Sunday, January 05, 2014

Dr. Feelgood - Stupidity

This was Dr. Feelgood's third LP, first live record and first and only album to reach number 1 in the UK charts. Recorded in 1975 and released in '76, this showed their power and popularity in the pre-punk days that were normally dominated by wimpy drek.

Feelgood was influenced by early r'n'r, blues and r'n'b and produced a stripped-down sound reminiscent of older groups like the Pirates (who were also still gigging at this time, minus the late Johnny Kidd). Led by the legendary Wilko Johnson, the band also included Lee Brilleaux on lead vocals, harp and slide guitar, John B. Sparks on bass and The Big Figure (yes, that's the name he went by) on drums.

Their set here opened with Chuck Berry's "Talkin' 'Bout You" and included covers by Solomon Burke (the title track), Rufus Thomas ("Walking the Dog"), Bo Diddley ("I'm a Man" - and they use his beat on some of their own work, as well), Leiber/Stoller ("I'm a Hog For You Baby"), and Sonny Boy Williamson ("Checking Up on My Baby"). Their own numbers have a similar feel to these and would certainly fit in with any of these cats' showcases or with 60's Brit r'n'b combos like the Pretty Things.

Formed in 1971, Dr. Feelgood was part of the British "pub rock" scene that influenced early punk rock and definitely was the predecessors of 80's groups like the Crawdaddies and Tell Tale Hearts, as much of the 60's groups that they emulated. Fans of those bands as well as the 60's British r'n'b should certainly check out these gents and, unlike many live albums, this would be a great place to start!