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FEELIN' GOOD Newsletter Issue 42/Jan. 2006
Published with friendly permission of editor John Butterfield.
Dr. Feelgood Information Service
How to supply the printed newsletter? Look here!
It will be 2006 when you get this but it's Xmas Eve here in Feelgood House where I am sat with glass of wine in hand looking at the presents under the tree and not only thinking about forthcoming events in 2006 but doing the traditional looking back over the year. Before I start though I cannot help wondering what the present Mr Johnny Green Esq has left for me. He has left a series of clues saying there is a Feelgood connection and it is a Number One in it's own right! I can wait until the 25th though so on with this editorial.
The early part of 2005 saw the annual trip to Butlins and in 2006 it will happen again at the last weekend of January. Dr Feelgood will be doing two shows one on the first night Friday 27th and then again on a Saturday afternoon prior to travelling up to Hull for an evening gig. Otway and the Hot Rods did a similar trip in reverse in 2005 when they played Hull on the Friday evening and Butlins on the Saturday. The whole weekend has become quite an experience with like minded Feelgood fans who now this chance to meet up and enjoy not only the Feelgoods but asscociated acts. Also in Januray John ''Gypie'' Mayo left the Yardbirds.
A radio show in Sweden featuring some Feelgood tracks recorded at the Sweden Rock festival in 2004 was broadcast. Those tracks were ''Don't start me talking'', ''I can Tell'', ''Milk and alcohol'', ''Down at the Drs'', ''One more shot'' and ''Too Much Trouble'' (penned by Mr Kane and assisted by Mr Walwyn).
Grand records released a DVD version of the Going Back Home video which first appeared as a cinema short in the 70's as the Feelgoods were celebrating their number one album ''Stupidity''. Whilst it is now a dated recording it's still very special to see Lee, Wilko, Figure and Sparko on the small screen. A flurry of media articles appeared to promote the DVD and Wilko was on hand to be interviewed by several newspapers one of which was The Independant who on 30th January portrayed a picture of Canvey Island and the Feelgoods with Wilko revealing some little known facts. These included the first Feelgood to appear on the radio was Big Figure at the age of 5 singing ''Me and my Teddy Bear'' (DVD to follow??), what went wrong leading to his departure from the band and his sorrow at losing several key people ''to bloody cancer'' - ''two singers, a drummer, his mother and his wife Irene''.
The March issue of ''Record Collector'' featured 8 pages on pub rock.
One of the singers Wilko lost to bloody cancer was our Lee Brilleaux whose Birthday Memorial concerts now held at the Oyster Fleet in May continue to provide an opportunity for fans from all over the globe to get together and celebrate Lee's life with the assistance of musicians with links to the Feelgoods. The Big Figure came over from his home in France and there was Lew Lewis, Wilko and Pete Gage all performing as well as the band of minstrels taking the name forward Dr Feelgood. In 2005 some fans got a surprise when they were asked to take part in the other DVD to be released but more about that later. No one knows who will turn up at each memorial and the show sells out as soon as tickets are placed on sale. The date for 2006 is Friday May 6th and Gabi will advertise the date they come on sale on the official web site www.drfeelgood.de.
In August the Feelgoods played a special gig at the Mean Fiddler in London where they shared the bill with Eddie and the Hot Rods and both shows were recorded for the ONLY DVD to feature the current line up. The DVD was released in November under the moniker of ''Live in London'' and available from Cadiz Music (details later in issue). The songs featured were:
Date Bait / Too much trouble / Baby Jane / Roxette / Milk & Alcohol / Ninety-Nine and a half (won't do) / I can tell / Instinct to survive / Down by the Jetty Blues / Back in the Night / She does it right / Going back home / Down at the Doctors / Waiting for Saturday night / Mad Man Blues / Bony Moronie
Not advertised though are the ''Extras'' which in this case were fans being interviewed at the Memorial talking about what makes Dr Feelgood and Lee Brilleaux special. The person ''holding the microphone'' and asking the questions was long standing Feelgood fan and journalist/author Christopher Somerville. Even Wilko had an interview and his version of ''Roxette'' which was shot at the Memorial concert appears on the DVD. Members of his band that night were Phil Mitchell and Big Figure (not singing ''me and my teddy bear''!).
