Thursday Night Music Byte
Dr. Feelgood are a British pub rock band, which formed in mid 1971. The name of the band is slang for heroin, or for doctors who are prepared to overprescribe drugs. Hailing from Canvey Island, Essex, they are best known for early singles like “Back in the Night” and “Roxette”. Although their most commercially productive years were the early to mid 1970s, they continue to tour and record to this day. The band (much like Elvis Costello and Dave Edmunds) provided a pre-punk alternative to the overproduced glamour rock bands that dominated the mid to late 1970’s.
The group’s original distinctively British R&B sound was centered on Wilko Johnson’s choppy guitar style. Along with Johnson, the original band line-up comprised John B. Sparks (bass guitar), John Martin aka The Big Figure (drummer) and Lee Brilleaux (vocals).
Like many pub rock acts, Dr. Feelgood were known primarily for their high energy live performances, although studio albums like Down by the Jetty (1974) and Malpractice (1975) were also popular. Their breakthrough 1976 live album, Stupidity, reached number one in the UK Albums Chart (their only chart-topper). But after the follow-up Sneakin’ Suspicion, Johnson left the group due to perceived conflicts with Lee Brilleaux. He was replaced by John ‘Gypie’ Mayo. With Mayo, the band was never as popular as with Johnson, but still enjoyed their only Top Ten hit single in 1979, with “Milk and Alcohol”. Johnson never achieved any great success outside of the band and fans always speculated about a return by Johnson that never occurred. Brilleaux, died of cancer on 7 April 1994.
Please enjoy this video clip of Dr. Feelgood performing “Keep It Out Of Sight“, “Roxette” and “She Does It Right” in 1975. If you are anything like me, you will love this band.