Dr. Feelgood

Singled Out: The UA/Liberty A's B's & Rarities

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There have been so many Dr. Feelgood reissues from Grand Records that it's easy to forget they were a UA/Liberty/EMI act. This three-disc British import is a reminder, EMI's way of covering the group's historical high-points, and it's a little strange in that it does so from the standpoint of their 45 rpm releases. That is, albums were a bug chunk of what Dr. Feelgood did, and Grand's Twenty-Five Years of Dr. Feelgood is a better history, if only for incorporating lots of LP tracks. On the other hand, this 49-song compilation is a lot of fun, putting the A-sides on one CD, the B-sides on another, and the rarities on the third, like three See for Miles CDs assembled together. The first disc's content will be the most familiar, with the material on the second not too far behind, but disc three is unique, opening with a pair of cuts credited to the Oil City Sheiks, one of which, "Blues Jam," is a rare slow blues instrumental from this crew. The rest of that disc is comprised mostly of live sides off various odd bonus and promotional 45s, and closes with a quartet of acoustic, live-in-the-studio tracks by the 2000 vintage version of the band. Their concert versions of "The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock 'n' Roll" and "Lights Out," released in June of 1979, were the kind of records that weren't getting made (or released) by too many people this side of the Flamin' Groovies. Tracks like that, coupled with the A- and B-sides, constitute a kind of hidden, highly potent underside to '70s music, separate from punk, new age, power pop, or any of the other fads that boomed, bloomed, and wilted in that decade. Astonishingly, these guys actually topped the charts in England, which made them even more significant culturally than the Groovies. The sound is excellent and the notes are well-written and entertaining, but, as with the annotation on most of the Dr. Feelgood material out there, they're more stylish than deep or informative.

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