Dr. Feelgood

Primo

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Primo broke one of the longest silences in the Feelgood's recorded career so far -- almost four years had elapsed since Classic, during which time their back catalog had kept their name alive, while touring ensured the edge remained sharp. It wasn't much of a respite then, but it apparently did the band good. Across a clutch of new Will Birch songs, and a succession of deftly selected and executed covers, Primo was indeed primo Feelgoods, from the blistered take on Mickey Jupp's "Standing at the Crossroads Again" to a totally unexpected revision of the Doors' "Been Down So Long." Even the departure, midway through the sessions, of bassist Phil Mitchell could not disturb the Doctor's equilibrium -- Ben Donnelly of the Inmates was brought in to finish a few tracks; sessionman Dave Bronze completed the album. But you need a stethoscope to spot the joins as the album fairly blisters along, adding more bona fide classics to their reputation than any album in a decade -- "Down by the Jetty (Blues)" and "My Baby Quit Me" paramount among them. There was also a neat circularity to it all. Back in 1976, it was the Feelgoods who put up the money to launch the now-legendary Stiff Records label, with the first solo single by singer Nick Lowe. A little over a decade later, the Feelgoods themselves joined the label, just in time to see it fold. Now here they were covering the B-side of that first ever Stiff single, the super-celebratory "Heart of the City." And you can feel the years roll back as they play.

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