There were several occasions when Kevin Morris and Steve Walwyn were unavailable for gigs so old friends Big Figure and Gordon Russell were enlisted to go on the road. Notable tours included one in France with Gordon and a tour of Switzerland in November with the Figure.
Another ex Feelgood is Johnny Guitar who did return to play the Memorial the other year from his home in the USA. Prior to joining the Feelgoods he played with the Count Bishops and on September 23rd they reformed for a Chiswick Records 30th Birthday special show at the 100 club, London supported by Eddie and the Hot Rods. There are many connections with The Bishops over the years with Dr Feelgood also having a spell with Chiswick Records and another ex Feelgood Pat McMullen was also a Bishop. The ''reformed for one public show only'' Bishops were Johnny Guitar, Paul Bilbi, Pat McMullen and Dave Tice and their set list was:
Too Much Too Soon / Stay Free / Baby You're Wrong / Good Guys / Waiting for a Saturday Night / Taste and Try / Don't start me talking / Someone's got my number / Down the road apiece / Confessing the blues / I'll go crazy / I need you / I take what I want / I'm not talking / Train, train / Some baby / I want Candy
Not only was there the Autumn Feelgood tour to look forward to but also the Mad Bad Dangerous tour with The Hamsters, Wilko and John Otway. A review of the Middlesbrough show features later courtesey of award winning ''Fly me to the Moon'' fanzine editor and Gazette journalist and lead singer with ''Shrug'' Robert Nichols. I did go and met up with Otway and Richard and the Feelgood Brewery Support Group for a few jars in a pub near the venue. Richard told me that the Rods DVD was not ready and there are plans to follow up with a 2006 version. They have also penned 13 tracks to appear on the next Rods CD but whilst demos have been recorded they have yet to allocate some studio time to record the CD. Watch this space. The gig itself was excellent with Wilko on top form likewise the Hamsters and Otway/Richard. Strangeties were seeing Wilko and his band come on to play the end of ''You ain't seen nothing yet'' whilst Otway and Richard doing the step ladder posing (ala Naughty Rhythms tour), Barry Hamster disco dancing to ''Bunsen Burner'' and playing ''Crazy Horses''. It reached even higher levels of chaos at the end for Otway's favourite ''Born to be Wild'' and all members on for ''Hit me with your Rhythm Stick''. The good news is that they are hoping to repeat the show on the Sunday night at the Butlin's Rock and Blues weekend but at time of press this has not been confirmed.
We have already mentioned special guests who join the Feelgoods but on 9th December they were joined by a 13 year old and his music teacher playing saxophone to ''Bonie Moronie'' and ''See you later Alligator''. It was Steve's son Lewis.
People who have already read the back page (depends how you take this out of the envelope?) will have noticed that as of now the Information Service will not be issuing newsletters every quarter. They will now be out January, May and September (Triannually?). The dates actually suit key events in the Feelgood calendar ie beginning of year, Memorial, Autumn tour. We do still need as many contributions as possible so please either send them to myself at the PO Box number or e mail me at [here's Johns up-to-date email address].
Many thanks to all the contributers this issue which include the usual puzzle from John Alderdice, a taste of France from Alex, Robert Nichols, Steven Foster for permission to reprint the Stiff sleeve notes, Ian Fawkes for more questions on the couch. Time to reveal the mystery present it was the book ''Coast'' by Christopher Somerville who has now a Number One bestseller. Thanks too to Andy C for D&P.
Hope to see many of you at Butlins, thanks as always for your support of the Information Service and of course Dr Feelgood.
