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FEELIN' GOOD Newsletter Issue 34/Jan. 2004

Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield.

Dr. Feelgood Information Service

How to supply to the printed newsletter? Look here!

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Go Jonny Go

What have rugby, red arrows, Graeme Souness, nudists, all got in common? Well, read on as I write about Dr Feelgood who have just completed another hectic year of touring and finding time to release a brand new live CD along with two compilations.

Firstly the touring - just over 130 shows in 2003 and the Feelgoodmobile travelled around 45,000 (pretty good considering the van doesn't always transport them when flying away from the shores of the UK).

The following is extracts from my diary when I accompanied the Feelgoods in November and December.

Nov 25th - Newcastle Opera House (our fifth visit there and our second time this year). The Bistro was completely sold out and the Feelgoods performed two sets with myself and Whitey on the merchandise. It was great to hear a new opener to the set with "Take a Tip" an old favourite of a certain Mr Johnny Green. The encore was also a "newie" or rather a return to an old song the Feelgoods often used to deliver. It was "Route 66" but with a difference in that half way through it segued into "Johnny B Goode". The reasoning behind this change became apparent when during the chorus Robert Kane produced a full page picture from a newspaper featuring Jonny Wilkinson with the heading "Go Jonny Go". Needless to say these words were sang with pride in Newcastle (Jonny being a local boy) and certainly beat the pants off any karaoke screen. I guess whenever I hear the song again I'll now think of how England beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup. As always met up with people from the Information Service but would need a whole page to list all those met on this stretch of the tour so apologies for not naming names but you all know who are are - it was great to see you again. Spoke to Steve Hutchinson (ex Animal) who told me the new keyboard player with the Animals is none other than ex Blockhead Mickey Gallagher. Dropped Robert off at his home in Sunderland and then home myself.

Nov 26th - travelled back up the A19 to collect Robert in the morning then on our way to Nettleham near Lincoln. On route we made the usual stops for tea, coffee etc arriving at the Black Horse around 4pm just in time to help lift the gear into the venue as the van had arrived only minutes before us (made mental note to try to avoid this in future by leaving a little later). We have known Tom and Clare from the Butlin's festivals for some years now and pleased that they had asked us to play in their pub before a select group of 80 people paying £15 for a special invitation. A gig sold out many months ago with a waiting list for tickets. As soon as I had time to explore the pub I found the actual painting by Paul Shuttleworth of the Feelgoods on the Naughty Rhythms tour surrounded by smaller photographs of other acts that have played at the Black Horse over the years. It certainly looked very impressive hung there in all it's glory observing any music lover entering the concert room. Due to limited space Whitey and I set up the stall in the dining room/lounge. We all had a great meal washed down with some fine Rioja before Phil, Robert and I checked into the Old Vicarage just around the corner. Back at the gig, Phil and I set about tasting the real ales and what a selection there was with Tom demonstrating his knowledge by advising us of the different tastes each beer had. We had to try them all out though and were not disappointed. Once more another two sets by Dr Feelgood with a very appreciative and intimate crowd. I took advantage of the cooler room next door and Whitey and I shared "stories" an essential part of any touring to help keep entertained and Whitey is a raconteur, a master of telling stories from the present and well into the past days of early Feelgood. It was also a great place to chat to people who were seeing the band for the first time and they were not disappointed! After the band had finished we all stayed back for more drinks and Tom and Clare kindly provided us with some supper too before retiring in the early hours of the morning to bed.

