Dr Feelgood

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A couple of years back, whilst paying a visit to some good friends in Leigh-on-Sea (Essex, UK) I got to sit on what has become known colloquially as ‘The Lee Brilleaux bench’. The late former frontman and blues harp player of Dr Feelgood passed away for a better place back in 1994 and, although the band continue (albeit without any original members now), the heyday years from 1971 to 1977 when Wilco Johnson left were (imho) their best.

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Ian Dury & the Blockheads

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Found in 1978 by Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera, Stiff Records was established at the outset of the punk/new wave boom and immediately signed acts as diverse as Nick Lowe, The Damned, Lene Lovich, Wreckless Eric, Plummet Airlines, Elvis Costello, Devo and Ian Dury.

Having previously headed ‘Kilburn & the Highroads’, Dury and his new backing band ‘The Blockheads’ went on to release four massive albums under Stiff…

    • New Boots and Panties (1977)
    • Do it Yourself (1978)
    • Laughter (1980), and
    • Jukebox Dury (1981)

Ian Dury lost his battle against cancer and left in March 2000. He was 57.

The Dandy Warhols

Courtney Taylor-Taylor, lead singer and guitarist from The Dandy Warhols, claims that he learned to sing from a tour with Ian Mcculloch (Echo & the Bunnymen)…

That was when I learned how to sing. It was our first real tour and I remember watching him every night just be absolutely awesome and thinking to myself, “Ok, I can do that”

Dire Straits

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The opening track to Dire Straits self-titled 1978 debut is ‘Down to the Waterline’

Although originally from Scotland, this song is a love-tryst tale from lead singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler’s teenage years in the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

References to the ‘waterline’ include inferences to the Dog Leap Stairs, an ancient set of stone steps leading down from the Castle Keep to the Newcastle Quayside.

Death in Vegas

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Founded by Richard Fearless, Death in Vegas describe themselves as masters of the psychedelic trip hop genre. Formed in London in 1994, the band originally signed to Concrete Records under the name ‘Dead Elvis’. But, following complaints from the Elvis Presley estate, changed their name a little. ‘Dead Elvis’ became the title of the 1997 debut album instead.

Here’s the stunning ‘All that Glitters, the opening track from the debut, featuring the vocal talents of Ranking Roger.

Catatonia

Fronted by Cerys Matthews, Catatonia were formed in Cardiff in 1992. Their second album release “International Velvet” rose to the coveted Number 1 slot in the album charts and spawned two top ten singles to boot – ‘Molder & Scully” and ‘Road Rage”. Much of the album was recorded in Welsh, the title track being no exception.

Deffrwch Cymry csygld galad y gan

Dwfn yw’are gwendid

Bychan yw y fflam

Creulon yw’are cynhaeaf

ond per yw’are don

‘Da’ alaw’are alarch onig

Yb fy mron

Awaken sleepy Wales, land of glory

Deep is the weakness, small is the flame

Cruel is the harvest but fair is the tune

With the song of the lonely swan in my heart

Followed by the chorus to labour the point (just in case you missed it)  – “Every day when I wake up I thank the Lord I’m Welsh

Canned Heat

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Living the Blues was Canned Heat’s third album, released in November 1968. One of the first double albums to do well in the album charts, it featured Canned Heat’s signature song ‘Going up the Country’ later to feature in the film version of Woodstock. But the album was most notable for sides 3 and 4. Both are devoted to one track recorded live at the Kaleidoscope, Hollywood, California in the summer of 1968 – “Refried Boogie” just over 41 minutes in length!

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