindly stepped in or should that be sat in to allow Kevin to enjoy the early moments of fatherhood! The next occasion was in Sept.1989 for 6 dates in Sweden. Kevins wife was very ill and in hospital so Kevin contacted Colin Allan (Stone The Crows) who arranged for "The Viking" Ingmar Dunker to become a temp Feelgood. Now in 1997 Kevin Morris remains the driving force of Dr Feelgood.
In the days of yore coaches used to have regularly stopping off points to rest the horses and have a drink. Dr Feelgood proudly maintain the tradition when "on the road". Usually a convenient resting point is selected on route to the next gig where the band can partake in some liquid embellishment, on arrival at towns where Dr Feelgood are playing there can be a drinking session in a local hostelry to enable research into the natives customs. More is drunk onstage and post gig there is time to mingle and meet with fans who don't mind sharing a drink and asking a few questions. Favourite drinks range from real ales, Guiness, Wine and even a cup of tea.
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E is for...
- who invited Dr Feelgood to support him on the "New Favourites" tour in June/July 1974. Dave Edmunds had also asked Lee to play harp on the track "Need a shot of Rhythm and Blues" for the album "Subtle as a flying mallet". In October 1986 Dave produced "See you later Alligator" the single which reached Number 2 in Sweden in April 1987. Whilst in Madrid Dr Feelgood were joined onstage by Dave who expressed a desire to produce them again. This led to a reworking of "Milk & Alcohol (New Recipe)" recorded in late 1987 and released by EMI in April 1989. At the same recording sessions new versions of "Stupidity" and "Down at the Doctors" were laid down. "Down..." stuck to its original format without the...
EIGHT BARS OF PIANO
- first growled by Lee on the album "Private Practice" and was originally to feature the producer playing the ivory keys. This did not happen but Lee had already recorded the vocal track. The Feelgoods, however, did record another version due to Mickey Jupps alleged disappointment at the Feelgood variation of his song - the new "Down at the Other Doctors" appeared as the B side to "As long as the price is right". Keyboards have featured on several albums including Wilko Johnson playing piano on "That ain't the way to behave" and Bob Andrews on organ on "The more I give" both from "Down by the Jetty". Bob Andrews also contributed organ to two tracks on "Malpractice" ("Don't you just know it" and "You shouldn't call the Dr"). "Sneakin' Suspicion" saw Tim Hinckley on keyboards and he played live with Dr Feelgood on a German tour. "Let it Roll" had no less than 4 players, Pete Wingfield (piano), Roy Davies (organ), Mike Deacon (piano) and Geraint Watkins (piano). The Chiswick album "Fast women..." had Steve West (Note by Gabi: Steve also is a great harmonica player and later on played in The Brothers Grimm with Big Figurem also Steve hit the stage at several Lee Brilleaux Memorials for a jam.) take the keys for 5 tracks. A surprise appearance at the organ was Kevin Morris, minus his trusty drumsticks, on "Drivin' Wheel" (Doctor's Orders). Kevin McAlea played keys on the Stiff album "Classic". The most regular guest keyboardist is Ian Gibbons who first appeared on the "Living on the Highway" single released in 1983 but has also played on the albums "Brilleaux", "Primo", "On the Road again", and at the last Dr Feelgood gigs with Lee which were released as the "Down at the Dr's" CD. The gigs were recorded at the Dr Feelgood Music Bar where I've had a drink or two but know for sure I've never had an...
A drink consisting of hot or cold beer, cider, wine etc with eggs and usually milk stirred in. The Dr Feelgood Receipe Book suggests lots of alcohol but only a small egg. Take a little tip from Mr Johnny Green who says "Remember to remove the alcohol from the bottle and the egg from its' container (shell) before stirring".
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F is for...
- the instrumental which is usually the first encore at a Feelgood gig. The track was recorded at Monnow Studios, for the album "Feelgood Factor", following a late night/early morning drinking session, resulting in Steve humming the riff into a cassette recorder, before composing the finished article in the studio. It was written as a tribute to Freddie King, whose "Stepping Out" was the predecessor to "Footsteps". Prior to this, the Feelgoods used to play another Steve Walwyn composition, "Sneakin in the Back Door", and another Freddie King tune, "Hideaway".
