John B. Sparks

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Opined The Independent’s Nick Hasted “Dr. Feelgood are remembered in rock history, if at all, as John the Baptists to punk’s messiahs!”

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Four Canvey Island Essex lads, who looked (and behaved) as if they were coming off a bank heist, were among the founders and finest practitioners of Britain’s hallowed pub rock genre.

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Though a band called Dr. Feelgood fervently plays on with none of its original members -it is the first two incarnations of this fiery ensemble with guitarists Wilko Johnson (1971 – 1977) and the late Gypie Mayo (1977-1981) whom we most revere and whose influence was profoundly felt by such artists as Paul Weller, Bob Geldof, Blondie, and Richard Hell among others. Dr. Feelgood’s bassist during their glory years was John B. Sparks – who rendered supportive pocket passages whilst vocalist Lee Brilleaux, drummer The Big Figure, and the aforementioned axe men tore the house down with their frantic fusion of blues and punk.

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Dr. Feelgood’s Wilko canon; Down By the Jetty (1975), Malpractice (1975), the #1 in the UK live set Stupidity (1977), and their select Gypie sides; Be Seeing You (1977) and Private Practice (1978) are essential, as is Julien Temple’s 2009 biographical film Oil City Confidential.

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Thomas SemioliComment