Keep on Feelin' Good
current e-mail address from John is available here
- please keep you address books up-to-date.]
has two 1963 Telecasters one bearing the autograph of Chuck Berry and the
other Bo Diddley.
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CD liner notes by Stephen Foster for ''Stiff Recordings''
It really was only a matter of time. Dr. Feelgood signing on the dotted line with Stiff Records in 1986 came ten years after lead singer Lee Brilleaux, Feelgoods' manager Chris Fenwick and the band's roadie at the time Freddie Barker each came up with £400 to help Jake Riviera get the label started. Jake had been The Feelgoods' tour manager after Chilli Willi and The Red Hot Peppers had gone their separate ways and eventually set his sights on forming a record company that was to quickly make its mark on the British music scene. Chris Fenwick was delighted when Stiff hit the big time : "I had the greatest of respect for Jake and Dave Robinson. They were great mentors to me all the way through my early days as manager of the Feelgoods. I was very much the new boy then. These boys had been in the game frankly six, seven or eight years in front of me. Robbo had looked after Brinsley Schwartz from the early days and I was now part of their inner gang. The fact that they started making noises and began having hits came as no surprise to me at all. I recall being down at Midem with Jake and Robbo in 1978 in some plush hotel in the hills at the back of Cannes and we were like three little musketeers together."
In those days Dr. Feelgood were well into their major deal with United Artists so although Stiff might have looked like their sort of label there was never any question of the band jumping ship. They were well looked after by Andrew Lauder and all at U.A. and repaid that faith with the number one album "Stupidity". A couple of years later the group added the top ten single "Milk And Alcohol" to their credits.
All good things come to an end and in the mid eighties it was a very different looking Dr. Feelgood that was approached by Stiff who by now were finding chart action a little harder to come by. A few years earlier Ian Dury, Madness, The Belle Stars and Tracey Ullman provided the label with hit after hit. In many ways Dr. Feelgood and Stiff were in the same boat. They were in danger of being swept aside but with sleeves rolled up both showed all the grit and determination that had made them successful in the first place.
Once they'd climbed aboard the good ship Stiff Dr. Feelgood went about the task of making an album. Former Kursaal Flyer Will Birch was drafted in as producer. Will was a good friend of the band having helped them get their very first London gig at The Tally Ho in Kentish Town in 1973. Will's post Kursaal Flyers outfit The Records had been signed to Stiff but despite shaking some action Stateside never really broke through in the UK. Will had no hesitation in recommending the Feelgoods to Stiff: "I told Robbo that I'd seen the band recently.They were a fantastic live act. Lee Brilleaux was still cutting it big time on stage. The band rocked and I said I think they ought to be making a record. Of course in the back of my mind I was painting myself into the producer's role not to mention the song writing role. I'd done an album with Billy Bremner and had material piling up. I then phoned Chris Fenwick and marked his card and suggested he contact Robbo. They had a meeting and a deal was carved out. Robbo asked me to produce and find some songs."
The Will Birch-produced "Brilleaux" album provided Dr. Feelgood with their first radio friendly single for ages. Co-written by Birch the song "Don't Wait Up" was a huge departure from the rocking rhythm and blues normally associated with the group. Will explains how that ended up on the album: "I'd just produced a record by The Electric Bluebirds and their singer Paul Astles asked me if I fancied doing some writing. We wrote "Don't Wait Up" which was modelled on another song by an American band whose name escapes me. I envisaged a minor key ballad. The sort of thing that Paul Young was doing at the time, a soulful kind of thing. I wrote the words and Paul knocked it into shape. Lee didn't feel he could hit some of the notes and thought it was a bit poppy but Robbo was very keen on it so Lee said he'd give it a go. It meant we polished that particular track a little more enthusiastically than some of the others. It didn't sell and a lot of people knocked it but it was the first time I'd heard a Feelgoods record on the radio in six years."