- real name Chris White, but known to friends and members of the Feelgood camp as "Whitey". Led Chris Whites Jug Band in 1967-69, which included Lee & Sparko, the band were also known as Razzmattaz Washboard Band and Southside Jug Band. Became Manager of Dr. Feelgood in early 1970's, and was Lee's best friend throughout this partnership. Whitey is well respected amongst promoters, record companies and musicians, and can be relied upon to carry out deals in a "shrewd manner". Without Whitey's business acumen and background work, Dr. Feelgood would never have been as successful, and certainly would not be still performing to fans across the world today. Whitey also set up Grand Records and the Dr. Feelgood Music Bar. He now resides on the Isle of Wight, but commutes to Canvey Island each week, to keep his finger on the button. Whitey has always been a private person, but more details can be found in the official biography, "Down by the Jetty", by Tony Moon.
- A cask which stores alcohol, and a useful seat to sit on in the back of the van in the old days of gigging. The Feelgoods had to empty the contents first of course.
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G is for...
- one of the earliest TV shows Dr Feelgood appeared on. It was recorded live on 7th of February 1975 in Newcastle upon Tyne. The songs played were "She does it right", "Boom boom", "All through the city", "Roxette", "Riot in cell block #9", "I don't mind", "Route 66". It was the first time I (Note by Gabi: In this case "I" is John Butterfield.) had seen or heard Dr Feelgood and encouraged me to buy "DBTJ" the next day. From then on I was hooked. If this show had not been made there very probably would not have been this newsletter or an Information Service.
- Mick Green (not that waste of space Johnny) the guitarist with The Pirates a band that influenced Wilko in the early days and Wilko delevoped his style of playing Rhythm & lead at the same time through Mick Green. Mick and Wilko collaborated on several songs including "Going Back Home" the song that introduced Johnny Green. Oh why not, let's mention more about Johnny. A character of devious nature and questionable parentage who also featured in 3 more songs namely "Take a Tip" and "Bend your Ear" but how about "The Return of Johnny Green" a song wrote by Lee for possible release on the "Brilleaux" album. Unfortuneately it was not recorded and no trace of the lyrics/music exists. We can only guess there is some reference to Johnny Green's drink a la "Going Back Home" - old Johnny Green, he let me in, we watched his TV and drank a bottle of Gin.
- a spirit distilled from grain or malt and flavoured with juniper berries. A bottle backstage or 2 pints of Gin & Tonic. Yes folks who remember the two pint glasses carefully positioned in front of Kevin's drums which contained Lee's chosen tipple at many a gig. The glasses were full of Gin & Tonic one of his favourite drinks. At most shows a bottle could be found in the dressing room backstage and fans may recall the Dr Feelgood Cocktail featured in an early issue of "Feelin' Good" which contains generous portions of the white liquid. Even today kevin and Steve carry on the tradition by consuming large gin & tonics on and offstage at times.
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H is for...
Hope & Anchor
- a pub in London that was the heart of the pub rock scene at one time. Dr Feelgood and many others played there before breaking into bigger gigs outside the capital. It was rumoured that David Robinson taped every band that played there although I have never come across any Feelgood tapes (it would be great though if there were some somewhere and all the others acts such as Eddie & the Hot Rods, Brinsleys, Graham Parker etc). There was a recording studio in the pub and lots of information about the Hope in the book “No Sleep till Canvey” and the other pubs that made up the “pub rock” scene including the Tally Ho, The Lord Nelson and The Greyhound. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and in August 1976 Watneys Breweries gave John Eichler the landlord 5 days to find £3000. John immediately thought about putting on a series of gigs over 3 nights featuring Dr Feelgood, Nick Lowe/Sean Tylers Allstars and Graham Parker/Rumour. There was no set entrance fee… …people were free to give whatever they could. Dr Feelgood had at this far outgrown the small stage in the cellar but gave their services and performed a brilliant set of “All through the City”, “Roxette”, “Back in the night”, “20 yds”, “I don’t mind”, “Another man”, “Talk to me baby”, “Riot in cell block #9”, “Bonie Moronie/Tequila”. A very hot sweaty night indeed and it enabled the pub to stay open. It is also interesting that Wilko’s very first vinyl recording after leaving the Feelgoods was recorded live and appeared on the “Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival” LP. It was definitely a huge surprise that the very first track was the Wilko Johnson Band performing the song “Dr Feelgood”!!! The gig was recorded in Winter 1977. Some of the present members of the Feelgoods have played there too - Steve Walwyn with the DT’s, Phil Mitchell with Mickey Jupp and even Robert way back when he was fronting “The Showbiz Kids”.
