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| 30 April 2014 | 1 Reply

March 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Wilco Johnson-Roger Daltrey - Going Back Home cover

By anyone’s standards, let alone a man a whisker away from The Big Sleep, Wilko Johnson is in extraordinary form on this gritty collection of tracks which span ten of his own originals from his Dr Feelgood and solo years.

Diagnosed with terminal cancer about 18 months ago, Johnson refused to sit still and wait for the end, instead he toured, travelled and enjoyed some of life’s more exotic pleasures – which seems, incidentally, to have done him the world of good, since he remains with us plotting what to do next in a life lived to the edge.

There’s nothing particularly exotic on Going Back Home though – unless the concept of a couple of old pros recording an old school Maximum R&B album in a pokey studio in seven days with a garage sensibility and minimal production is considered ‘exotic’ – which we suppose it is, nowadays!

The bald guitarist with the infamous thousand-yard-stare (he was in Game Of Thrones, don’tcha know?!) teams up with another old hand, Roger Daltrey (you may have heard of him and his band The Who…?) for this trip back ‘home’ to their 60’s roots, and the singer is in similarly fantastic form – singing, perhaps, better than he has ever done now what his voice has lost in range it has greatly benefited in a rich and velvety edge.

Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey

Throw in Blockheads bassist Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Dylan Howe, who provide an absolutely solid base for these two legends to par together over, and it’s an intoxicating mix on the raucous title track, Keep It To Myself, which swings like a saloon door in a storm, their Stonesy cover of Dylan’s Crawl Out Your Window, and the bar room swagger of Everybody’s Carrying A Gun.

Album closer All Through The City ensures the record closes on yet another high note, Daltrey’s holler ringing over Johnson’s guitar, practically ablaze.

The title, of course, is perfect and perfectly apt, as these two warhorses conjure up a racket that is utterly engaging, raw and garagey without being in the slightest bit sloppy. It’s music made the way it should be: no bullshit, no over-production, just rock and fucking roll, visceral and powerful enough to stop you dead in your tracks, no matter what you’re doing.

That Johnson is keeping himself busy and happy doing what he was put here to do – make music – despite being ill, is reward enough, but to hear the sound of these old mates having such a whale of a time is surely exactly what the doctor ordered.



Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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  1. SHANE’S 2014 ROUNDUP | 100% ROCK MAGAZINE | 1 January 2015

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