Both the album and single were released in 1986 and thanks to a bit of national airplay and lots of advertising including posters on the London Underground Dr. Feelgood were back. Before the year was out the Dave Edmunds-produced "See You Later Alligator" was issued but fell victim to a row between Stiff and the BBC which resulted in the corporation refusing to play its releases for a while. The single did do rather well in Scandinavia though reaching number two in Sweden.
Another year, another producer. 1987's "Classic" album was recorded under the guidance of Pip Williams, a much admired producer who'd enjoyed enormous chart success overseeing Status Quo. Williams was anxious to bring Dr. Feelgood right up to date and to do that he added various horns, plenty of keyboards and some top backing singers. It might not have been what the doctor ordered but it was exactly what Dave Robinson at Stiff was after - a contemporary sounding record with potential hit singles. Once again the chosen single "Hunting Shooting Fishing" failed to trouble the charts although it quickly became a live favourite. Not even a mega mix of it on a limited edition cassette single could do the trick. That tape is as rare as hen's teeth and the much sought after recording finally makes its CD debut on this compilation. Sadly "Classic" was to be one of the last albums issued by Stiff. One of this country's most important record labels had reached the end of the road and facing the prospect of once again having to find a new deal Lee Brilleaux and Chris Fenwick formed Grand Records. From now on they were going to do things their way.
2006 is the 30th anniversary of Stiff Records. Dr. Feelgood might not have been one of the label's biggest sellers but without their help early on Stiff may never have got off the ground. The group's recordings on Stiff capture Lee, Gordon, Kevin and Phil in great form and have certainly stood the test of time.
Come on get rhythm!
Stephen Foster - September 2005
(Stephen Foster would like to thank Will Birch, Chris Fenwick, Phil Mitchell, Kevin Morris and Gordon Russell for their Stiff memories. He also thanks Ann Adley and Paul Shuttleworth.)
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On the Couch with John Butterfield (Part 2)
For 20 years John Butterfield has been the inspiration, energy and total enthusiasm behind "Feelin Good" I guess you could call it a labour of love.. John is a Feelgood addict and in that time he has brought together Feelgood fans from all over the world whether through these columns or on the road manning the merchandise stall. I for one have met John many times and he is a "top chap" always keen to carry on the Feelgood cause and keep every one up to date with the latest gigs etc, but it's probably true that the majority of you don't really know John's personal views on Feelgood matters past and present so here goes "On the Couch " this time round I give you "Ladies and Gentlemen, John Butterfield" (big round of applause please)
8.) But, as we know , the band were re-born some people thought they would never recapture the old magic but they proved people wrong tell us why Kevin, Steve and Phil are so special to Dr Feelgood?
A hard one as they have all become very good friends over the years. Kevin has to take credit for getting Dr Feelgood back together after Lee's death but even before that Lee used to rely on Kevin to sort out the sound check (he hated sound checks - wasting valuable drinking time!!). Kevin mainly organises the bookings with some help from Whitey and Nigel Kerr (who has also stuck with Feelgood since the very early days). Kevin is also a generous person just like Lee was and often is the first person to buy a round or meal. Steve is not only a great bloke with time for people but also shares the "gentlemanly" attitude that Lee did. I don't have to remind anyone on his guitar playing skills. It is even harder to describe Phil as we have spent hours and hours talking, partying, putting the world to rights, football talk, etc. I know at one point he was the person who received the most female fan mail before Robert arrived (lol). Over the years Robert has become a good friend as we've had to share hours together driving miles to shows etc. Whitey must also be mentioned as very special to Dr Feelgood as not only Lee's best friend but also manages to keep the current squad on the right tracks. He is a very sociable person with a great skill in recounting stories from Feelgood's past and present. There's a couple of books worth of material in Whitey's head.
9.) Of course the worst time in the bands history was Lee's death but I understand you spent a lot of time with him driving to gigs etc have you any special or amusing memories you can share with us?