Nov 27th - breakfast time and we were entertained by the Red Arrows who were practising in full view whilst we ate in a wonderful conservatory. I then went for a walk around the village of Nettleham before Robert and I set off in my car towards Bradford. On route we were informed that the hotel we were staying at had been changed to the Hanover Country Club on the outskirts. Van left at 5.45pm and headed straight to Penningtons but the PA guys were not ready for us so after a wait we went for the usual pre gig curry. Only one set tonight and as there was a Bowls Presentation evening in the theatre part of Penningtons we opted to watch a blue comedian tell jokes I cannot repeat here. As the clientele were a mixture of mainly elderly but also grandchildren the material was not really appropriate and after 20 minutes the comic called it a day. The person who had organised the event apologised to the people who were still there. No fear of that happening next door though as at 10.30pm the room was packed with people all shouting for Dr Feelgood. They played their usual one set of "Take a Tip, Roxette, She's a Wind up, Don't start me talking, Baby Jane, Milk & Alcohol, I can Tell, Instinct to Survive, Down by the Jetty Blues, Back in the night, See you later Alligator, Going Back Home, Down at the Doctors and Gimme One More shot". The encore was dedicated by Robert to Bryan Robson who is now manager of Bradford FC - it was of course "Mad Man Blues" before "Bony Moronie/Tequila".

29th Nov - Phil travelled in my car as we were heading to his home before the Ipswich gig. A return to the Manor Ballroom and a stage sufficient in size to allow Robert a bit of freedom as he races around. Shortly after midnight and I drove back to Phil's instead of the usual bolt hole (the Oyster Fleet) where I stayed to ensure an early departure with Phil for our Saturday entertainment.

30th Nov - Off up the motorway towards The High Cross Inn at Broughton in Furness near Ulverstone and we passed several football grounds on the way but settled to call in at the Blackburn v Tottenham game. Souness was dismissed during the game but Blackburn did win. It took us almost an hour to get out of Blackburn but we were soon on our way towards the gig. Less than a mile away from the venue we drove past "Foxfield Junction" which Phil reminded me the great Micky Jupp had wrote a song about. No surprises really as we were in Juppy country now. Arrived later than everyone else who had unloaded the van and were tucking into a rather large tea. Quickly checked in as we were staying the night at the venue before our turn for tea and the chance to try the real ales on offer. Phil met up with ex Legend Chris East. Once again a great establishment, sold out and we were well looked after by Andy and his brother Chris. A great venue off the beaten track and whilst the venue had to wait 2 years to book Dr Feelgood, I am sure we will be back there soon (hopefully in 2004). A really hot and sweaty night but everyone seemed to enjoy the Feelgoods in that setting.

1st December - off home for a rest dropping Robert off on the way - after driving 1300 miles and many gallons of ale with late nights (usually 3am bedtimes) the rest was needed.

4th December - once more up the A19 to pick Robert up at Lunchtime. Got there early so Robert played me a demo track he had recorded the other night with Steve Dawson on guitar. It was a self penned song titled "Show me the money" that Robert wrote last year and all the Feelgoods are contributing songs for possible inclusion on the next studio CD. Off we went to Gillingham a place Dr Feelgood have not played before and in Kent so a long journey for us and a trip across the Thames for Dr Feelgood. We arrived at 6pm just in time to help the van unload and then after picking Steve up from the train station I checked Robert and myself into a local B&B to save travelling back to Canvey later on. A decision we regretted the next day but more about that later. The usual one set as there was a support act tonight.

5th December - nothing to hang around in Gillingham so we left at 9.30 to take a leisurely drive to Narberth in Wales but once we were on the M25 the traffic was at a standstill. It took us over 3 hours to actually get off the motorway and find an alternative route. The band went the top route of the M25 so missed this gridlock which we believe were due to a series of accidents. Once off the motorway we stopped for refreshments and then headed off to Narberth. Arriving there at 6.30pm to have some tea and check into the hotel. Whitey was not on this part of the run so I was doing the merchandise alone. The venue was sold out with 370 people there and a large stage and appreciative crowd ensured the show was a success. The band's version of "Back in the Night" was one of the best I have heard with the audience screaming back the words. During the encore a 29 year old female jumped up on stage and had a dance with Robert to "Bony Moronie/Tequila". Another late night as we had a late drink in Steve's room due to the hotel bar being shut so instead we chatted and watched a strange game show featuring nudists (weird but funny). It was a long day with 9 ½ hours spent in a car with just me and Robert.

