Old News Are No News
(Who Wants Yesterday's Papers?)
It's old news by now, but I'll leave it here nevertheless. Pete Gage was sacked by the band sometime in mid 1999. One can only guess at the reasons for such a drastic measure. It certainly wasn't that Pete couldn't fill the shoes of the frontman of Dr. Feelgood. And the band couldn't have wished for a better singer. And thus, every other rumour in Feelgood land leaves the band in a very bad light. I have my own thoughts (here!). Robert Kane is the replacement, formerly of Animals II fame! Here's a review from Albert on the September 3, 1999 gig at Oude Biltzijl/Holland (new line-up).
I've found this beauty here. It's Screaming Lord Sutch as quoted from his book "Life As Sutch". He's speaking about these "Oldie Package Tours", he used to take a part in. We are not alone:
"The rules about band revivals were pretty rough and ready, but there was an unwritten agreement that to qualify for its old name a band had to have at least one of its original line-up."
Thanks a bunch to the sender of this link with a review of "Dr. Feelgood" at the Orkney Bluesfestival 2003. Me? No, no, no, no ...... it'd never even crossed my mind! YES! I'm laughing so hard, I'm almost crying. Go to the Orkney Bluesfestival site and read for yourself.
This here is from a book review in the January 2004 issue of Record Collector (about a book called "The Illustrated Trip" - the subject is Grateful Dead). And this is Bob Weir speaking:
"We got together in November after he (Jerry Garcia) checked out and decided to retire the name of "Grateful Dead" because, at that point, I think there were more people dead than alive in the band. It seemed to us that without Jerry - and without everybody else - there was no point in going back out and calling what we had to offer the "Grateful Dead", because it wasn't and it never was going to be."
And on we go with a statement from a discussion board on the internet:
The new frontman Robert Kane, joined the band in August of last year, fresh from The Animals( 2) and he's fucking useless imho!, although, given the shoes he had to fill, I suppose.....NO, he's still fucking useless!
Hey, I'm only the messenger! ;-) Here's the full message!
Just a word of warning: There's a bootleg in circulation, called "The Feelgood Factor". This is supposed to be from the last two gigs with Lee in January 1994 on Canvey Island. Tracks 11 to 15 are lifted straight from the official release. Tracks 1 to 10 are NOT from these two gigs (no Ian Gibbons, never mind how hard you try to listen). Although, sound quality is excellent.
The poll results
2002 from Record Collector show Dr. Feelgood up from last year's rank 294
to this year's 244. These poll results show only the collectability of
certain artists (or rather, what the folks writing in to Record Collector
say, that they collect at the moment) and should be taken with more than
just a grain of salt. It could be too easily orchestrated. The ranking
of John Otway for one, seems to be more than fishy. A few selected artists
have made the following showing:
There's a total of 500 artists with the usual suspects on top. I believe Wilko Johnson was ranking in last year's poll, but he must have dropped out. It's a fickle world out there.
There's a new release from Dr. Feelgood out now (October 2001). These are the complete BBC sessions between 1973 and 1978. The album is released on Grand Records (Grand CD24) as usual. These tracks were already available on the "Down At The Doctors" CD (a bootleg of course - The Gold Standard GS-7378CD - see scan in the bootleg section), except the last track "Sugar Shaker" which is new here.
Frankly, I can't
tell you much about the stuff Dr. Feelgood did during their heyday at BBC.
I can, however, recommend Steve's Dr. Feelgood Website, which lists (among
other things, of course) the complete activities of our heroes with the
BBC. Here's the link.
There is a further release. A 3-CD set called "Singled Out, The U.A./Liberty A's B's & Rarities" and distributed through EMI (7243 5 34242 2 0). This is out now as well (October 2001). I was eager to see, how EMI is justifying the inclusion of tracks 13 to 15 on disc three. Well, they are unplugged versions and should have stayed in the can (there's a guy down at the chips shop, thinks he's Lee Brilleaux).
Anyway, you can easily set your CD-player to skip tracks 13 to 15 on disc 3. The wonders of electronic magic! Or you can ask your CD-dealer to scratch out these three tracks, so that your player can't read it anymore. Here's a review from Record Collector (U.K.).
I'll leave you with some thoughts of our resident Dr. Feelgood expert, who, in a rare moment of wisdom, said:
"Whatever the reason for this, I don't think they should be on this set. Especially not when Lee Brilleaux is pictured on the cover".
