Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Pete Gage & Doctor's Order – Live 1998 (CD) - #257

Pete Gage & Doctor's Order – Live 1998 (CD)


Now that I had some time to let it sink in, I still can't make heads nor tails out of this. The fact that Doctor's Order did gigs with Pete Gage well before their debut release? The fact that the 1998 live outing was recorded at all? The release on CD more than twenty years later? The selling of this CD is tagged as sensational and I do tend to agree with this statement.


When I read about the upcoming release, there was mention of the sound quality not up to par but that it had been brushed up and was in an acceptable state (I'm paraphrasing here). While it's definitely not an audiophile reference recording, it's enjoyable to the hilt and you shall be forgiven, if you intended to test your new equipment with this release. In short, it is far better than what I expected from reading about it. Just let me say, I never use the Bass, Treble or Balance on my stereo, but this time I set the Treble to almost a quarter past. And the sound did enhance considerably (probably an audiophile's nightmare, but there you go).



The recording has been made by Rane Mäkinen (what you call an audience recording) and Teppo Nättilä seems to have had a tape all the time, that just saw the light of day recently again. So, this is not a bootleg per se, as it's released by Doctor's Order with their full input and permission. And I suppose with Pete Gage's approval as well.


The recording was done at a place called Beefy Queen in Helsinki on October 21, 1998. And the line-up was:


Pete Gage – Vocals, Hamonica, Piano

Jari Elsilä – Guitar, Backing Vocals

Timo "MadMan" Väätäinen – Drums

Teppo "Teddy Bear" Nättilä – Bass, Backing Vocals

Elsa Kuloniemi (as very special guest) – Slide Guitar 


What you get here are nine tracks at just beyond 33 minutes. I can't say wether this was the whole set, parts have been lost or damaged or wether Pete Gage appeared on only the tracks that are now offered to the public. The whole set consists mainly of Dr. Feelgood songs and covers and, of course, Pete Gage is the man in 1998. The songs you've all heard before, suffice to say the singer does what he used to do in his own band. With his quite recognizable voice, he's the anchor here. Interesting fact, most songs are actually from the Wilko Johnson songbook (see picture). Plus  Johnny Kidd's "Shakin' All Over" (just unkaputtbar) and Mickey Jupp's "Down At The Doctors" etc.



You get a very good idea at what it must have been this evening at the Beefy Queen and you wish you would have been there. But don't cry over spilled milk, there's this substitute available (limited to 100 copies and closing in to zero fast at Blues-Shop) and, yes, it's still not the real thing. But it'll do if you missed it, like I did. The photos that you see on the release were taken by Anita Repo, sleeve design, editing and mastering by Ipi Kaipiainen and the DO logo by Jari Elsilä.





Thursday, May 5, 2022

Lockdown Docs – Back To Basics (LP) - #256

Lockdown Docs – Back To Basics (LP)


A word about the quality of today's LPs: I used to read a lot of forums online and the consent seemed to be that the quality went down the drain since the 60s/70s. I never subscribed to this opinion and to me, people complaining about imaginary shortcomings of vinyl either bought the latest Celine Dion (who jumped onboard the train, because it was/is the hip thing to do). But don't restrict it to Mrs Dion, there's a certain Helene Fischer (German Schlagerkitsch) who's flooding the market with LPs. The point is, there were and are always quality pressings available, but if you buy the big sellers, which amounts to probably 5000+ copies these days, you get what you asked for. Pressings made in the Czech Republic, on a sandy beach with no lights on. Throughout the 90s/00s/10s etc., there were lots of quality pressings on the market, granted, mostly from independent sources. When the world was complaining, I still got my Punk records and not a fault in sight. I bought "Sticky Fingers" (new and sealed) and it looked like it came directly from a recycling landfill. I got the Lockdown Docs "Back To Basics" and every self declared audiophile would shed tears because this is the holy grail with regards to pressings. Dead quiet (except the music, of course), flat as the earth (no warps), perfect outside circle and the middle hole is exactly where it's supposed to be. I've stopped reading those forums and magazines a while back.


And now we have the Lockdown Docs putting one up. I was quite surprised when I heard of the imminent release of their third offer (the previous two being on CD). Haptically and sonically a treat and the rest is, as they say, history. You don't need to read between the lines to realize I'm impressed. And they even left the sand on the beaches in Finland. "Back To Basics" is the name of the game and the basics in this case are Dr. Feelgood, Doctor's Order and the Pirates (in no particular order). Of the ten tracks, eight are straight out of the Dr. Feelgood songbook (to the layman this spells covers), but more about this later. One is a Doctor's Order track from way back and "Honey Hush" is a Pirates cover.



The band is going the way they laid out with the two earlier digital tasters, that is to say, no prisoners taken British style R'n'B heading in the right direction. Strange how this differs from country to country. In my neck of the woods, this kind of music wouldn't get you fame and glory and 200 kilometers east of here, you'd be the star of the show. Also, the sound is great, probably digitally processed, but there are very few all AAA releases these days. Most studios are just not equipped anymore to handle real analogue recordings (including analogue cutting for the final product). I know, we've all heard these Dr Feelgood tracks over and over again, but here, they sound fresh and were given a new lease of life. The Lockdown Docs don't pretend to be Dr Feelgood, they're faithful to the originals and even more important, they do not ape the Canvey four's song book. There's a touch of Lockdown Docs signature there. Beautiful execution. Top musicianship and a splendid job. I want to mention Jonatan Nurminen, because the singer gives the vocals a very own colourization and doesn't try to step into Lee Brilleaux's shoes, yet he's in control throughout.


"Honey Hush" is, of course, a Pirates cover and, as with all the tracks on the LP, I wouldn't want to miss it. "So It Is" comes directly from the Doctor's Order debut and is penned by Archie Hämäläinen himself. This is one of the top three tracks from his earlier band and with the mentioning of Lee Brilleaux in the lyrics, it's a fine tribute and still, even with the time passed, an excellent song with a hook that won't let you forget it. Highly recommended release by this newish band from Finland. I got my copy directly from the band (thanks a bunch) and Blues Shop in Finland used to sell some, but it seems to be sold out there (maybe they will restock the record) or try Goofin in Helsinki which is another outlet carrying the item.


A word regarding "So It Is": There's an earlier vinyl version (7" single) available that comes with the book "From Roxette To Ramona / Dr. Feelgood And Wilko Johnson On Record". Copies are still available. Contact me if you're interested in the book and the record (dr_feelgood (at) bluewin.ch). I'll send you the details re price, payment etc.