Saturday, 4 January 2014

“Taking No Prisoners (With Gypie 1977-1981)” by DR. FEELGOOD (July 2013 EMI 4CD and 1DVD Book Set of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Night Club...I Paid In...Got A Stamp On My Skin..."

I'm in Hog Heaven - I really am. I know fan affection lies firmly with the original Wilko Johnson line-up of the mighty Dr. Feelgood (Britain's best Pub Rock and R'n'B band) - but for me the John 'Gypie' Mayo line-up was even more mind-blowing than its superlative predecessor. And this truly fantastic jam-packed 5-disc EMI Box Set only hammers that home in spades. Here's the soiled beer mats...

"Taking No Prisoners (With Gypie 1977-1981)" by DR. FEELGOOD is a 4CD/1DVD hardback book-shaped box set issued July 2013 in the UK on EMI 5099901954029 (Barcode 5099901954029) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 - STUDIO (77:45 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Be Seeing You" - UK released in September 1977 on United Artists UAS 30123

Tracks 13 to 22 are the album "Private Practice" - UK released in September 1978 on United Artists UAS 30184

Tracks 23 and 24 are the non-album single "As Long As The Price Is Right" and "Down At The (Other) Doctors".
The A is a 'Second Version' and was issued as a UK 7" single in April 1979 on United Artists UP 36506 (the original mix is on the "Be Seeing You" LP).

Track 25 is "Riding On The L&N (Demo Version)" and is Previously Unreleased.

Disc 2 - STUDIO (76:25 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Let It Roll" - UK released September 1979 on United Artists UAG 30269

Tracks 11 to 22 are the album "A Case Of The Shakes" - UK released September 1980 on United Artists UAG 30311

Tracks 23 and 24 are their final 7" single on UA - "Waiting For Saturday Night" and "Eileen"  - UK released October 1981 on EMI/Liberty BP 404 (with Johnny Guitar).

Disc 3 - LIVE (77:51 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are Previously Unreleased - recorded live "The Paddocks" in Canvey Island on 10 June 1977.

Tracks 13 to 25 are the live album "As It Happens" - UK released June 1979 on United Artist UAK 30239 (with a Free EP - see Disc 4)

Disc 4 - LIVE (68:59 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 4 are the FREE EP given with initial copies of the "As It Happens" LP

Tracks 5 to 11 are Previously Unreleased - recorded live at The Pavilion in Hemel Hempstead 18 October 1978

Tracks 12 to 23 are the live album "On The Job" - UK released August 1981 on Liberty LBG 30328

BBC Sight And Sound Concert Recorded and Broadcast December 1977 (Tracks 1 to 11)
Top Of The Pops Broadcasts - 5 songs from 1977 to 1979
6 Video Clips for 6 songs
Tyne Tees Television clip from "Alright Now" Program July 1980
The South Bank Show recorded June 1981 - Interviews etc

PETER MEW has done the peerless remasters - a man I've raved about on many occasions and an engineer whose handled hundreds of reissue projects. The sound quality here is FABULOUS - punchy, great power and never too amped up to be over trebled. And the full colour 72-page booklet is incredible - full of adverts, single sleeves, live shots, memorabilia, outtakes from album covers - even the 4 discs ape the band-member Toby Jugs on the front cover of "Let It Roll".

For such a beautifully laid out and annotated booklet - it's a little sloppy in places. There's mistaken credits - two same catalogue numbers to "Be Seeing You" and "Private Practice" and a wrong catalogue number to "On The Job" (the right one is supplied above). And the mechanism for getting the disc in and out of their clip positions is more than awkward. They even provide you with a page to tell you how - but I almost broke one or two trying to get them out - so I put them in separate paper CD bags for ease of use - and I advise you to do the same. But these are only minor irritations (worth pointing out though).

I saw this line up in Dublin with The Specials on the same bill - both at the height of their live power. It's a gig I rave about to this day. And I've lost count of the number of "Private Practice" copies I have on vinyl. How good is it to finally hear these superlative albums in truly great sound. I'd admit that the live stuff can become tedious after a while (as it did back in the day when we bought them) - but the unreleased tracks are fantastic - the band clearly relishing a second coming. And the DVD stuff brought tears to my eyes - so many great memories of a band I loved.

As Number 2 said to Number 6 in "The Prisoner" TV Series - "Be Seeing You".
You're too damn right.

The absolute business folks - buy it and enjoy. (I've also reviewed the Wilko Johnson Box Set "All Through The City")

PS: There's an obituary in the Christmas 2013 issue of The Record Collector Magazine for John Mayo who sadly died (aged 62) in October 2013. RIP you rockin' genius.

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