Thanks a lot, Yukiko, for telling me about the CD on the right and for sending me an original copy. Just released: Wilko Johnson "Live In Japan 2000" (at Shibuya On Air East, Tokyo November 20, 2000). The CD comes with two stickers (one Wilko Johnson and the other The Pirates). Seems like this is a japanese release only. It's on Trippin' Elephant TERNG-022 COCB-50482. Songs are:
CD "Back In The Night" (Jungle Freud CD078). You can order this CD directly at Jungle Records using your credit card (please see for prices and postage directly on their website).
DR. FEELGOOD (2003)
On May 19, 2003 Grand Records will release another Dr. Feelgood CD. This one is called "Wolfman Calling". Is this a CD with the same tracks we have in our collections over and over again? Is Grand Records again trying to sell us stuff we've bought ten times over already? Are we as stupid as some folks seem to think? Probably yes on all counts. See below.
Can I just ask Grand Records why they don't issue a CD with ALL the unreleased stuff? Instead, they keep on feeding us CD after CD with the same old stuff we have already ten times over. To make it more "interesting", they add a take or two that's previously unreleased. I suppose that Grand Records can stretch this to about the year 2025 and raking in a load of cash in the meantime. But, who am I to complain? Everyone has to make a living and if you can sell yesterday's paper by changing just the date, allright with me, if you find any takers:
1. Watch Your Step - 2. My Babe - 3. Neighbour, Neighbour - 4. You Upset Me Baby (Live) - 5. Rock Me Baby - 6. You'll Be Mine - 7. The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock'n'Roll (No. 2) - 8. I Can't Be Satisfied - 9. Mojo Workin' (Live) - 10. One Kiss (unreleased as far as I know) - 11. She Moves Me - 12. Tore Down - 13. Dust My Broom - 14. Rolling & Tumbling - 15. You Don't Love Me - 16. Homework (Live) - 17. Checking Up On My Baby (Live) - 18. Don't Start Me Talking - 19. Dimples - 20. Mad Man Blues - 21. Lee's BBC Radio Feature On Howlin' Wolf (unreleased as far as I know).
So, there you have it. Of course, the unreleased stuff is tempting. But this could have been added to any of the previous compilations. I do take bets now, we're to see the next compilation from Grand Records by 2004 the very latest. It'll have all very familiar tracks plus one unreleased song (two, if you're lucky). "Rocking Through The Years" anyone? "A Collection Of Dr. Feelgood Songs Rooted In Rock'n'Roll"? I'm waiting, Grand Records. I do hope they have at least managed a good booklet with "Wolfman Calling". Twenty pages, lots of unpublished photographs, an intelligent essay in which truth is king. Keep on dreaming!
Thanks to Julian for the tracklisting info.
Released, a book by Will Birch, "No Sleep Till Canvey Island" which is very interesting reading to anyone into the pub rock movement.
If your only concern is Dr. Feelgood, however, this is not the book you want to buy. It's quite heavy on Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwarz and it could be annoying to check all the references for Dr. Feelgood throughout the book. If pub rock is a term you proudly live with (as I obviously do), and if pub rock does have a meaning to you, buy the book! It'll still be heavy on Brinsley Schwarz etc. but Will Birch does a good job in painting the picture of a movement close to my heart.
Will Birch was/is the drummer of the "Kursaal Flyers" (an excellent band, check them out. As far as I know, only "In For A Spin" and "A Former Tour De Force Is Forced To Tour" are available on CD. For the rest, you'd have to check your local second hand vinyl shop), and this is about the only major gripe I have with this book; nowhere near enough mentioning of the "Kursaal Flyers".
A big big chapter should have been devoted to them. I can imagine, however, that Will Birch didn't want to rewrite the story of his own band. Still, no book with the "Kursaal Flyers" been given their dues is complete. Will Birch, how about more of your own band in the second edition? Thanks! This was released in April 2000 and the ISBN is 0-7535-0411-1 (Virgin Publishing).
I've found a review by now in Record Collector # 251 (July 2000 issue). I'll sign this at any time. That is to say, the book is recommended reading.
