Dr. Feelgood

BBC Sessions 1973-1978

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This is a companion volume to 1999's Live at the BBC, 1974-5, and a little confusing in that regard, as it was evidently intended to cover the John "Gypie" Mayo lineup of the band -- but fully 13 of the 21 cuts here go back to 1973-1975, overlapping with the contents of the earlier disc, and feature Wilko Johnson on lead guitar (not that anyone is complaining about that). Those first 13 cuts, from "She Does It Right" through "Route 66," smoke right off the CD, and easily rate alongside anything the original lineup ever generated in the studio. The eight songs that follow, from sessions on John Peel's radio show and featuring the post-Johnson lineup, are well played but several come off as less inspired and more generic despite the obvious effort being made by the band on numbers like "She's a Wind-Up" and "Baby Jane." However, the last two cuts, "Down at the Doctor's" and "Sugar Shaker," show everyone in top form and every musical nuance clicking perfectly. The sound is excellent and the annotation by Stephen Foster shows an intimate knowledge of and sincere appreciation for the group.

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