Issue No. 1
Feelgood's own record label, Grand Records, in addition to releasing the new album, have re-issued a large chunk of the group's back catalogue. Down By The Jetty, Malpractice, Private Practice, Let It Roll, A Case Of The Shakes, Fast Women And Slow Horses, Doctors Orders, Mad Man Blues, Brilleaux, Classic and Live In London are all available on CD for the first time in, I believe, their original packaging.
Grand have also issued "Stupidity +", a live history of the band, including the whole of Stupidity, plus bonus tracks, and a selection of tracks from other live lp's. All in all 24 tracks on double album, single CD and single cassette; seems like a gem to me. A review will be included in the next issue of HORSEPLAY! Meanwhile, Monsieur Brilleaux makes an appearance on the Canvey Allstars debut album "Escape From Oil City" playing slide geeetarr on "Rush The Devil" and contributing backing vocals on "Werewolves Of London", the old Warren Zevon number. (What with the REM connection in the Hindu Love Gods, it's nice to see Mr. Zevon attaining both a new audience and some critical acclaim. If you can find a copy, check out "Excitable Boy" issued on Asylum in 1978). On the Feelgood "Old Boys" front, Wilko is playing to packed-out (sort of) crowds, most recently at The Powerhouse, Islington, The Mean Fiddler, Harlesden and the George Robey in Finsbury Park (surely the biggest flea-pit in London).
Phil Mitchell, who was with Feelgood for a decade or so, has formed a new band with Larry Wallis. Completing the trio is Chris North on drums. The Redbirds, for that is their name, recently played the Royal Standard, Walthamstow and are now recording material for their debut album, set for release later in the year. The partnership of Mitchell and Wallis is long-standing, Wallis having written "As Long As The Price Is Right" and a couple of tracks on the "Doctors Orders" album. Larry Wallis deserves an issue of HORSEPLAY! to himself, and we shall be taking a detailed look at his vinyl output as soon as possible (Contributions to a discography most welcome).
A complete discography
of Dr. Feelgood will, hopefully, appear in HORSEPLAY! No. 2. Can anyone
help in checking that it is absolutely complete?
Dr. Feelgood "Primo"
Grand 12 : LP/CASS/CD
Recorded in London earlier this year and produced by Will Birch, it features covers of material penned by Mickey Jupp, Nick Lowe, Canned Heat, J.J. Cale and, flavour of the year, The Doors. Lowe's "Heart Of The City" opens the album. Always a classic, Feelgood newboy Dave Bronze is given an instant chance to showcase his bass-playing and grabs it. Chunka-chunka-chunka he goes and the band shine. They sound relaxed, but not laid-back. Tensions a little less this time round, Lee? Graeme Douglas and Will Birch were amongst the finest songwriters of the mid-to-late 70's, although how they survived the endless comparisons to 10cc, I don't know. "My Sugar Turns To Alcohol" is one of their too-bloody clever by half songs but Feelgood add another dimension. Brilleaux sounds manic, menacing even and you stop listening for lyrical twists and hear it as a great rock'n'roll song.
Brilleaux really gets into overdrive on "No Time". G.L.R. used to play Cale's original four times a day last year and what a pleasant little ditty it sounded then. This could be from the soundtrack to "The Shining". The Canned Heat cover "World In A Jug" is functional and then we get the highlights; "If My Baby Quits Me" is glorious, whirling guitars sliding around and the drums seeming higher up in the mix than elsewhere. Great guitar solo and organ.
Flip the lp over and you're down at One Eyed Jack's in a David Lynch movie - the instrumental "Primo Blues" is lush and will surprise a few. Next up is the Mickey Jupp number "Standing At The Crossroads Again", from Jupp's own new lp "As The Yeahs Go By" (to be reviewed next issue). This is the most commercial song on the Album - let's hope it's the single as it'll get airplay. On the midst of Door-mania, it's inevitable that cover versions will be rather common. The Doors have always been a source for R'n'B bands and Feelgood have chosen well in "Been Down So Long". Lyrically, one of Morrison's weaker songs from "L.A. Woman", they play it hard and fast with another great guitar solo.
"Don't Worry Baby"
is best forgotten, being aural polyfilla, or something. "Down By The Jetty
Blues" is super stuff, keeping die-hards happy and the final number "Two
Times Nine" is a stonker, reminiscent to these ears of Feelgood circa 1976.
You know what to expect - and get it; lots of harp, guitar solos that chunk
but don't quite go on long enough, a really tight rythm section etc. Feelgood
have re-issued most of their back-catalogue on CD through their own "Grand"
label. Instead of spending £ 11.90 on the CD "Down By The Jetty",
buy "Primo" instead and you'll have enough money to pay for a subscribtion
to HORSEPLAY! You won't be disappointed (in either)! All in all, a very
good record indeed.
Feelgood At G.L.R. - Special Report
The first number Feelgood played was a stonking version of "If My Baby Quits Me", with a great echoey harp solo. The sound was very, very high quality - god knows what gear they've got at G.L.R. Skinner stated afterwards "Believe it or not, that is a live performance" and went on to ask about live performances. Brilleaux confirmed that Feelgood were to play the T&C on the 29th and 30th November, in a tour of 40-odd dates in November/December. He added "The only decent place in our home town of Southend has been closed down, so that's that".
