Tuesday, 21 June 2016

"Dr. Feelgood And The Interns" by DR. FEELGOOD and THE INTERNS [feat Piano Red] (1962 Stereo LP inside the 1993 Bear Family CD Box Set "The Doctor's In!") - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Bald-Headed Lena...She's Alright With Me...”

Like Amos Milburn, Smiley Lewis and Nellie Lutcher – Georgia's Willie L. Perryman (PIANO RED to you and I) was a Rhythm 'n' Blues giant and a wonder on the old Johanna. The albino boogie-woogie player even boasted that he was filled with the 'Spirit of the Universe' and that his rollicking music was 'medicine' for the great unwashed – leaving them 'feeling good for weeks after I'm gone'. And on the evidence of this rather fabulous but completely forgotten 1962 R 'n' B album on Okeh Records – who am I to disagree.

PIANO RED adopted the moniker DOCTOR FEELGOOD and THE INTERNS for his 2nd LP proper with the US label Okeh Records. Their self-titled debut "Dr. Feelgood And The Interns" was released June 1962 in the USA on Okeh Records OKM 12101 (Mono) and Okeh OKS 14101 (Stereo).

Best place in my books to locate the CD variant is inside "The Doctor's in!" by PIANO RED – a 4CD LP-Sized Box Set released December 1993 on Bear Family BCD 15685 DI (Barcode 4000127156853). 

The first twelve-tracks on Disc 4 feature the STEREO mix of the album and play out as follows (66:22 minutes):

Side 1:
1. Doctor Feel-good
2. I'll Give You Anything
3. The Swabble
4. I'll Be Home One Day
5. I Ain't Gonna Be A Low Down Dog No More
6. Bald-Headed Lena

Side 2:
1. What's Up, Doc
2. Mister Moonlight
3. Sea Breeze
4. Right String But The Wrong Yo-Yo
5. Love Is Amazing
6. Don't Let Me Catch You Wrong

Wilko Johnson's British pub-rock band DR. FEELGOOD took their name from this LP and band (via a Johnny Kidd & The Pirates 45 B-side cover on HMV Records) - and you can hear why. "Doctor Feel-good" is great fun - immediately chugging its way into your heart all the way down to your feet. Piano Red tells how he likes 'big women' - 400 pounds or better - and girlies had better pour on the pounds when the Doctor is in the house. "I'll Give Anything" doesn't quite work but the "The Swabble" is great.

It's here you catch the Remaster. WALTER DeVENNE and BOB JONES – both highly experienced Audio Engineers – did the Discs transfers and Mastering (Bob Jones was sadly lost to us a few years back). The Stereo on these cuts is fantastic. Other boogie treats include the witty "I Ain't Gonna Be Your Low Down Dog No More" recorded at the same 31 May 1961 session that gave us the brill "Right String But The Wrong Yo-Yo". While ballad covers of "Mister Moonlight" and "Sea Breeze" feel a little out of place amidst all the boppers ("Mr. Moonlight" was famously covered by The Beatles on their December 1964 UK LP "The Beatles For Sale") - I'm a goner for "Bald-Headed Lena" where Willie name-checks women's names and their rhyming merits. The whole album feels like a long lost R&B dancer with a couple of slowies in-between to give proceedings a bit of balance.

Bear Family Box Sets are the stuff of legend and I suppose it's a costly way of acquiring one album from 1962 - but "Doctor Feelgood And The Interns" is an overlooked boogie-woogie LP worth seeking out. And after all that hip-shaking mama - it's time for a lie down...

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