- an old blues artist that a young Lee Brilleaux was very fond of. At 16yrs old, he went to see him play live when and was mesmerised by his stage presence. A live viewing of the Wolfman had a huge impact on Lee and provided a role model for him. He consequently is mentioned in two Feelgood songs and a Howlin Wolf track “Killin’ Floor” appears on the new CD “Chess Masters”. The first Feelgood song is “Living on the Highway” which tells the story of someone going to see the Wolfman live!! The second was especially written for Lee by Kevin Morris and Dave Bronze and appeared on the last live CD “Down at the Doctors”. It was “Wolfman Calllin’” and it was Kevin’s idea as he wanted to try and write a song for Lee to sing about the Wolfman. Kevin wanted to imagine what the Wolfman would sound like if he was a contemporary musician today. He pictured him as singing a Pink Floyd type song with loops etc 40 years on. The challenge was on for Kevin to provide a juxposition of blues with a complex recording process. He used 3 drum tracks (brush/drum loop/drum sticks) and sound effects. This was done in a style totally alien to the group on the “Feelgood Factor” CD. Kevin came up with the riff and went to Bronzies to ask him to help. They put down the drum loop in his house and Kevin growled some tune which Dave played guitar too. Dave then wrote the words and they searched Southend Library for a sound effects disk for the “storm” effect. The end result is “Smokestack Lightning” mixed with inspirations from Floyd’s “Money” and of course the essential ingredient known as the Feelgood Factor!!!
- an alcoholic beverage originating in the USA usually consisting of a spirit and soda water served in a tall glass with lots of ice. Sounds like a nice drink but even better it sounds like there’s a song waiting to be wrote called “Highball”. It could even be an instrumental so come on Steve Walwyn let’s hear it!
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I is for...
I CAN TELL
wrote by Bo Diddley but the Feelgoods stick close to the Pirates version from the 1960's It appeared on the Malpractice album in 1975 and has appeared one and off in the Feelgoods set ever since (probably one of the few non original songs that has been played by all line ups of Dr Feelgood). It is a great opening song but has been known to appear at the end or as an encore. The Feelgoods have covered other Bo Diddley songs including "Hey Mama" and the first live track released by Dr Feelgood "I'm a Man" which appeared as a b side to the single "Back in the night". In the 1980's whilst on a night off in Amsterdam, the band met up in the usual haunt Doffers Bar before we went our separate ways to meet up again later - Phil went to a football match, Gordon went to see John Mayall with Kevin at the Paradiso who later joined Lee and myself at the Milky Weg where we enjoyed watching Bo Diddley. Afterwards Lee and I went back stage to meet the man himself and I can still picture Lee shaking his hand and calling him "Mr Diddley" asking him for his autograph. Mr Diddley was indeed someone Lee respected.
I CAN'T HOLD OUT
a song by Elmore James another bluesman that Lee respected and the Feelgoods have covered other of his songs such as "Dust my broom" and "Talk to me baby" ."I can't hold out" often appears in the current Feelgood line up but a song called "It hurts me too" which was rehearsed at the same time as "I can't hold out" is rarely heard. I first heard the Feelgood version at the rehearsals at Mushroom studios the day before we headed off to France for Robert's debut gig. It was omitted from the set due to other songs taking preference but it was tried again for the Chess CD but the recording never made the final cut however every so often the Feelgoods slot it into the set.
One song that has perhaps (no definitely) become Steve Walwyn's penned anthem which does appear in most Feelgood gigs is…
INSTINCT TO SURVIVE which was actually written in September 1993 just a little bit before the Feelgoods went off the road to allow Lee to undergo his treatment for the Lymphoma. Steve recalls thinking "What are we gonna do now?" and his own personal answer was "Carry on with your life and get on with it" He joined Eddie and the Hot Rods then worked with Roger Chapman followed by a spell with the Big Town Playboys. After penning this anthem and on the call up to return to the surgery they recorded it and Pete Gage implied it was about Dr Feelgood but in actual fact it was more for Steve as in his words when Lee became so ill "Something changed" for Steve.
absolutely essential when drinking spirits. Backstage at most gigs the band are hospitably treated to some drinks as part of their contract with the venue. The "rider" part of the contract states preferred drinks etc and there is always a request for ice which was an essential part of Lee's onstage drinking - anyone remember the two pints of gin and tonic with ice Lee used to consume onstage. The ice was vital to keep the liquid as cool as possible as Lee sweated with the frenzied Feelgood sound under blazing spotlights. One may recall reading an incident when Lee walked into a bar, ordered a drink only to be told no ice. Lee answered this by leaving the establishment only to return with a bag of ice he had purchased from nearby supermarket.
