Going Back Home
Wilko Johnson, erstwhile Dr. Feelgood guitarist, is something of a cult hero. His jagged-edged blues-rock guitar was a crucial part of that nearly-punk band’s sound. And with the new he has inoperable cancer it’s something of a bittersweet victory lap for this guy – he’s been touring and now here’s an album with The Who’s Roger Daltrey. They both love the same early 60s British rock and blues-rock energy and the PR guff will tell you that’s what this is all about. You could also wonder if it’s a case of Roger Daltrey twiddling his thumbs until Pete Townshend needs him…
He’s a fine enough choice to assist Wilko’s last musical wishes. And he does the job like a subbing pro.
Here Johnson and Daltrey blam through some feel-good versions of Feelgood and Wilko-solo material. There’s a redundant cover of Bob Dylan’s Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window – where something by Johnny Kidd and The Pirates or The Outlaws or a Joe Meek-related offering might have served them better. But hey.
It’s all intentionally rough-shod (again, says the PR) and recorded in a week.
Daltrey sounds a lot like what Rick Bryant presumably thinks he still sounds like (but doesn’t). And Wilko’s guitar is there, buzzing and dipping and diving and clipping into the tunes.
But did it really need to happen? About as much as any of the Jools Holland-affiliated material or most of the Tom Jones “comebacks”. Harmless but ultimately what will keep this album alive for people is the fact that – very sadly – soon Wilko won’t be.