6th December - Phil travelled again with me as we intended to catch a football match possibly Morecambe as we were playing there. Phil helped pass the time away by talking about golf and explaining the different rules and scorings. We were both surprised that the conversation lasted 2 hours! We couldn't make it to Morecambe in time though as we arrived just after the van at the hotel at 3.45pm so checked in and had a rest before going to the bar for the football results. Left with the van at 6pm and we took a wrong turn just before the Dome and ended up on a road leading to the pier. Phil turned the van around and found his exit blocked by a barrier that wasn't there when we entered the road. No way of getting out without a permit! We headed back to the pier and managed to persuade a fisherman to let us back out. He will never know how many people he made happy by that act as it would have been a very difficult task to transfer the gear in the van to the venue maybe a quarter of a mile away. We have played the Dome for the last two years and as usual go for a pre gig meal at the Platform over the road where we played on the two Naughty dates. A quick soundtrack with the usual "If my baby quit me" (despite not being in the set) and "Going Back Home" harmonica solo part. As with all the previous gigs there were many people from the Information Service there and it was great to chat and have a drink with as many as possible. The show was a stormer despite the not brilliant acoustics due to the shape of the venue. Robert informed everyone it was his birthday - yes, 49 years old. Same set as usual apart from the addition to the encore of "She does it right". Earlier in the set Robert noticed a Scottish flag draped across the front of the stage before a group of fans from the Dumfries area. Someone heckled Robert when he held it up but soon stopped when Robert informed all and sundry that we are all British! Whilst doing the merchandise "Speedin' through Europe" was the best seller and one person couldn't believe the solo in "Jetty Blues" and was more than pleasantly surprised that the CD version is over 17 minutes long! There was a disco in the bar following the show where we sat with our friends from Scotland before Steve and I walked back to the hotel for a drink there. Kevin and Phil got a taxi back and Robert had walked back earlier. Next day I went home and was surprised that I had clocked another 1200 miles.

Throughout the tour we met up with many people who are going to Skegness in January so God knows what the atmosphere and party will be like! Dr Feelgood will be performing on the same date as the Hamsters on 1st February.

Other dates to look out for include the Lee Brilleaux Birthday Memorial on 7th May as we remember that Lee died 10 years ago in April 1994. There is a section later giving details of past performers of which no doubt a smattering will appear this year. Another gig with a difference is the "Meditteranean blues cruise" although at time of press I have no details about this other than a selection of R&B groups will be entertaining passengers on a cruise. Kevin tells me that along with Dr Feelgood will be Nine Below Zero and others. No doubt more details will appear when known on the official web site www.drfeelgood.de.

Well, that's it for this issue. Next issue due in April and as always I am looking for articles so get writing and send to the PO Box number or e mail me.
[To send articles/reviews etc to John use his current contact details --- and please do not forget that Gabi collects material for this website, too!!]

Keep on Feelin' Good

John Butterfield
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Gig Review: Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow - Nov. 8th 2003

The last visit to The Ferry was sometime in autumn 1992 when the band were on a Scottish tour taking in such other great delights as Preservation Hall in Edinburgh, The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen and then a ferry trip to the Orkney Islands where the idea for ''The Feelgood Factor'' project was born. (see inner sleeve of ''Feelgood Factor'') The only other visit to Glasgow since then was to The Cathouse in the city centre when the support was provided by The Hamsters in 1996, but tonight the support act is Al Hughes and then Al with his band Lights Out By Nine promoting their new CD release ''Good Morning Mr. Universe''.

A good sized crowd of around 300 turned up on what was a cold and windy night, and with queues beginning to form by 7.30pm, the doors were opened fifteen minutes earlier than planned. Some fans have travelled from far afield places for tonights gig including Dumfries to the South and Aberfoyle to the North. It certainly makes a change for me to have a local Feelgood gig and not having to cover 400 to 600 mile round trips to see my favourite band since their appearance on ''The Geordie Scene'' all those years ago (1974/5 I think).

