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Snippets of FEELIN' GOOD Issue 19/April 2000
Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield.
Firstly huge apologies for the delay in the last issue. I was going to blame it on the Millenium bug but as it never really happened I'll just blame it on too much drink over Xmas and New Year! Many thanks for the many letters from fans saying that Robert is the bloke to take the Feelgoods into the 21st century. It is important to know what everyone thinks when changes are made.
For the past 25+ years I have always looked forward to the next Dr Feelgood album, eagerly waiting to hear it, longing to spend many, many hours listening and learning every song word for word. It is even more exciting when the new recording features a change of line up. Loads of questions like "what will it sound like?", "how different will it be?" etc. It therefore gives me great pleasure to introduce the BRAND NEW CD "CHESS MASTERS". To say this one has the makings of a classic is an understatement, as it is sure to be well liked by existing fans and breaks new ground by returning to basic R & B even better than "Mad Man Blues". This will surely please the fans who have said that they would like to hear more bluesy stuff from the Feelgoods.
The CD is Dr Feelgood's interpretation of the Chess catalogue featuring some well known songs but stripped to the bone and reconstructed with the Feelgood Factor. The tracks were recorded at Mushroom Studios, Hullbridge, Essex with the help of Dave Bronze and many boxes of wine!! The original idea was suggested by old friend Will Birch and was recorded live in the studio with only the very minimum of overdubs. The result as Kevin says in the sleeve notes "both amused and excited us". The band wanted to play as close as possible to live so again only selected guests were invited. These guests were Dave Bronze (six string bass, percussion) who also co produced and mixed the CD, Roger Cotton (Hammond organ) fresh from Peter Green's Splinter, Ian Gibbons (Wensleydale organ, piano) and an unusual choice of Rick Wakeman who volunteered to add piano during a telephone call with Kevin. There was a Horn section too made up of Frank Mead, Nick Payne, Darren Lloyd who are part of Big Town Playboys (external link to BTPs website) /Bill Wymans Rythym Kings. The band photograph on the inner sleeve was by Chris Holleron was the drummer in Phil Mitchells first band! There is 48 minutes of great music over 14 tracks and where better to begin than with the first track.
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Nadine the Chuck Berry song, from the opening guitar riff could be a Wilko Johnson song until Robert sings the tale of another female who makes men feelgood, and even has a strange name just like Roxette and if you listen closely near the end it sounds a bit like the Roxette bass line.
Date Bait at just over 3 minutes, once more back to a familiar topic "women" and the virtues of his girl who has "eyes like diamonds and teeth like pearls". Great use of the horn section and I challenge anyone not to sing along to the chorus at the end. It really is so catchy that even Johnny Green sang along and we know he is unaccustomed to giving anything away for nothing. Mind you he didn't give me the heebeegeebees when I heard his voice.
Help Me the longest track at just under 5 minutes is one of my favourites, a song with a definite 1960's feel sounding very much like an Animals song! Some great singing by Robert with some excellent haunting guitar from the "Whirlwind" accompanied by organ. Yet again following the common theme of singing to a person of the female species warning her that "If you don't help me, I'm gonna have to find someone else". A worthy version of a Sonny Boy Williamson classic.
Talking 'Bout You another Chuck Berry song but no newcomer to the Feelgoods having appeared on the live "Stupidity" album in the 70's. This however still has the raw sound of live in the studio but demonstrates its superiority thanks to the production of Dave Bronze.
The Walk previously recorded by The Inmates but this is so different. The Wilko influences are still there with what I call the "choppy" guitar chords to open the track. The first reference to Suzi Q is mentioned which has upset my old mate Johnny.
29 Ways another of my favourites, Dr Feelgood recording a Willie Dixon story about the 29 ways to make it the good ladies door. Ways you might want to check out include "hole in the wall", "down the chimney like Santa Claus", "crawl through the window (?Wilko)", "hole in the bedroom floor" and even an "hidden door behind the grandfathers clock"!
Who Do You Love? Once this track starts with the drum beat a la "Case of the Shakes", you would get no points for guessing it is a Bo Diddley song which could easily have come from an earlier album. Listen for some great slide guitar from Steve Walwyn.
If Walls Could Talk another fave of mine. Sounds like Dr Feelgood with The Rumour and Rolling Stones. Another song that warns the girl that even though she may be "taking a ride with some other guy" while the man is away it's a good job that walls, doors, cars and shoes can't talk or she'd be found out which friend she was visiting. Great harmonica solo in this one.
Send For The Doctor a real bluesy feel with a lovely bass, snare drums, guitar licks, harmonica and a tale that the National Health Service should listen to. What woman couldn't resist a man who sings "my kinda cure gonna drive you insane" and "Dr Feelgoods just the man for you".
