Sunday, September 5, 2021

Dr. Feelgood - Down By The Jetty (Stereo) - No. 251

Dr. Feelgood - Down By The Jetty (Stereo)

Just pulled my 2006 release of "Down By The Jetty" out, to listen to the Stereo version of this album. As every Dr. Feelgood aficionado knows, the tracks were recorded in Stereo and on Wilko Johnson's insistence were folded to Mono. For the last 45 years I've known my "Down By The Jetty" to be this gritty piece of Rock/Rock'n'Roll/R'n'B (British style) and my opinion about one of the masterpieces in the history of Rock is not going to change, Not a fraction. I can only debate wether this or "Malpractice" is at the top. Both are stellar albums.

When I heard about the 2006 release of both the Mono and the Stereo version on CD, I was pretty much excited and bought it immediately on release. Besides the tracks of the original albums and the remixes of the new Stereo release, you get a number of additional tracks. At the time I was quite pleased with the results. And filed the CDs away. I have listened to the "Collectors Edition" maybe three or four times in the intervening years and there wasn't any reason to complain. I say "wasn't" which might point out that there's a problem come 2021. 


My go to release is and will be an unremixed and unremastered (except the master of the first release, of course) vinyl copy (there's enough of them in my collection to have a choice). Listening to the Stereo version in ages, it hit me like the proverbial brickwall just to realise how bad the mix is. I mean, it's extremely bad. Worse than bad. In 2006 I thought it was a pretty neat piece of work. Now I do realise that the mixing/mastering engineer had no clue as to what Dr. Feelgood represented and it was in fact only a rush job to him. 

I'm only speaking about the second CD here. Dr. Feelgood were always a rough sounding band, even when they were trying to come across mellow and well behaved. What you get here is a great album mixed to within an inch of its life. Soulless, boring, dancing hall style, brightened up to glitter and diamonds and just dead in the water. I don't know wether this sounds like anything on the original Stereo tapes, but I don't think so. And I have sneakin' suspicion that there's more to it than "just" a remix, I believe that there's been a lot added no end. 


Maybe it's just my form of the day, but this comes across as a waste of time. Don't get me wrong, this is Dr. Feelgood after all and complaining on a high level but the original band and the hardcore fans haven't deserved this. Of course, never having heard the original tapes, I might be under the wrong impression what they are and what the condition is. This thin sounding piece of mediocre dance music in a Saturday night disco down he road doesn't do justice at all to one of the best bands the world has ever seen. My one question now, how can I've been so wrong all these years? I believe the joy of getting a Stereo version hid the shortcomings of the release even though it was (or should have been) quite easy to hear.

It does somtimes work the other way around as well. "Mad Man Blues" on the French label Lolita was my first copy and I could never get to grips with the release. It sounded too much like Heavy Metal und unbalanced with a really bad sound. That is, until I bought further versions from other labels and suddenly the sun went up. This is by no means the fault of the band, but just shoddy work on the part of the label. In conclusion, I'm still somehow grateful that EMI released the "Down By The Jetty" double Collectors Edition CD, because Grand was probably never really able to manage their releases properly.




flector - Live At Bar Manhattan, Rheinfelden/Switzerland on September 3, 2021 - No. 250

 flector - Live At Bar Manhattan, Rheinfelden/Switzerland on September 3, 2021

This was my very first gig after the Covid-19 epidemic reared its ugly head at the beginning of 2020. Not that one or the other concert didn't happen, but with all the restrictions in place, it somewhat takes the fun away. At the moment they have been loosened a bit, so grab your chance to get a shot of your favourite music live. flector have been sidelined as well due to Covid-19 and the lack of gigging opportunities, but thankfully, they're back on track. With a new line-up to boot.

The Bar Manhattan in Rheinfelden/Switzerland is a small venue with quite a run of concerts. The upcoming events show one gig at least per week. I knew the place, but have to admit, I've never been there and this will surely change in future. Enough of the trivia, this is about flector and their stunning performance at the aforementioned place. Just so that all cards are on the table, I know Carlo Gartenmann since about 15+ years ago when he did a splendid job on the "From Roxette To Rosanne" book, so my opinion about flector is clearly somewhat tainted. But I swear, it's the truth and nothing but the truth.

The band calls their music spheric Hardrock (in a nutshell). Make of it what you want, but it might lead you into a false direction, although I have to admit, I struggle with the term "spheric", because with it, I associate a band noodling their way through a set with no end in sight (I have a Jazzrock phobia dating back to the 70s, where bands pretended to play Fusion and all you could hear was outfits not knowing what they were doing - and this comes from a Free Jazz, Noise, Industrial and Avantgarde fan). "Spheric" might be there, but what you really get is a tight playing band (see further down below).

flector play original songs only and I'm not exaggerating when I say, the quality of their songwriting is up there with the best. It's their very own music, although sometimes a bit of Pink Floyd shines through and I even heard the name Kansas mentioned in conversation. However, make no mistakes, flector are not a cover band (obviously) and they don't ape the Classic Rock years. The songs have a very high recognition value and more than enough power to blowdry your hair in front of the stage. The sound was very good, although as per Carlo, it was really their rehearsal backline in use at this time. Very clear, no clipping, well below the threshold were any tinnitus would be acting up and yet loud enough to keep anyone from falling asleep.

Last seen, a drummer!

One word I heard often was "perfection" and the phrase "they really know what they are doing" and I won't disagree with those statements. Back to the sound itself: I've heard good bands playing through shitty backlines and, of course, awful bands making themselves heard through equally bad equipment (or set-up or just because the guy at the soundboard lost his hearing completely by decades of "mixing" some band with the credo of "the louder the better and noone will have an idea anyway"). 


I will say, the band was rocking as in R-O-C-K with more than a share of Prog and I mean this in a positive way (I use the term Prog even though it's one of the most over- and misused descriptions of a genre in music). A gig with flector speaks more to the rocker in you than the intellectual nerd, but the music is quite a long way off the MOR route. 

The current line-up

Adi Baba- Keyboards/Synthesizers

Jean Blume - Bass/Backing Vocals

Rolf Wiking - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals

Matt Mc Allan - Drums/Backing Vocals

Carlo Gartenmann - Guitar/Harp/Vocals


The only drawback of this gig, the number of punters was well below what I expected. flector would have earned a larger audience but the real troopers that they are, they played like it was packed. I'm not sure, but I do believe at the most, we're talking about 40 people in attendance. Might have to do with flector hailing from Winterthur (Eastern Switzerland) and they have not made their name in the Basel area. Hopefully this will change in future and we'll see more of the band.

Head over to the band's website at to keep up to date with what's going on in the flector camp (plus you can listen to some of their songs). I did ask Carlo about a full CD coming up and as usual, it's a financial problem, especially when you want to deliver quality over quantity. The band certainly has enough songs to fill a CD without thinking twice about it. I do hope they will go the crowdfunding route to help get this up and running.