Long before The Feelgoods took to the stage at 10.30pm, the crowd were already chanting for them to start. You could sense that they were definately up for this and it didn't take long after the band hit the stage to see that they were also in the mood for fun.
From the opening number ''Take A Tip'' through to encore finale of ''Mad Man Blues'' and ''Slowdown'' the set was delivered at breakneck speed except for ''Down By The Jetty Blues'' on which Steve excels himself and never appears to play his part the same way twice. All the favourites are in there ''Roxette'', ''She's A Wind Up'', ''I Can Tell'', ''Back In The Night'', ''Milk & Alcohol'', ''Down At The Doctors'', ''Going Back Home'', ''Shake Your Moneymaker'', ''Don't Start Me Talking'', ''Instinct To Survive'', and ''Gimme One More Shot'' (I'm sure I've missed some but this is from memory only).

Four numbers into the set and Robert makes comment on how well it's all going and this is only the third night of the annual Winter tour. Further proof of just how well it's all going is evident when a fan jumps on to the stage and attempts to join in the backing vocals for ''Milk & Alcohol'' with Phil. The audience participation piece on ''Back In The Night'' is deafening and by the broad smiles on all band members faces you can tell they are really enjoying themselves. All too soon the show is over, Kevin and Phil leave the stage, Robert's parting words are ''F*****g brilliant'' and Steve just stood looking out to the crowd soaking up the atmosphere.

It's not long before the band are on the upper deck chatting to the fans and signing copies of CD's, the ''Down By The Jetty'' book and anything else that ink will write on! Speaking to Phil, Steve and Kevin, they are over the moon with the way the evening had gone and they couldn't believe how hyped up the crowd were and reckoned it was well worth the journey to Scotland for one night only before heading down to Sheffield for the next show.

Let's hope it's not another seven years before the next trip to Glasgow and maybe next time there will be a few more Scottish dates!

Gordon McNeil

P.S. -- For the uninitiated, ''been a long time coming'' is a line from the song ''Tanqueray'' on The Feelgood Factor CD.
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Remembering the great Lee Brilleaux,
and celebrating the Feelgood music.

Thus year's memorial will be the 11th, and it will be 10 years since Lee handed in his harmonica and left the world. Each year there are many different artistes that appear to celebrate the memory of Lee Brilleaux and the spirit of Dr. Feelgood. It is not just the appearance of artistes that adds to the excitement, but the many different combinations of who plays with who etc. Imagine seeing three Dr. Feelgood guitarists on the same stage, or Robert Kane and Wilko Johnson at the same time. The Memorial is the only place where this may 'appen. Gabi has produced a review of every single Memorial on the web site [see Lee Brilleaux Memorials], but here's a more condensed version, listing the many people who have played at one or more of the Memorial shows:

* NINE BELOW ZERO * THE INMATES * EDDIE & THE HOT RODS *

* DR. FEELGOOD *
Wilko Johnson, Sparko, Big Figure, Johnny Guitar, Gypie Mayo,
Kevin Morris, Phil Mitchell, Steve Walwyn, Gordon Russell,
Pete Gage, Dave Bronze, Robert Kane, Ian Gibbons

* THE PRACTICE * THE LONE SHARKS * MIKE SANCHEZ * MICKEY JUPP * BARRY MARTIN * THE KURSAAL FLYERS * THE WILKO JOHNSON BAND * THE RECEEDERS (Local band) * LARRY WALLIS * TWO TIMERS * SNOWY WHITE * THE BULLET BLUES BAND * LESS THAN BLESSED (Local band) * DEANOS MARVELS * RICHARD HOLGARTH * SLIM * BILLY BOY MISKIMMIN * LEW LEWIS *

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Dr. Feelgood Merchandise - (Commented)

The Wilko Johnson years

Down by the Jetty (Grand 5) the very first album that introduced the raw Feelgoods Lee, Wilko, Sparko and Figure. No hits but plenty of Wilko classics such as "Roxette" and "She does it Right". Despite its age it is still a firm favourite of most respectable Feelgood fans. The cover sleeve of black and white shot with a windy backdrop of the Oil Refineries on Canvey Island reflects the raw energy of the new band on the block - Dr Feelgood.

