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Lee Brilleaux, the uniquely charismatic star of proto-punk R&B reprobates Dr Feelgood, was one of rock’n’roll’s greatest frontmen. But he was also one of its greatest gentlemen – a class act with heart, fire, wanderlust and a wild streak. Exploding out of Canvey Island in the early 1970s – an age of glam rock, post-hippy folk and pop androgyny – the Feelgoods, Lee Brilleaux, the uniquely charismatic star of proto-punk R&B reprobates Dr Feelgood, was one of rock’n’roll’s greatest frontmen. But he was also one of its greatest gentlemen – a class act with heart, fire, wanderlust and a wild streak. Exploding out of Canvey Island in the early 1970s – an age of glam rock, post-hippy folk and pop androgyny – the Feelgoods, with Lee Brilleaux and Wilko Johnson at the helm, charged into London, grabbed the pub rock scene by the throat and sparked a revolutionary new era, proving that you didn’t have to be middle class, wearing the ‘right clothes’ or living in the ‘right place’ to succeed. Lee Brilleaux: Rock’n’Roll Gentleman, while a totally different work, is a companion of sorts to the hugely popular Wilko Johnson book: Looking Back At Me (also co-authored by Howe). It is the first comprehensive appreciation of Lee Brilleaux and, with its numerous exclusive interviews and previously unseen images, is a book no Dr Feelgood fan would wish to be without.


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Lee Brilleaux, the uniquely charismatic star of proto-punk R&B reprobates Dr Feelgood, was one of rock’n’roll’s greatest frontmen. But he was also one of its greatest gentlemen – a class act with heart, fire, wanderlust and a wild streak. Exploding out of Canvey Island in the early 1970s – an age of glam rock, post-hippy folk and pop androgyny – the Feelgoods, Lee Brilleaux, the uniquely charismatic star of proto-punk R&B reprobates Dr Feelgood, was one of rock’n’roll’s greatest frontmen. But he was also one of its greatest gentlemen – a class act with heart, fire, wanderlust and a wild streak. Exploding out of Canvey Island in the early 1970s – an age of glam rock, post-hippy folk and pop androgyny – the Feelgoods, with Lee Brilleaux and Wilko Johnson at the helm, charged into London, grabbed the pub rock scene by the throat and sparked a revolutionary new era, proving that you didn’t have to be middle class, wearing the ‘right clothes’ or living in the ‘right place’ to succeed. Lee Brilleaux: Rock’n’Roll Gentleman, while a totally different work, is a companion of sorts to the hugely popular Wilko Johnson book: Looking Back At Me (also co-authored by Howe). It is the first comprehensive appreciation of Lee Brilleaux and, with its numerous exclusive interviews and previously unseen images, is a book no Dr Feelgood fan would wish to be without.

30 review for Lee Brilleaux: Rock 'n' Roll Gentleman

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alec Downie

    The book gets 4 because 1977 in Paderborn University was still one of the best live shows I have seen in my 60 years on this planet.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    You know when life gets busy and good books get dragged out? It's a bit of a bummer, but alas, you get through them eventually... I love Howe's books, I really do. I feel like they kind of immerse you in the appropriate era, set the scene, whether it's gentlemanly dress or outright anarchy (I'm looking at her Jesus and Mary Chain book, here). And I like that. When it comes to music, so few can do that this well; there's often a leaning of being the fan against presenting an honest and full pictu You know when life gets busy and good books get dragged out? It's a bit of a bummer, but alas, you get through them eventually... I love Howe's books, I really do. I feel like they kind of immerse you in the appropriate era, set the scene, whether it's gentlemanly dress or outright anarchy (I'm looking at her Jesus and Mary Chain book, here). And I like that. When it comes to music, so few can do that this well; there's often a leaning of being the fan against presenting an honest and full picture. See I knew about Lee Brilleaux, I knew about Dr Feelgood, but in the grand scheme of classics, and those who died before their time, he's been outshone by many in that respect and I'd never delved into his full story. From his childhood and forming the band, to their heyday, the vast line-up changes and feuds, this just puts you right there. Zoe paints the most vivid of pictures of everyone, sets the scene well, and writes so well. I did not get teary eyed at the last line, I swear. The point is I'm kind of glad this was my full introduction to the ins and outs of Lee, because it's been told exceedingly well, and it hooks you in. But seriously, had this been any other time of the year, I would have inhaled this book in a day or two. It's so well written, such a joy for music fans, and brings you right into the world of Lee Brilleaux, told by those who knew him best, and written by someone who is honestly one of the finest music writers in finding the essence and heart of the icon.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ross Cumming