After some awful banter from Skinner, they went into "Down By The Jetty Blues", introducing it as an anthem to their original home town of Canvey. The take was simply stunning, with the band playing superbly well and Brilleaux achieving a wonderful vocal effect that made him sound like he was singing in a phone-box underwater. Skinner says afterwards "The theory is that was the original 1922 BBC microphone in use there". The interview went as follows:
LB: "Can I buy if
off you? It sounds great."
Brilleaux then introduces
"Heart Of The City" as "an old favourite of mine. An old pub-rock
song. Will suggested that we did it for the album". It sounded as good
as the others. The session bodes very well for the tour. We'll announce
the full dates as soon as we can find out. In the meantime, if anyone
wants a copy of the session, send a blank tape and a cheque for £1,
payable to "Children in Need".
Issue No. 2
HOW THE '89 TOUR HAD BEEN GOING: "Very well. Good business. ... we pulled in 500 people in Plymouth which really pleased me."
WETHER HE FINDS IT SURPRISING THAT FEELGOOD HAVE STILL GOT SUCH A STRONG FOLLOWING: "Frankly I'm surprised it's as big as it is nationwide and it also surprises me that it cuts across all sorts of barriers - I dare say a sociologist could have a field day with it! Punks, r'n'b fans. ... all social classes - working class, toffs, range rover birds, they're all there."
ON HOW IT ALL STARTED: "We actually started out in the early '70's as Dr. Feelgood, playing gigs in the Southend area. Heinz (of Tornado's fame) was also living in the area at that time doing one or two gigs a week, and due to the rock'n'roll revival that occured round about that time was looking for bands to back him up, and we were just one of many he used ... we were a little more purist than the Teds who used to come and see him ... a very useful experience."
ON HOW FEELGOOD DEVELOPED, POST-HEINZ: "Will Birch, another native of Southend, who was very keen on reading about the next big thing in the music business, saw us in a little Southend club we used to play every Sunday night and said to us "You guys should get up to London. There's a scene up there called the pup-rock circuit that you'd fit in to perfectly." ... we went up there to check it out and thought "Well, yeah, these other bands, Like Ducks Deluxe and that, are not a million miles away from what we're doing and so there's no reason why we can't muscle in here" - which is exactly what we did."
ON WHY "DOWN BY THE JETTY" CAME OUT AS A MONO RECORDING: We didn't put it into mono until we mixed it ....... we did it very simply with hardly any overdubs at all - much to the consternation of United Artists and the producer, Vic Maile ..... when we came to mix it originally in stereo, frankly, it sounded pretty terrible, so we mixed it into mono and it sounded 50% better ....... then some U.A. bright spark said, "Well hold on a minute, perhaps we can make this a marketing ploy and play this mono angle up", which looking back, was quite a smart move."
ON NINE BELOW ZERO: I alway thought they were a great band and if they were around now, I think they'd be cleaning up. However, Dennis Greaves got it into his head that he wanted to conquer America, form a mod group and all that, which he's done and has been a moderate success, but I think it would have been a smarter move if he'd stuck with Nine Below Zero." (Did he have inside information, or is Brilleaux a psychic? Remember, this was December '89!!)
ON "CLASSIC" AND "BRILLEAUX": "Both albums were attempts to bring us strongly into the '80's by trying to update our sound - something I wasn't 100% happy with ........ at the end of the day, they don't sound like Dr Feelgood should."
ON MAD MAN'S BLUES:
"I produced that! To me, that's how Dr Feelgood should sound. When we recorded
it I horrified the engineer - he'd just opened this new 24 track studio
in Southend and wanted to use all his new toys! I walked in and said "Nah.nah.nah.
Take all these mikes away" and on the one track I sung through this little
blown-up amplifier so that the voice sounded like it was cracking up which
resulted in him asking me not to mention his studio on the album credits
- he was almost in tears."
Issue No. 3
Christmas 4 Vinyl Junkies
Wilko Johnson: Don't Let Your Daddy Know
Bedrock BED CD21
Dr. Feelgood: Sneakin' Suspicion
Grand CD 13
Dr. Feelgood: Be Seeing You
Grand CD 14
Issue No. 4
Wilko Johnson: Pull The Cover - Skydog 62242-2 Jap CD
Call It What You Want - Line INCD 9.00435 O
Don't Let You Daddy Know - Bedrock BEDCD 21
Wilko Johnson - Ice On The Motorway
Hound Dog BUT CD 001
This is from the 3 issues of HORSEPLAY! that I have. HORSEPLAY! was issued around 1991/1992 and for all I know folded after issue number 4. Subtitle on the first issue "Bad Music For Bad People" and it covered the likes of Dr. Feelgood, Eddie & The Hot Rods, The Inmates, Steve Hooker etc. HORSEPLAY! was truly a great read and I for one am sorry that it went under. Lots of information on the kind of bands we like and a tape with every second issue, containing unreleased music and interviews
more about Dr. Feelgood in HORSEPLAY! I've decided to copy only the articles
which are a bit more than just the passing mention of a foreign release
cd or the discography (for there is a much more complete version - cough
cough - on this website).. The Dr. Feelgood bits for issue two are here
courtesy of Fedde (thanks for the scans)
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