Tuesday, 18 November 2008

"Down By The Jetty" by DR. FEELGOOD (June 2006 EMI 'Collector's Edition' 2CD Edition - Peter Mew Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...They Did It Right..."

The Feelgood’s original Lead Guitarist Wilko Johnson had always adored Johnny Kidd & The Pirates and especially their guitar player Mick Green. And tucked away on the B-side of their 1964 hit "Always & Forever" (HMV POP 1269) was an obscure cover version of a Piano Red song from 1962 on Okeh Records called "Doctor Feelgood" (Red's group was actually called Dr. Feelgood & The Interns). Wilko chose this apt name for his new rockin' band - and a kick ass British Rhythm 'n' Blues legend was born.

The line up for their 1975 debut was:
LEE BRILLEAUX on Lead Vocals and Harmonica
WILKO JOHNSON on Lead Guitar and Vocals
THE BIG FIGURE on Drums and Vocals (real name John Martin)

This June 2006 UK COLLECTORS EDITION of "Down By The Jetty" by DR. FEELGOOD on EMI 363 9512 (Barcode 094636395128) is a 2CD Remasters celebration of their explosive 1975 debut album "Down By The Jetty" - and is an absolute peach of a reissue - it really is. There's a lot on offer here so let's get to the dark-glasses and zoot-suit shuffle right away:

Disc 1 (56:33 minutes):
1. She Does It Right
2. Boom Boom
3. The More I Give
4. Roxette
5. One Weekend
6. That Ain't The Way To Behave
7. I Don't Mind
8. Twenty Yards Behind
9. Keep It Out Of Sight
10. All Through The City
11. Cheque Book
12. Oyeh!
13. Bonie Moronie/Tequila [Live]
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "Down By The Jetty" issued in January 1975 on United Artists UAS 29727. It was deliberately recorded and issued in MONO. 11 of the 13 tracks are Wilko Johnson originals complimented by two covers - "Boom Boom" by John Lee Hooker and the Larry Williams and The Champs duo of "Bonie Moronie/Tequila" ("Bonie Moronie/Tequila" ends the album and was recorded live at Dingwalls in 1974 - some of the rest of that live set now turns up on Disc 2 - see below).

14. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 - a Bobby Troup/Nat King Cole/Chuck Berry cover version and the non-album B-side to their debut 7" single in the UK "She Does It Right" issued November 1974 on United Artists UP 35760. The A-side opens Side 1 of the album.

15. I'm A Hog For You Baby [Studio Version, Mono]
16. Stupidity [Studio Version, Mono]
17. She Said Alright [Studio Version, Mono]
18. Oyeh! [Studio Version, Mono]
NOTES: Tracks 15 to 18 are Previously Unreleased MONO Studio Outtakes from the sessions. Tracks 15 and 16 later turned up on their third LP in 'live' form - the Number 1 album "Stupidity" issued in September 1976.

Disc 2 (76:23 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 (same as Disc 1) are the "Down By The Jetty" studio album issued for the first time in STEREO minus the last track - the duo of live covers.

13. I'm A Hog For You Baby [Stereo]
14. Stupidity [Stereo]
15. She Said Alright [Stereo]
16. Oyeh! (Earlier Version) [Stereo]
Tracks 13 to 16 are studio outtakes from the sessions in STEREO

17. Tore Down
18. Don't You Just Know It
19. My Babe
20. The More I Give
21. It's My Own Fault Darlin'
22. Bonie Moronie/Tequila
23. Rock Me Baby
NOTES: All 23 tracks on Disc 2 are Previously Unreleased. Tracks 17 to 23 were recorded live in Dingwalls in Camden Lock, London, 8 July 1974 - the same date as "Boney Moronie/Tequila (Live)" – the last track on the LP.

Recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth in the Wye Valley of Wales in August 1974, "Jetty" was produced `live in the studio' by Vic Maile of The Who's "Live At Leeds" fame. The 2CDs are housed in a 4-way foldout digipak with an outer plastic wrap and the 12-page booklet has liner notes by WILL BIRCH, a repro of the United Artists press release and colour outtakes from the album cover sessions. There's also a brief interview with Wilko Johnson, Bob Geldof (the Rats were huge fans), track-by-track details, reissue credits etc. They abandoned the colour cover and eventually used photos on the front and back that deliberately aped the black and white pose and look of the MC5 album "Back In The USA" (the Feelgoods were big fans).

Remastered from the 1st generation tapes by PETER MEW at Abbey Road - the sound quality is FANTASTIC - everything you would have hoped for - really clean, muscular and live in your living room. Some of the stereo tracks do have a slightly lop-sided two-channel feel to them, but it's still a thrill to hear them in this form - their menace and almost punk excitement undiminished by decades. Megastore prices for the hard copy can be as high as £22, online it's about £15 and from iTunes at only £10 - the complete 2CD download is fabulous value for money.

To sum up - this is a great reissue of an album that thoroughly deserves the Deluxe Edition treatment. The Feelgoods are beloved in the UK and way beyond - and a version of the original British band is still gigging to this day - 40 years after the event. In 2014 original band founder-member Wilko Johnson blasted his way back into the charts and R’n’B hearts everywhere with his collaboration album “Going Back Home” fronted to blistering effect by The Who’s Roger Daltrey. There's talk of a second LP sometime in 2016...

In fact I once saw Frontman and Lead Singer Lee Brilleaux clacking his way down Berwick Street in Central London in 1989 in his steel-capped loafers and sharp suit looking like a mobster with a bit between his teeth. He was gone by so fast I hadn't time to stop him and tell him how much I loved him and every incarnation of the band since. It's a slight memory I know - but one I cherish.

The 'Feelgoods' sent shivers down my backbone...they did it right. Get this rocking sucker in your life as soon as is humanly possible. And God bless you mate wherever you may be...

For further knowledge/info - the book "Down By The Jetty" pictured below is recommended.


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