Today a promo (Audio
only) found the way to my mailbox. Dr. Feelgood "Going Back Home - Live
At The Kursaal,
Southend 1975". The commercial release will also have a DVD included (1975
vintage as well) and should be in the shops as from today. The whole package
has been released by EMI. Here we go!
of vintage Dr. Feelgood has been released. This here is called "The Complete
Stiff Recordings". For what it's worth, they could keep their endless recycling
of old stuff, except that here we get the "Crash Your Car Megamix" which
was otherwise not available in any more decent form than a tape. Congratulations
to Grand for offering us this piece. Thumbs down for selling us the same
songs, we have already ten times over, in the process. Very good booklet
with lots of information (and a cover shot that's from the "Mad Man Blues"
album and has nothing to do whatsoever with Stiff).
As far as I know, there've never been any Dr. Feelgood Bootlegs on vinyl. This is the year 2004 and up pop not one, but two of these items. Both are described to be of EU origin. I doubt this very much and suppose the manufacturer is rather to be found in the Far East. Item # 1 is an LP called
Boom - Unreleased Hits '74-'76"
The second item is an LP called:
66 - The First Sessions"
The way it goes with bootlegs, this is of course neither unreleased (previous bootlegs on CD) nor a "Promo Only". Genuine Dr. Feelgood bootlegs are very thin on the ground, so this is a surprise. Will we see a Dr. Feelgood bootleg revival? Only time will tell. Let's see.
Just when I thought I had seen everything there is to see on the bootlegfront, I'm informed that a Wilko Johnson Bootleg (vinyl / LP) has popped up on the market. This is called:
Does It Right"
just being the subtitle of the album. There are no great rarities (at least
not on this album). Looks like this bootleg is from the same source as
the above two Dr. Feelgood items.
SKOH (Wilko Johnson - Some Kind Of Hero Newsletter April/May 2000) speaks of Steve Hooker being in the process of finalising a deal to release two of Wilko's appearances from the BBC "In Concert" Series. These will probably be the Solid Senders broadcast from April 1980 and the Wilko and Lew Lewis one from November 1982. The release will be on Vinyl Japan Records. Good news indeed! Also, Wilko seems to be working on a new studio album with the working title "Red Hot Rockin' Blues". Would be indeed excellent if this will see a release soon, rather unexpected I'd say. "Going Back Home" is still rather fresh. Hey, I'm not complaining! At the time it is hoped that the band's back catalogue will also be included in the new deal (let's hope for the best).
Finally a Wilko Johnson DVD of sorts has seen the light of day. I suppose we all have been waiting for the master of the telecaster to show up in sight and sound on our TV screens. As there is no legally available footage of the Wilko Johnson Band out there, this is a very welcome addition to anyone's collection. Recorded during "The Mad, The Bad & The Dangerous" tour, this is actually from their November 25, 2005 performance at the Assembly Halls Turnbridge Wells.
As this was a package tour, you'll also get John Otway and the Hamsters. Not a bad choice to serve the real stuff. I have to admit, this just came in and I haven't seen it yet (I wanted to have it on the website without delay), so there's no comment as to the quality from my side so far. The tracklist looks impressive with "Don't Let Your Daddy Know", "Dr. Dupree", "Back In The Night" and "She Does It Right" making an appearance among other tracks from the Wilko Johnson Band.
The DVD is called
"Wanted For Rhythm And Blue Murder! The Mad, The Bad & The Dangerous".
The whole thing has apparently happened on Monti's insistence (and has
been mixed and edited by him as well). Thanks a bunch to Monti for releasing
this. Appreciated no end, as you can imagine! The item doesn't have a catalogue
number, so I suppose it's not in the usual distribution channels and I
don't have an address where to buy it from (don't worry, this is a regular
release, nothing illegal). I can only advise you to check out the internet.
Sheena & The Rokkets release for their 30th anniversary is on sale as of April 23, 2008. Over the years, Wilko Johnson has taken part in many recordings of these rockers from Japan. You can hear him on their CDs and see him on their CDs.
Here, Wilko has contributed one of his unreleased songs to be covered by Sheena & The Rokkets. This is "I Can't Get Across To You". Of course, it takes some time getting used to hearing a Wilko Johnson song that you haven't actually heard by the man himself. Just to spell it out, Wilko is not recorded in any way on this take. Nevertheless, you as the die-hard Wilko collector need this release of course and, I can tell you, it's a very fine slice of rock.
one major obstacle though, you need to order it directly in Japan, as I'm
not aware of a retailer stocking Sheena & The Rokket releases. If you
can fall back on an excellent dealer, they even might order this for you.
Support you local record shop!