Finally available in America, Julien Temple’s superb documentary follows the brief career of England’s
late, great Dr. Feelgood, Temple employing his trademark technique of mashing up new interviews with archival and fictive footage, in this case clips from mid-century British film noir.
Interviews with surviving members are highly entertaining, and Temple’s method stunning. But it’s the charismatic guitarman Wilko Johnson who steals the show, hamming it up on Feelgood’s home of Canvey Island while discussing his famous “redguard” Tele (“Red scratchguard so the men won’t see the blood”), busking in front of a hometown arcade, and revealing that his signature rhythm/ lead technique was inspired by Alan Caddy of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates.
The Feelgoods burned out as they were hitting in the United States, but not before they saved England from glam and prog, with their short hair and sweaty suits. In celebrating the band’s contributions, Temple “does it right.”
This article originally appeared in VG‘s February ’13 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.