Killing Floor a Howling Wolf tune put to good use thanks to the horn section and even a saxophone solo.
Suzi Q even Johnny Green didn't have a song named after him and mentioned twice on the same album. A really hard one to review as I've spent ages trying to put a way to describe the way Robert sings this one but have failed so far so you'd better listen to it yourself. All I can say is he shows what a great singer he is and accompanied by the minimum of instruments namely acoustic guitar and a little percussion.
Don't Start Me Talking another Sonny Boy Williamson tune and once more covered by an earlier Feelgood.
One More Shot the penultimate song and how many times have you asked for just one more drink from the bartender before you go. Yes another "alcohol" song with the "One more Shot" being whiskey or gin. Bet he's on his way to see a women as well! This track storms along like an Eddie & the Hot Rods (external link to Hot Rods website) tune.
Hoochie Coochie Man: new drum intro to this classic, but as soon as the vocals start, you know its Hoochie Coochie Man, and everyone will know he's here. Some stylish guitar, you can imagine Kevin giving those skins some stick live on this one.
The UK version of "Chess Masters" will be released on May 15th on EMI Records (Cat no 5258442) and can be purchased from record shops or Grand Records. Outside the UK it will be on the Grand label (Grand 23) but this version cannot be bought from Grand by UK fans! It will be the usual price of £13.50 (Note by Gabi: Please check out the Grand Records Order Shop page for possible price changes).
Wilko Johnson and Will Birch will be appearing on the Nicky Campbell BBC5 Live Radio Show on Thursday 11th April between 11 and 12 am to talk about the new book "No Sleep till Canvey Island". Will Birch will also be making a special appearance at Borders Bookshop in London on Wednesday 3rd May. Dr Feelgood will also be there to perform an acoustic set.
Can I ask fans to send in their comments/mini reviews of CD, either whole album or individual fave tracks/a couple of sentences please or a full review if you want to!! (Note by Gabi: Let me take the chance to ask you for support in this way too. Send in reviews, critics etc via E-mail please.)
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Memorial this year (more about that later) and late news just in is that Two Timers (external link to Two Timers website) will be playing again. Went to see them at Keighley the other night and thoroughly enjoyed them. They really are a great act and it's a great shame that they don't play many gigs in the UK. The Keighley gig was promoted by Dr Feelgood fan Chris Bray so thank you to him for helping out with Two Timers, perhaps anymore fans out there can help by recommending them to local promoters. Look up the website for details of how to contact Two Timers or send details to myself. Until next time, enjoy the new CD and Keep on Feelin' Good.
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Mad Men Blues
Mad Men Blues were formed in 1983 and since then have helped Italy receive a dose of Feelgood R & B and other related pub rock outfits. The lead singer is "Pit Ryan" but I know him better as Roberto Pettarini a long standing member of the Information Service. I would love to see these live as their attitude towards the familiar tracks sounds so manic and crazy which must be a delight to witness with eyes as well as ears! All I can go on is the copy of their Cassette "Hong Kong Money" recorded in 1998. Roberto did send me a very detailed biog with reviews etc but it is in Italian. I did pick out some words/phrases such as Rumour, NBZ, Captain Beefheart, Punk Blues. There was an English review which made comments such as "Vocals on 'Home in my hand' sound very much to me like Captain Beefheart… on the other tracks the eccentric vocals have a touch of early Graham Parker mixed with a hint of middle period Lee Brilleaux and even a suggestion of Ian Dury."
The cassette has 11 tracks totalling 40 minutes. They are:
01) Buddy Buddy Friends
02) Crackin up (the Nick Lowe classic)
03) Something you got (a track the Feelgoods used as B side to several singles)
04) Sugar turns to Alcohol
05) Home in my hand ( a self composed song)
06) Dr Dupree (the first Wilko single after he exited Dr Feelgood)
07) Hong Kong Money (the title? track from "Let it Roll")
08) Can you please crawl out your window
09) Take a Tip (a Johnny Green favourite)
10) Brand New Me (a Brinsley Schwarz tune)
11) I want to the loved (Willie Dixon)
It is available from Roberta Pettarini, Via Gramsci 3, 33040 - Corno di Rosazzo (Udine), Italy for £5 incl P&P. Enjoy another band who helps keep the Feelgood ethos going.
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LEE BRILLEAUX MEMORIAL
One of the original aims of the Dr Feelgood Music Bar was to promote live music on Canvey Island. This was achieved with "name" bands but also helped lesser known local bands play to a wider audience. The format of this years Memorial will take this into account and a local band has been invited to open the show at 7pm. There will still be the surprise of who else may turn up as nothing is 100% until the evening itself - all I can do here is report on the planned schedule!!
