Dr. Feelgood

Get Rhythm: The Best of Dr. Feelgood 1984-1987

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In all honesty, very few fans would call the mid-'80s "The Best of Dr. Feelgood" but this 2013 double-disc set from Salvo does an admirable job in trying to restore the reputation of the latter years of the Feelgoods, when they were left without either Wilko Johnson or Gypie Mayo, leaving Lee Brilleaux to assemble a whole new lineup of the group. He did this in 1983, after Fast Women & Slow Horses, a record that essentially ended the original lineup, and he came back with guitarist Gordon Russell, bassist P.H. Mitchell, and drummer Kevin Morris, a lineup that debuted on 1984's Doctor's Orders. Much of that record is on Get Rhythm, along with its comparatively raw and excellent blues sequel Mad Man Blues, plus the entirety of 1986's Brilleaux and 1987's Classic, the two records the Feelgoods recorded for the dying Stiff Records. Individual album tracks are missing but this is about as complete as a diehard could want because this was a patchy period for the group, as not only did the '80s look unkindly on such greasy rock & roll throwbacks, but the group desperately chased after trends, culminating on the synthesized and sequenced Stiff Records. There are moments here that click -- notably, the Will Birch co-write "Hunting Shooting Fishing" has the spark of prime latter-day Dave Edmunds -- but the electronic period gloss can be outright embarrassing, especially when the group deigns to cover something like Bobby Charles' "See You Later Alligator." Whenever the group stumbles into appealing MTV AOR, as on "Break These Chains," it's entirely accidental; the sound works in spite of the group. Ultimately, Get Rhythm gets the nod over such similar collections of the same period -- like 2006's The Complete Stiff Recordings -- because those pre-Stiff records were looser, especially in the case of Mad Man Blues, so their addition results in a better compilation.

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