Great Covers; 17 Dr Feelgood: 'Down by the Jetty'

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The Independent Culture
Perhaps the most romantic fallacy in rock is the idea that rock, by its nature, is in touch with the hard realities of life. To service this illusion, rockers have adopted all sorts of uncomfortable positions for the camera over the years - in toilets, up poles, knee-deep in rubble - quite out of keeping with the real objectives of the rocker's life. The point being to some that rock is an art of provenance, in which credibility is governed not by how good you are at rocking but by the grimness of your personal hinterland.

Dr Feelgood appeared from off the coast of Southend playing American black music with added gimlet, deep in the tradition of British estuary rock. They sang mostly about prostitutes and whisky and explored the sweaty twilight of the Essex soul a decade before the shell suit began to serve as its armature. For the monochrome cover of their monaural first album, the chaps hunched on a Canvey jetty in the teeth of a North Sea howler, sucking in their cheeks not to look cool but because they were bloody freezing. In 1975 this was tough, gritty and put consumers in touch with the hardness of life, for which rural softies were more grateful than we could say.