    When I’m not reading crime or horror novels there’s nothing I enjoy more than books about music or musicians and I tend to enjoy biographies about lesser known artists, as opposed to those in the mainstream. I’ve had this book in my sights for some time now but have just got around to reading it when it was recommended in my Kindle Unlimited list. Lee Brilleaux was the lead signer with rhythm and blues band Dr Feelgood, who were a big favourite of mine for a couple of years, from about 1975 unti When I’m not reading crime or horror novels there’s nothing I enjoy more than books about music or musicians and I tend to enjoy biographies about lesser known artists, as opposed to those in the mainstream. I’ve had this book in my sights for some time now but have just got around to reading it when it was recommended in my Kindle Unlimited list. Lee Brilleaux was the lead signer with rhythm and blues band Dr Feelgood, who were a big favourite of mine for a couple of years, from about 1975 until punk emerged and then everything changed. Dr Feelgood were a sort of precursor to punk, in that, when they emerged, with their short, sharp r & b songs & rock’n’roll covers, rock music at the time was all about ‘concept’ albums and 10 minute drum solos. They were just so different at the time to anything else that I just couldn’t help but love them. This book ostensibly is about Lee Brilleaux but his story can’t be told without at the same time as telling the story of Dr Feelgood, as both are so intrinsically intertwined, as Lee was a founding member of the band and was ultimately the only original member at the time of his untimely death, albeit the band still continues to this day. Lee moved to Canvey Island as a youngster, grew up and remained close to and lived in the surrounding area all his life, staying true to his roots. His on stage persona was that of an angry, edgy, petty criminal with his shortish hair and his unwashed rumpled trademark white suit, pumping his fist and cracking the microphone lead like a whip. Off stage apparently he was a somewhat shy individual who was highly intelligent, loved reading, blues music and later in life enjoyed good food and cooking. He also loved to party and he and the band could inhale huge quantities of alcohol and drugs and when not on the road touring they could usually be found in their ‘local’. Lee was also extremely hardworking and the band were consistently touring, as he felt that had a duty to do so for their fans and also because after their initial flush of success, it’s touring that put bread on the table. Lee even managed to do two local gigs to record a final live album when he was extremely ill and just before his death. This book is a fitting tribute to Lee’s memory and paints a picture of an all round gentleman but it also highlights the faults and the mistakes he made along the way and many by his own admission. There was a lot to Lee’s story that was new to me and also about the band as well, as I never really followed their career much after original guitarist Wilko left. This is an excellent book that is predominantly for Dr Feelgood fans old and new, as without knowing the band or their music it would be difficult for it to appeal to the casual reader. It is a great companion piece to the excellent documentary ‘Oil City Confidential’ which tells the bands story through the other three original members. There’s nothing else for me to do now but stick on my headphones and crank up ‘Down by the Jetty’ !!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grant Ellis

    I wanted to read this as I love Dr Feelgood but also have a personal history with Canvey Island and many of the places mentioned. My aunt lived in the island and I had a few musical experiences there growing up. I spent the millennium at the Grand, sadly 6 years after Lee died otherwise I have no doubt he would have been in there too. This is a great book about a man and band that sadly don't get the wider recognition now that they deserve. This is a guide to how to be a front man and strive for I wanted to read this as I love Dr Feelgood but also have a personal history with Canvey Island and many of the places mentioned. My aunt lived in the island and I had a few musical experiences there growing up. I spent the millennium at the Grand, sadly 6 years after Lee died otherwise I have no doubt he would have been in there too. This is a great book about a man and band that sadly don't get the wider recognition now that they deserve. This is a guide to how to be a front man and strive for success; something that the autotuned generation who think they deserve instant success would do well to study.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Allan Heron

    A fine biography of one of the UK's greatest vocalists, Zoë Howe paints an evocative portrait of Lee Brilleaux. It's particularly helpful for the post-Wilko period as the growing Feelgoods legend is so dominated by that iconic line-up. And that Wilko and Lee weren't able to meet before his death is one of the great rock'n'roll tragedies. A fine biography of one of the UK's greatest vocalists, Zoë Howe paints an evocative portrait of Lee Brilleaux. It's particularly helpful for the post-Wilko period as the growing Feelgoods legend is so dominated by that iconic line-up. And that Wilko and Lee weren't able to meet before his death is one of the great rock'n'roll tragedies.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Markku

    It is a good, thorough biography, but somehow it didn't draw me in. Perhaps because the music itself seemed to be play a supporting part. It is a good, thorough biography, but somehow it didn't draw me in. Perhaps because the music itself seemed to be play a supporting part.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Greaves

    A moving story I was reluctant to carry on reading after the first few chapters. Goodness I’m glad I finished. Truly amazing truly.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    A well researched book. Enjoyable from start to finish,giving an insight to one of Britain's greatest rhythm & blues exponents. A well researched book. Enjoyable from start to finish,giving an insight to one of Britain's greatest rhythm & blues exponents.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kay Smillie

    I discovered Dr Feelgood in retrospect, with my initial contact the single She's a Wind-up. That same year I stumbled across Wilko Johnson on the Hope and Anchor album, made the Dr Feelgood connection and went looking for the early Feelgood albums. Lee Brilleaux, as even Wilko has said, was Dr Feelgood. A man with amazing stage presence and this fine biography tells you all about the main man. Ray Smillie I discovered Dr Feelgood in retrospect, with my initial contact the single She's a Wind-up. That same year I stumbled across Wilko Johnson on the Hope and Anchor album, made the Dr Feelgood connection and went looking for the early Feelgood albums. Lee Brilleaux, as even Wilko has said, was Dr Feelgood. A man with amazing stage presence and this fine biography tells you all about the main man. Ray Smillie

  10. 5 out of 5

    d g mcareavey

  11. 5 out of 5

    chris sutcliffr

  12. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Duncan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adam Hammond

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mrs JEM Palmer

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mr R D Nash

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Parry

  17. 5 out of 5

    martin davidson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sparky

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gail Lambourne

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steve Harland

  21. 5 out of 5

    iris gillies

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ian King

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane macintyre

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Macfarlane

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andy Holdcroft

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Richie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian Mccloskey

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