I did indeed used to drive Lee especially when he decided he wanted to visits different drinking establishments along the route to the next town. Each morning he would consult his bible the "good pub guide" and search for real ale pubs with good food somewhere on the way to the next show. We shared an interest in finding out the history of pub names and I used to carry with me a dictionary of pub names. There are many memories but amusing ones could be when Dr Feelgood were booked to play at Silverstone following the British Formula One Grand Prix. There were 3 bands, Dr Feelgood, Roger Chapman and The Blues Band and we were given our own marquee with free food and drink, a private Grandstand where we could watch the race which Nigel Mansell actually won. Lee, however, chose to stay the whole of the time at the bar and could be heard chuntering at the noises of helicopters flying overhead disturbing his peace whilst drinking. Another occasion Lee was supposed to be collected from a pub opposite the railway station and when we found him to take him to the sound check at 6pm he had esconced himself onto a bar stool and was enjoying conversing with the locals that he requested to be picked up several hours later just in time to walk onto the stage. Lee was a family man and I remember when the video was shot for "See you later Alligator" and I was staying at Lee's house when it appeared on a saturday morning television programme - Lee immediately rang his mother to tell her. He always spoke highly of his mother and often rang her. His daughter Kelly was only a toddler at this time and we all used to say to her what does daddy sing and she'd sing the chorus to Alligator.
10.) The introduction of Pete Gage took a lot of people, including me, by surprise what did you honestly think of someone else coming in taking over the frontman role of Dr F?
I actually got a phone call from Kevin and Whitey asking me what I thought and would I be interested in continuing the Information Service as all of us had taken a break. I went along to an early warm up show and as soon as I heard Pete sing, I thought it could work although I was naturally upset that Lee was not there. I recall a few tears were shed at one point when I had to go outside to compose myself - it was so strange to see someone else up there on stage singing particularly "Down by the Jetty Blues". Even today you may see me at a gig sparing a thought for Lee during "Jetty Blues". It actually took me a long time to fully accept Pete and that actually happened when on a trip where he travelled with me back to the hotel and it was a two hour journey. We ended up having a similar conversation that Lee and I may have had. We had had many conversations before and after gigs since he joined and we got on well but for some reason that night something just clicked and I saw him as being a Feelgood. Unfortunately for Pete it was only several months later that the Feelgoods changed the line up again.
11.) And your view of Pete leaving the band?
Pete had such a difficult job with many many people mourning the death of Lee and trying to compare him which was not fair really. Pete was very similar to Lee in many ways which did not help him. Perhaps he just was not different enough. There were also personal problems with relationships in the band as it is so hard for people to live and work together travelling around the world doing a really tiring job so emotions can be enhanced and even petty things can grow and fester until they become unmanageable. Pete himself realised it wasn't working and I remember a conversation with him in Scotland and also one when I drove Kevin from Perth to Aberdeen where all parties were struggling to carry on. Pete had a lot of good qualities and was a very caring man but it just wasn't to be. He did his best and tried - what more can anyone say?
12.) Tell us about Robert Kane and why he seems to have hit it off with the rest of the band and the public?
We knew Robert from his days with the Animals and shared the bill a few times at the Butlin's Rock and Blues weekends. He was pretty charismatic then and reminded me of an early Barry Masters crossed with Andy Ellison (Radio Stars) with the way he moved around the stage but also is an attraction to the female fans. He does put 100% into every performance just like Lee and sometimes his frustration can erupt and this gives an edge to Dr Feelgood - an edge that Lee thrived on night and night. I think he is very different to Lee though as well - can you imagine Lee wearing ear studs, long hair, no tie and running shoes on stage. That was Robert when he first joined.
13.) The Info service, as it was then, started 20 years ago did you think it would be going stronger than ever today and what kind of rapport do you have with the fans?
