A good day yesterday. The postman delivered an eagerly-awaited package containing the DVD of Seven Psychopaths, and the CD boxset of Doctor Feelgood (1974-77 the Wilko years). Now I know that Wilko is not a psychopath, but back in the early 70’s his performances certainly gave a good impression of one. Good enough to justify the contrived title of this post.
I’m saving the film for the weekend when I can watch it with Jayne. We both enjoyed In Bruges, and this is from the same people so I have high expectations of it.
I couldn’t show the same patience with the Feelgood set though, and the bonus DVD went straight onto the player.
The set itself contains all Dr. Feelgood’s first four albums in their entirety. That in itself is worth the small cost. On top of that there is a disc full of extra stuff, the usual unreleased tracks, demos, b-sides and the like that you find on such collections. Sometimes you get a box set or a remastered album and the extras fail to deliver, being just very slightly different mixes, or something that was unreleased for very good reason. In this case the extras would just about justify buying the box set even of you already have the 4 ‘proper’ albums.
There are 24 tracks, including a couple of real gems, namely a live version of Roxette from before Wilko came up with the riff for it and it was a sort of doo-wop track. The other standout track is the song that should have been on the Sneakin’ Suspicion album but somehow got missed off – Everybody’s Carrying A Gun along with a mighty 8-minute jam version of the same song. The 40-page booklet in contains a long piece by Wilko that describes the circumstances of a lot of the extra tracks.
And what about the DVD? A large chunk of it (9 tracks) is from the 1975 Kursall concert that features on the excellent Going Back Home DVD, so I already had it. Other than that you get 7 tracks from a 1975 TV show calkled The Geordie Scene. Some of these are quite familiar from various clip shows, but I’m pretty sure I hadn’t seen all of them. There are 3 tracks from TOGWT and one from another TV show. At the end are a couple of live songs from a festival in Finland plus an interview with the band.
I’ve seen clips of the interview before, which is in its own way hilarious. The sound and picture are a little ropey but fascinating and all the more impressive once you notice that it appears to have been done with a single camera.
All the concert and TV footage is hugely entertaining. I know Wilko had this wide-eyed and unhinged image but its Lee Brilleaux who is the truly scary one. You wouldn’t want to mess with him. What is most telling is when you see the looks that Wilko gives him. You get a sense of a sort of hero worship, which makes it all the sadder when you think about how it all fell apart.
The band with Wilko were totally hypnotic with the rock solid and too-often overlooked rhythm section (Big Figure and Sparks both playing effortlessly) behind Wilko’s manic, stabbing guitar and Brilleaux’s total geezer, aggressive vocals. The only thing that comes close to this is Gang of Four.
For less than fifteen quid this is an absolute bargain!