Malpractice (Grand 9) sleeve still in black and white but a more produced sound including the Pirates inspired "I can Tell" and "Going Back Home" which introduced the world to a certain Mr Johnny Green.

Stupidity (Grand 21) what more can be said about an album that shot to the very top of the charts charts making Dr Feelgood not only the hottest live act in the UK but also giving a taste of recording fame. Maybe the fact that the album was live ensured everyone who had seen them live bought a copy hence the rapid rise to number One.

Sneakin' Suspicion (Grand 13) maybe Wilko did have a sneaking suspicion when he penned the title tune as this was to be his final recording with Dr Feelgood hence the sleeve which could not feature a group shot due to his hasty departure.

The John "Gypie" Mayo Years

Be Seeing You (Grand 14) introduced another great songwriter/guitarist - another sleeve picture taken on Canvey and an album full of tunes well and truly stamped with the style of John "Gypie" Mayo.

Private Practice (Grand 1) an appropriate catalogue number as some people rate this as being the best album featuring John Mayo. It introduced the world to the hits "Milk and Alcohol" and "Down at the Doctors".

Let it Roll (Grand 7) an album that does at it says - let it roll.

A brace of live albums in As it happens (Grand 15) and On the Job (Grand 16).

A Case of the Shakes (Grand 10) with Nick Lowe providing the party style production.

The Johnny Guitar years

Fast Women, Slow Horses (Grand 3) - the last album to feature the original rhythm section of Sparko and Figure.

The Gordon "Jack" Russell years

Doctor's Orders (Grand 6), after a spell off the road Mr Brilleaux introduced the new Dr Feelgood with new songwriter/guitarist Gordon Russell and on bass Phil Mitchell and drummer Kevin Morris. An album that truly rocks.

Mad Man Blues (Grand 2) - Gordon has often said he is proud to have introduced the title song to the Feelgood repetoire where it has remained ever since. Really bluesy recording in good old Southend. The Grand version contains extra tracks to the original vinyl.

Brilleaux (Grand 4) - Stiff Records wanted the Feelgoods to return to the charts with this smoothly produced album.

Classic (Grand 11) - not released in this country due to Stiff Records falling apart. Some great songs penned by Phil and Kevin.

The Steve Walwyn years

Live in London (Grand 8) - yes a live album recorded where it says - London and featuring the newcomer Steve "Whirlwind" Walwyn.

Primo (Grand 12) - This album featured 3 bass players due to Phil's departure from the band.

The Feelgood Factor (Grand 17) - mainly original songs by the Whirlwind, Kevin and Dave Bronze.

Down at the Doctors (Grand 18) - the last live concerts with Lee Brilleaux at the Dr Feelgood Music Bar.

On the Road (Grand 19) - Dr Feelgood were now back on the road and in the studio with Pete gage on vocals.

Chess Masters (Grand 23) - an album with all covers from the chess record label and the first to welcome the charismatic Robert Kane on vocals.

Speeding Thru Europe (Grand 27) - the long awaited first Live CD with the current line up of Robert Kane, Steve Walwyn, Kevin Morris and Phil Mitchell with no special guests apart from the audience. It even contains the full version of "Jetty Blues".

Compilations / Miscellaneous

25 Years of Dr Feelgood (Grand 20) - a double CD featuring 40 great tracks and great value.

Live at the BBC (Grand 22) a compilation of BBC studio sessions for all those who remember taping the radio shows on the old cassette recorders from 1974-1975.

BBC Sessions 1973-1978 (Grand 24) - as it says!

Finely Tuned (Grand 25) - all the Feelgood guitarists selected their favourite tracks for this finely tuned set of songs.

Down at the BBC In concert 1977-1978 (Grand 26) - the weekend BBC "In concert" shows now on CD.

Wolfman Calling (Grand 28) - a tribute to Lee featuring Lee's recordings of classic blues tunes.

[Visit Grand Records Order Shop for even
more Dr Feelgood merchandise available!]

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Following parts of this newsletter have been added to other sections of this website:

Mini DocWord - Feelgood Puzzles page

Go to Newsletter Issue 35/April 2004
 

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