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Gypie Mayo: One of the greats of Brit blues scene
Guitarist Gypie Mayo, who replaced Wilko Johnson in 1977, died yesterday, aged 62, after a long illness.
Gypie, whose real name was John Phillip Cawthra, played in the band for four years and appeared on six of their albums, including Be Seeing You, Private Practice and As It Happens.
He was in the Feelgoods with bassist John B Sparks, drummer John Martin and singer Lee Brilleaux, who died in 1994.
Gypie also co-wrote Dr Feelgood’s only UK top 10 single, Milk and Alcohol, with Nick Lowe, and played on four of the five other Dr Feelgood singles to have appeared in the UK singles chart.
He later went on to work with the Yardbirds from 1996 to 2004.
Essex musician and blues DJ Tim Aves described Gypie as a longtime hero and “one of the very best guitarists ever to emerge from the British blues scene”.
Tim, who led R’n’B band Automatic Slim for 17 years and now presents an acclaimed weekly blues radio show on Essex radio station Saint FM, said he was proud to have known the guitarist, and to have shared a stage with him at an impromptu gig in Harlow in 2009.
He said: “I was a huge Dr Feelgood fan, from the first time I saw them in the mid-Seventies, and when Gypie took over from Wilko, he made a huge impact.
“He was a stunning player – passionate, inventive and quite distinctive. He was very different in style from Wilko but, in my opinion, equally brilliant.
“I saw him play with the band probably half a dozen times and had all the albums. For years he was my favourite guitar player.
“I still think he’s up there with the British greats, alongside the likes of Peter Green.
“For all that, he was a very quiet, unassuming and modest chap, as is often the case with genuinely talented people.
“This is a very sad day indeed and my heart goes out to his family. ”
Former Dr Feelgood frontman Wilko Johnson said on his Facebook page he was saddened to hear the news.
Fans of his music also visited social media sites to pay tribute to Gypie, calling him a “phenomenal guitarist”.
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