I didn't have any idea how long it would last but am of course glad it is still going. The reason it is there is down to the fact Dr Feelgood are still playing - there is no way I would run a tribute type of fanzine. Dr Feelgood continue because they enjoy it and the fans want them to. I have met many fans along the way and many of these have become not just good friends but very good friends. The fans are great and whilst at some gigs you know who is likely to turn up there is often a surprise too. Anyone who knows Phil and I will realise that we can often be found at the nearest pub chatting to fans just like Lee used to. I am indeed very priveleged and have met other musicians who I used to be fans. It can be strange being friends with people who I used to follow.
14.) And finally after all these years you must have a funny story or amusing /strange tale from the road, can you recall one for us?
As in number 9 there are many tales to tell - maybe they will be told in a book in the future? As you have asked for one I recall a trip to Germany and following the gig at Bremen we were all invited to a bar where ale and spirits flowed freely due to fans sending over trays of drinks at regular intervals. WE all had a lot to drink and each person had a story to tell the next morning. I remember Lee (like the Leader) asking everyone what had happened as we all left the party at different times. Kevin had asked me to keep an eye on someone who had been heard to say "I think I'm turning into a Werewolf". As he was saying this to me we noted he had gone! The next morning he could not recall getting back to the hotel but his jeans were muddy and he had a business card in his pocket so he could have got a taxi? I will spare him his blushes and not name him other than to say he is no longer in the band.
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Live Review: 15. October 2004 - Théâtre, Abbeville / France
Sacree Touche Avec Dr Feelgood
Tonight will be playing the best 'r'n'b band of the world just 30 km from my town. I just don't know yet that I would met such a fantastic band as I met.
It's 19:00 pm - we are drinking beers in the Irish pub just near the theatre, having fun, and talking about the new "Chess Masters" that I just find fantastic. Just at the moment, a man comes in the bar, I 'm just speaking English with a friend and just a few seconds after we discover that the man is English. We start to talk, and then after I'm so happily surprised to know that he is Chris, the manager of the band. Then a connection is immediatly created. We talk about Lee Brilleaux, about the current line up and Chris told us about his management of the band since the 70's and all the men he has met including Andy Warhol. Such a fantastic night that is starting!
20:30 - we arrive at the Theatre where Chris is selling t-shirts and cds in the hall, then it's a good occasion to ask if the band were going to play a song I adore "Nadine" and he answered that it could be possible. The band supporting Dr feelgood is just playing, the theatre is full of people more than excited. I just had the same feelin' as when I saw The Rolling Stones or Chuck Berry! I was feelin the heat!
21:00 - the famous band Dr feelgood is starting. For the first time I see them play and my eyes are captured on the charismatic Robert, I'm just looking at his attitude, his movements and I just find him completely incredible! I can't even compare him to my adored Robert Plant or Marc Bolan. He's just the only guy that could replace Lee so perfectly.
They start by "She does it right" followed by my dedicated song "Nadine", the new song "Too much trouble", Bo Diddley song "I can tell", "Hog for you", "Milk an alcohol", the fantastic Steve 's song "Instinct to survive".
The next song is naturally the classic Canvey song "Down by the jetty blues" which is played with a lot of melody, Robert introduces with a bit of harmonica followed by the incredible Steve's guitar solo, so enthralling where you can feel a bit of his inspiration, as he told me later, the great Rory Gallager, also Stevie Ray Vaughan.
"Back in the night" is a real explosion in the crowd, who was just seated a few minutes before, everybody was now dancing and singing, there was a real hot feelin' there. "Down at the doctors", "going back home", "mad man blues", "route 66", pronouced by Robert "route soixante six, un ancienne chanson des francais!", and finally, my song, my favorite Feelgood track of all the times "Bonie Moronie/tequila".
