Every Friday evening the programming on BBC 4 is devoted to music, showing documentaries about artists and musical styles and pulling out archive material from performances on long defunct music programmes such as Top of the Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test. Last Friday 70’s rock was on the agenda with a documentary about Graham Parker (of Graham Parker and the Rumour fame) and clips of artists such as Ducks Deluxe, the Pretenders, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and, the best of the lot in my biased opinion, Dr. Feelgood.
The programmes culminated in a showing of Julian Temple’s film "Oil City Confidential" about the band. I’d seen the film when it was shown at the Odeon in Manchester Printworks as part of a special event where the film was screened at a number of selected cinemas around the country and wrote up a review on the blog here.
Dr. Feelgood were a raw R&B band from Canvey Island who were very popular in the 70’s. I was a big fan at the time. Their raw style pre-empted punk to some degree and they were certainly an influence on the likes of Joe Strummer and Johnny Rotten. Their original guitarist, Wilko Johnson, is one of my guitar heroes, he has a very distinctive style mixing rhythm and lead together. He’s still around, but only just. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has only a few months to live. His response? To go on a farewell tour! That’s what I call rock and roll.
But Wilko will be sadly missed. His distinctive guitar style, manic stage presence and eccentric character.