The legendary British rhythm’n’blues band Dr Feelgood return with ‘Damn Right!‘, their first album of all-original material. Up until now, the group have nearly always mixed covers with self-penned songs but for their latest release guitarist Gordon Russell and singer Robert Kane have come up with eleven new tracks meaning there’s not a cover version in sight.
These are exciting times for one of the UK’s best loved and hardest working bands. The classic Dr Feelgood line-up of Lee Brilleaux, Wilko Johnson, John B Sparks and The Big Figure turned the British music scene on its head, paving the way for punk rock and the New Wave era. With a number one album – the live set ‘Stupidity‘ – and a top 10 single – ‘Milk And Alcohol’ – Canvey Island’s finest had become a must-see band and that’s how they’re still regarded in 2022.
Inevitably, there have been changes in personnel since the glory days of the 1970s but the current line-up is rooted in the 1980s when founder Lee Brilleaux kept the ship afloat by recruiting Southend rhythm section Kevin Morris and Phil Mitchell along with a young guitarist from the other side of the Thames estuary – Gordon Russell. That combo recorded four albums together and in doing so re-established Dr Feelgood as a force to be reckoned with.
Sadly, Lee Brilleaux left this world in 1994 but in line with his wishes Dr Feelgood set sail again and it wasn’t long before singer Robert Kane took over lead vocal duties. Gordon Russell’s first tenure with the group had ended several years before Lee’s death but he’s delighted to be back in the fold: “There aren’t many people who take a 32 year sabbatical but I’m loving being back. It feels like being in a gang. We all hit it off and I’m incredibly proud of the new album.”
‘Damn Right!‘ was recorded in Southend and reunited the group with world-renowned bassist Dave Bronze in his other role as producer. He knows the band better than most, having been a big part of the Dr Feelgood story in the early 1990s. Drummer Kevin Morris says the album was made in true Dr Feelgood fashion – quickly: “We had two days of rehearsals, then four days in the studio. The studio has a nice big room so we moved everything into there and did the whole thing in the round. Gordon was very much the musical director with Dave and the engineer Rees Broomfield getting it all down on tape ready to mix.”
The songs themselves had come together with very little fuss too, as Gordon explains: “I put the tunes down and then sent them to Robert to sort the lyrics. It didn’t take long for us to have enough songs for the album. We get on really well and I’m so proud of all the tracks we’ve come up with. Me and Robert are on the same wavelength both on stage and on it. I couldn’t be happier with life.”
The album’s first single, ‘Mary Ann’, is a product of Robert & Gordon. Robert explains “She’s a fictional character who Gordon came up with when he first put the music together. I decided to turn her into a spoiled kid and the rest of the words soon followed.”
Dr Feelgood have always done their own songs but this impressive new album – their first studio set since 2006 – heralds an exciting new era. Now that Covid is easing, the band’s workload is returning to pre-pandemic levels. With an amazing new record to celebrate as well, the Feelgood factor is back – ‘Damn Right!‘ it is!
‘Damn Right!‘ is out November 4th on Grand Records.
Pre-save the album: here
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