After the shows the band is signing autographs. It's a good occasion for me to invite them to have a drink with us at the Irish pub, and they enjoy this idea. I take some pics, and 30 minutes after, we're having a beer with Phil at the pub, who is just seated near me. He commands a pint of Guiness, and I don't know what is doing the barman, but the beer is very long to come!!! Good opportunity to chat with him, even if I'm a bit clumsy. I politly ask his little name, and tell him that I have a LP at home with his pic on and tell him "you are so beautiful on the pic!" He looked at me, smiled, and told "not anymore?????"
Just after that Steve comes in the bar, and then captives me because of his sympathy and happiness. I asked him if he was practicing sport, and he told me a lot about his bicycle travel in Spain and in England - that was very interesting. After he confessed to us that he was very happy to see such a crowd on fire this night. I'm completely captivated and I just tell myself at the moment "God, I met a great man like him? unforgettable!!"
I tell Phil that I would have been very happy to meet the singer but Phil told me that Robert never goes to the bar after the gigs. Kevin is here too, fantastic drummer in Trust, one of his inspirations is Keith Moon. I felt that in a lot of songs, particularly in" Down by the Jetty Blues".
1:00 - Time to say bye, the Feelgoods will get up early tomorow 'cause they will play in Ris Orangis, rue Rory Gallagher and after this gig they fly to the isle of Reunion where they will all enjoy the sun...
Next feelgood gig i will see will be in Boulogne, in 10 days,
I look forward to see them again...
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I've got to tell you about the evening another of my schoolboy idols came to town. I was a little bit late getting into the Town Hall Crypt for the The Mad, The Bad and The Dangerous show and was delighted to see the place absolutely packed. Add to that a big crowd for Marillion at The Empire next door and it was a good Friday for live music. It was standing room only at the Crypt bar for the local leg of a 4 month tour going right up to Christmas. I'd never seen main act The Hamsters before I just know them from those cut'n'paste posters for the Ladle that you used to see over the Moors road every year. I was here to see the mad John Otway and the dangerous (presumably) man in black the Essex Assassin Wilko Johnson. John Otway got the show on the road performing the first of his two hits, 'Cor Baby That´s Really Free.' These days without Wild Billy Barrett but with marvellously dead pan and long suffering Richard (also with Eddie on the Hot Rods) on guitar and one liner replies. John Otway would return later for a second stint and his second hit 'Bunsen Burner.' There were madcap antics, including amateur gymnastics, double bodied hinged guitars and brilliant line by line dissection of songs, 'Blockbuster' and 'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.' Great entertainment.
Then for one of the godfather's of punk, founder of Dr Feelgood and legend of the double handed guitar lead and rhythm, Mr Wilko Johnson. And a hero of mine and countless others judging by the shear number of people who came up to me after to talk about the man from Canvey Island. One of the greats of what used to be called rhythm and blues still walks that edge. The trademark knock-kneed duck walk across the stage, the cheese wire guitar, occasionally clucking and clicking, the jerky movement of the head and body. Then he's mowing us down with a machine gun telecaster guitar. Wilko played all the old Dr Feelgood favourites that opened the door for punk rock, "Back in the Night," "She Does It Right." He certainly did it right on the night.
After more Otway on marched The Hamsters, probably the hardest working band anywhere, hardly ever a night off wall to wall touring have raised them into cult status. They play very much a covers-based set from Hendrix to ZZ Top. I'm surprised it isn't more bluesy or garage to be honest. Then on march first Otway and later Wilko Johnson and his band for a brilliant finale of "Born To Be Wild." Finally Otway reveals they have a genuine no.1 hit artiste on stage, Wilko's bass player the amazing Norman Watt-Roy (once of the Blockheads) sparks up Ian Drury's classic "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" and slightly over three hours after starting it's all over and we're away to the merchandise stall to get our Wilko albums and posters. No, it wasn't just me. A brilliant night's entertainment and a couple of bona fide legends that can still cut it. What more could you want?
Just for the record: Not added from this newsletter was the 'Cryptgoodword'
to Newsletter Issue 43/May 2006
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