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J is for...
...JUPP - no Feelgood biography could be complete without mentioning the white Chuck Berry Mickey Jupp a Southend legend in his own right. Little is wrote about him elsewhere so here is my small attempt to address the balance. The old Rock 'n Roller Mickey was born in 1940 in Essex beginning his recording career with the Southend beat group The Orioles. At the end of the 60's he was fronting Legend, an act bedevilled by instability, but which anticipated the pub rock style of Dr Feelgood and Ducks Deluxe. Feelgood have recorded several Jupp songs "Cheque Book", "Down at the Drs" and "Standing at the Crossroads Again". Legend had many incarnations but the 1972 line up included a young Phil Mitchell who also walked into the 1975 Mickey Jupp Band one with Bob Clouter (drums) and Pete Zear (gtr) and 7 others! In 1979 Dave Bronze could be found on bass. Mickey's most consistent drummer was Bob Clouter but the Big Figure found himself at the drum stool in 1999 on the record "As the Yeah's go by". Other people who have recorded Juppy's songs include Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and our furry loveable rodent friends the Hamsters. There could be a whole book just devoted to the songs of Mickey Jupp and all the artistes who have covered them. There can be no coincidence that Mike Vernon who has produced a few Feelgood albums "Doctor's Orders" & "Let it Roll" also produced two Chris Farlowe albums "Out of the Blue" (1985) and "Born Again" (1986) and these two albums featured Juppy and the Big Figure. In fact "Out of the Blue" featured even more people with Feelgood connections namely Mo Witham (gtr) who was asked to replace Wilko when Wilko left Dr Feelgood, Big George Webley (bass), Tim Hinckley who played on "Sneakin Suspicion" and live on the Feelgood tour in Germany in 1977. Tim Hinckley also played the keys on the David Coverdale album "Northwinds" in 1978 along with a guest harmonicist by the name of Lee Brilleaux. Mike had previously produced the album "Some people can't dance". Mickey still plays occasionally (not as often as we would like him too though) and enlists his old friends to accompany him and he sure has a lot to choose from including Mo Witham, Robin Trower et al. He almost made it to pop stardom when he became one of the first acts to join Stiff Records with members of Rockpile backing him on "Juppanese" and one person who knew him in those days was…
…Jake Riviera - who used to be known as Andrew "Jake" Jakeman and despite being a very private person is mentioned quite a lot in Will Birch's "No Sleep Till Canvey" as he tells how "Jake" met Dr Feelgood during his management time with Chilli Willi. He jumped ship and became the Feelgood's tour manager but then was sacked on an American tour but re-entered the picture several times since then (read more in the book!). He formed Stiff Records which was helped by a loan by Lee Brilleaux before leaving to form Radar Records taking Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe with him. Nick Lowe has many connections with Feelgood from accompanying the Feelgoods on their first USA tour under the name of "Dale Liberator, Equipment Handler" to producing "Be Seeing You", "A Case of the Shakes", writing many songs including "Milk & Alcohol". At some point "Jake" changed his name to Jake Riviera and also helped out with the release of "Doctors Orders" on his own label Demon Records. When Lee died in 1994 Chris Fenwick took some time away from music and Canvey Island but Jake was one of the people who never forgot Chris and invited him to join a Nick Lowe UK tour under the handle of "Tour Merchandiser" - (Chris never changed his name to Dale though!). It is fair to say that this helped Chris get back into the touring scene. No doubt on this tour, given Nick Lowe's legendary ability of being able to consume vast quantities of alcohol, there was liquid refreshment courtesy of…
….Juniper Berries from the Juniper tree which when distilled become the clearly potent clear liquid know as Gin. This nectar from the Juniper Berry has fuelled many a concert with Lee being known to even outdo Nick Lowe in his gin consumption.
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K is for...
