Song Of The Day 9/10/2015: Dr. Feelgood & the Interns – “Doctor Feel-Good”

The Hidden '60s, Part 1 – Willie Perryman was an African-American albino from Georgia. His unusual skin tone got him the nickname “Piano Red” back in the days when hue-based monikers weren’t as controversial as they are now. Red’s music was straight-up barrelhouse piano blues, a very joyful noise unto the Lord that influenced many of those in the first generation of rock and rollers, especially Carl Perkins and Little Richard.

Rockin’ With Red” was a huge hit on the R&B charts in 1950. Perkins covered Red’s “Right String But the Wrong Yo-Yo,” and Richard reworked “Rockin’ With Red” as “She Knows How to Rock Me” in his dependably lawless fashion. Most of Perryman's surviving recordings are just him singing at the piano, a great soundtrack for peering out of your flat window on a late Saturday morning, eating brunch and tossing your flatware on passing tourists.

Probably at least a little flattered by rockers’ immediate embrace of his music, Red rechristened himself with the equally appropriate name Dr. Feelgood when he signed to OKeh Records in the early ’60s. He called his backup band The Interns. This was very clever back then. The band didn’t exist very long, but their single “Doctor Feelgood” (#66, 1962) is a diamond-hard shot of pleasure that blew a lot of pop softies off their lily pads when it came out. I love this song so much. The B-side of the single was “Mr. Moonlight,” a great soul rumbler that was later recorded by a Liverpool band that went on to enjoy a soupçon of success.

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