While cleaning up the house, dusting off the bookshelves meant looking at that stack of records (lined up in alphabetical order by artist, of course), randomly grabbing an LP and remembering why you held onto it all these years:

Because you were the only person that ever owned it or played it, that's why! And while no one else in your immediate circle of music-geek-record-collector friends ever liked it, it's still one of your all-time faves, so screw 'em.

The LP I took out was "Sneakin' Suspicion" (1977), the third and final album from the original line-up of British "pub rockers" Dr. Feelgood. These guys were supposedly notorious for blazing live shows and the personnel listing on the back cover tells you all you need to know about this band, really: John B. Sparks - bass and backing vocals, Lee Brilleaux - vocals, slide guitar and harmonica, The Big Figure - drums, percussion and backing vocals, Wilko Johnson - guitar and vocals.

 

C'mon, how can you not dig a band where the drummer's name is "The Big Figure" and the bass player's last name is "Sparks"?. This album was my introduction to "Nothin' Shakin' (But The Leaves On The Trees)", a rather stompin' 1958 blues classic that I later learned was also covered by The Beatles at their BBC sessions. Other cool titles reveal the Feelgood modus operandi: "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut", "Walking On The Edge", "Lights Out", "Lucky Seven", etc.

These guys weren't fancy, just straight-forward no-holds-barred blues-'n'-boogie, and not one of the tracks outstays its welcome (the longest one clocks in at 4 min.). Fans of Savoy Brown and The Yardbirds early stuff will find much to admire here.

Sometimes the most satisfying meals are just meat and potatoes. So it is with Dr. Feelgood. "Sneakin' Suspicion" definitely delivers. A great album!

 

Stephen King Over the Years