Whilst in the USA in the 70's the Feelgoods took to drinking a cocktail made up of milk and alcohol. A certain Nick Lowe was also present having gone along for the ride. No need to say where the milk came from but the alcohol part of the cocktail was kahlua - Mexican coffee liquor with herbs and vanilla around 26% alcohol. Sparko drank the most of this concoction during the American stay but one night the lads took a trip to see John Lee Hooker in concert and having drunk many a milk and kahlua, their journey back was interrupted when the arm of the law stopped them. This story is told in the song ''Milk and Alcohol'' written by Nick Lowe and Gypie Mayo several years later and of course Gypie was not actually present on the transatlantic foray but suppose you don't need to be to write the tune. Legend has it that Nick Lowe wrote the lyrics on a cigarette packet taking only minutes to write this classic (no wonder Nick wasn't involved in any Pink Floyd concept albums). It was released as a single and reached number 9 in February 1979 with the picture sleeves featuring guess what? A bottle of Kahlua. The bottle also appears on the ''Let it roll'' sleeve. We all know the song wouldn't quite sound right ''they got him on milk and kahlua'' - or there again would it??? Anyone who fancies trying out this liquor can call down the supermarket or make it yourself with a recipe on www.webtender.com where the ingredients consist of coffee, sugar and vodka!!
One person partial to a black coffee or two but never actually tasted Kahlua is our Kharismatic singer Mr Robert Kane. Everyone knows he is born and bred in the North east on the banks of the river Wear but who knows about his habit of metamorphosing when he has had cause to change groups in his career? It all began when he applied to join Equity in his early days of pursuing an acting career. One rule of Equity that there can be no two members with the same name so a stage name had to be used. He was known as Robert Kent when he was in the Showbiz Kids but didn't like this name after a few months so gave it to a grateful band member and adopted Robert Coyle from a film ''The Friends of Eddie Coyle''. The Showbiz Kids were from 1976 to 1981. In 1983 he took on another surname from a film when he joined Well Well Well. It was Bob Ford who as history tells us shot Jesse James. In 1989 Robert joined the Alligators (who of course took their name from listening to Dr Feelgood's version of ''See you later Allligator'') and Sheriff Kane from the film ''High Noon'' gave Robert the new name of Robert Kane which he kept as the Alligators turned into Animals II in 1994. In 1999 he joined Dr Feelgood and once again wanted to change his name but it was felt that he had built up a really good reputation with the Animals and a change of name could confuse some people. He did however consider new names and the closest he came was during a tour of Norway when he and Phil saw a bloke with a bicycle in Oslo. They both commented he looked like Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) or Fidel Castro. Robert came up with Billy Castro as a possible new stage name. He thought about it for a while but as time went on he settled into Dr Feelgood as Robert Kane. The Robert is his genuine Christian name and he was called it after his father so a change to Billy would have gone against the grain in some ways. In 1978 there was a TV series called ''Revolver'' running from July to September and hosted by Peter Cook. Robert was in the Showbiz Kids and his debut TV appearance was on this very show. There are several coincidences with this appearance. Firstly, it was produced by Mickie Most who also discovered The Animals in the 1960's (well before Robert's liaison with Hilton Valentine and John Steel). Who else was connected to the show? The show featured mainly punk bands such as Gen X, Eddie and The Hot Rods (heard that name before) but in one episode a certain Eddie Kidd (the motor cyclist stunt guy) was promoting his single. Which two famous people were in Eddie's backing band? None other than a Phil Mitchell and Kevin Morris. So Robert's first TV appearance was shared with Kevin and Phil on the same show. Little did they know then, they would be teaming up again in Dr Feelgood. Glad they did!
...The Kursaal is the venue which used to be THE place for live gigs in Southend. It has been the setting of some great shows including one which was recorded and appeared on the ''Stupidity'' album which every Feelgood fan know managed to reach the dizzy heights of Number One in the UK charts. We all know the Feelgoods came from the Canvey/Southend area but so did a group who paid tribute to the Kursaal by calling themselves the Kursaal Flyers. They reformed for the last Naughty Rhythms tour without their original drummer Will Birch who has wrote songs for the Feelgoods, articles, books and even worked at Grand Records when Grand first appeared and Will had his own record label ''On the Beach'' which released among many CDs by the Canvey Island All Stars and Mickey Jupp.
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L is for...
Taken from Feelin' Good Newsletter No.37 / October 2004
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M is for...