It always sells out so please make sure of getting a ticket by contacting Grand Records as soon as possible. Cheques need to be made payable to "Fairhavens SCENT" as all money goes to the specialist care team that supported Lee and Shirley in Lee's final days. Apart from the good music it is also an opportunity to meet fans from all over the world and musicians in an informal setting. Despite the title it is very much a celebration of Lee's life just as he would have wanted it to be. People jollying up with other people who share the love of R&B.
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"IT WAS A SEXY AND FANTASTIC TIME" NICK LOWE
There is only one person that I consider capable of writing the definitive history of the pub rock music scene. No prizes for guessing who this person could be, there is no doubt that the professor of Thames Delta R&B has to be Mr Will Birch. I am therefore very pleased to announce that he has done just that and managed to semble all his thoughts past and present into an order that is ideal reading day or night. The title of this tome is "No Sleep till Canvey" and examines the seven year period in British music. Expect tales and stories about such notaries as Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Eddie and the Hot Rods and some band called Dr Feelgood! The book is published by Virgin and will be released in April. Get yours from Grand Records at the special price of £ 15.49 (inc. UK P&P), £ 16.49 (inc. Europe P&P), or £ 17.49 (inc. rest of the world P&P). (Note by Gabi:Please always check Grand Records Order Shop page for actual prices as the here shown prices were valid in April 2000).
More information can be obtained from www.dbd.co.uk/willbirch or www.virgin-books.com.
It began with an outrageous press trip to New York to launch unknown rock band Brinsley Schwarz which went disastrously wrong, and it went on to launch the careers of Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer. The pub rock scene of the early 70s was one of the most eventful and hysterical in British music history. Pub rock was truly a revolution, yet one whose story has never been fully documented until now. Guided by maverick operators like Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson, founders of the legendary label Stiff Records, this beery, bluesy scene gave rise to such electrifying acts as Kilburn And The High Roads, Eddie And The Hot Rods, Graham Parker And The Rumour, Dr Feelgood and Elvis Costello And The Attractions - and led directly and organically to the cultural explosion that was punk. Meticulously researched by the author (himself a veteran of the pub rock era with the Kursaal Flyers) and featuring a wealth of anecdotes from Costello, Dury, Lowe and all of the defiantly anti-showbiz scene's major names, NO SLEEP TILL CANVEY ISLAND is the long awaited, definitive account of a crucial seven-year period in British rock history. Virgin Books www.virgin-books.com/ £12.99 ISBN 0-7535-0411-1
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David Bootham (Aldershot) wrote, "I've just read a Led Zeppelin biography, and in one chapter it said that Robert Plant whilst on holiday in Ibiza in the late 70's sang with a band called Dr. Feelgood".
Well I asked Whitey who confirmed this did actually happen in the Gypie days when Dr. Feelgood were playing 5 nights at the same club, and Robert was in the audience, and asked if he could get up with them. He only sang one song but no one can remember what it was. On the 1999 tour the guy doing the sound for the Feelgoods at the Robin Hood 2 said that he was now working with Robert, and would ask him, but no news yet.
Martin Feltham (Southsea), writes to inform me of a new book "The Rock Obituary Book", which apparently makes a few mistakes about Lee. It was said that Lee was born in 1948, his real name Lee Green, Brilleaux was a solo album and he died of throat cancer. Just goes to show, you can't believe everything you read!!
John Jobson (Preston) wrote, "Went to the Memorial show and visited many sites associated with the Feelgoods, but could not find "The Proceeds" which was named in the Tony Moon book as Lee's home".
Many fans that attend the Memorial for the first time want to see important locations to do with the Feelgoods, which is why Whitey & I set up a coach trip a few years ago to tour the Island, stopping off at Grand Records, Admiral Jellicoe, the "Alibi Club", the Jetty etc. We did not have time to go off Canvey, so places like the Grand, Kursaal, Proceeds etc were omitted. I will be present at this years memorial and if anyone wants to ask about such places I will be happy to oblige if I can. Gabi did an excellent guide on the web site, perhaps l'll print it off and sell it for a pint or two! (Note by Gabi: Sell it for 2 pints, John, and then let's trow a party!) By the way "The Proceeds" is at 27 Hillside Crescent, Leigh-on-Sea, but please respect the new owners privacy if you do decide to drive past!!
PARTS OF THIS ISSUE
Bilston, Robin Hood R&B Club 2, UK - Dec. 11, 2000 to Newsletters: New Gigs section
Go to Newsletter Issue 20/July 2000
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