Dr. Feelgood

Classic

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By 1987, Dr. Feelgood had been churning out their raw variety of Canvey R&B for so long that even the newest songs sounded ferociously familiar. But Classic probably wasn't the most aptly named album in their canon, simply because it is anything but. No complaints about the music, even allowing for a less-than-enthused take on "See You Later, Alligator." A gritty cover of Dylan's "Highway 61" is utterly inspired, while Will Birch and Kevin Morris had moved firmly ahead as the band's most dynamic source of new material. Even astride the broadest stage on the planet, the Feelgoods were a bar band, grinding out their gravel-edged blues with a bottle in one hand and a switchblade in the other, and Classic's contents spell that out from the start. But somewhere between stage and studio, it all went horribly wrong, and Classic emerges so absurdly over-produced that you need to physically hack your way through the horns and backing singers in the hope of finding the band...yes, that's them, that bad-tempered grumble at the back of the room, somewhere behind producer Pip Williams' apparent conviction that a song the caliber of "I Just Wanna Make Love to You" has spent its entire life crying out for a keyboard wash. The Feelgoods made a lot of great albums and a lot of so-so ones. Classic, however, is the first that can be called truly awful. And it seems to know it as well -- the best song is called "Quit While You're Behind."

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