A song recorded for the ''Fast Women, Slow Horses'' album wrote by members of Squeeze. We all remember Jools Holland guesting with the Feelgoods on the Oil City Sheiks single ''Don't Take but a Few Minutes''. Monkey Records was also the name given to an offspring of Grand Records. Grand Records was named after Lee's local hostelry the Grand Hotel in Leigh on Sea and also is slang for £1000. Monkey was chosen due to it being slang for £500. Where the slang terminology originated is not conclusive but one train of thought is that it came from soldiers returning from India where the 500 Rupee note had a picture of a monkey on it so they used the term for 500 Rupees and converted it to sterling once back home. Another animal to share its name with money is pony meaning £25 and it is said that a 25 Rupee note had a picture of a pony on it. Monkey Records was originally for music recorded by Feelgoods (outside of Dr Feelgood) in the case of Gordon Russell and then the present frontman Pete Gage. Grand Records was purely for current and back issue Dr Feelgood stuff. The CD Gordon recorded was Two Timer's debut CD whereas Pete Gage released a solo CD which came about following a solo tour in Finland and gave Pete an outlet for his keyboard skills and songs that didn't suit the Feelgood sound. Maybe we will see a CD of Robert Kane's solo work! Mr Kane has a vast selection of unrecorded songs he has penned in different styles over the years and this array includes a Xmas song which would feature bells and a gospel choir!! If he does record any solo work will he include in his backing band a certain rhythm section made up of
...Morris and Mitchell (the two members of Dr Feelgood who still live in Essex). Martin (Big Figure), Mayo and McMullen are also ex members who start their surname with the letter M. We also have had some temporary guitarists with Henry McCullough (ex Wings) and the legendary Barry ''Slim'' Martin better known for his nocturnal activities with The Hamsters (without the ''p'' Barry). Much has been wrote about the first 4 so let's concentrate on Mr Pat McMullen who joined the Count Bishops after Steve Lewins left to join Wilko Johnson's Solid Senders. Also in the Bishops was a certain Johnny Guitar who oddly enough became a Feelgood after Gypie Mayo left. Pat or Paddy was born on 20th September 1952 in Belfast and played in a bands called Doll's House for 3 years before leaving Ireland in 1972. After 2 years with Stoner he toured with Screamin' Lord Sutch and recorded ''Jack the Ripper''. When Sparko decided to call it a day with Dr Feelgood Paddy's old mate Johnny Guitar arranged for him to join Feelgood. The Bishops, despite being part of the British pub rock, R&B, punk (whatever) scene, were made up of a Pole Zenon De Fleur, 1 American Johnny Guitar, 2 Australians Dave Tice and Paul Bilbi (who actually was born in Malta) and from Ireland Paddy McMullen. Whilst in the Feelgoods Paddy and Johnny suggested ''Beautiful Delilah'' which was recorded by both the Bishops and Feelgood. Zenon died following a car crash and the band continued as a four piece. On September 23rd 2005 the Count Bishops reformed for a special gig as Chiswick Records 30th Birthday. The line up was as above (without Zenon) and the set list appeared in the last issue. Support was our friends Eddie and The Hot Rods. The Bishops had as their producer a certain Vic………..
- who produced the very first Feelgood single "Roxette" and of course the debut album ''Down by the Jetty''. He also continued to work with the Feelgoods on "Fast women, Slow Horses (which appeared on Chiswick and contained Johnny Guitar!), ''Let it Roll'' and ''Malpractice''. Lee held Vic in high esteem and asked me (in the days before ''fg'' was ''feelin' good'' but a mere 2 or 3 A4 page newsheet) to print a tribute to Vic that Lee himself penned when Vic died in 1988. Vic also produced for the Inmates. Don't know is Vic enjoyed a pint of cider or whether he ever visited the……..
- one of the few remaining Cider houses with it's name taken from a story that tells of a drunken customer who fell into some bushes and swore he was attacked by monkeys. If you ever see the Blairs from Hartlepool they tell a good story about monkeys too! Lee would have loved this house in Defford, Worcestershire (not for the cider as he was a real ale drinker but the fact that it is very traditional with cider being tapped by barrels and served in pottery mugs. The pub doesn't even look like a pub from the outside as it is at the end of a row of cottages but the ''Licensed to sell cider and tobacco'' sign above the door reveals its' true identity.
to be continued...
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