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Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey - Going Back Home (2014) review

Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey "Going Back Home" (Chess Records, 2014)

Not the usual way of beginning a review, however, stick with me an I’ll get you there and more.  If you haven’t seen “Oil City Confidential,” you must, because with the documentary’s release, Julien Temple began a revival of sorts for not only Wilko Johnson, but for the legendary band Dr. Feelgood as well.  With Mr. Temple at the helm, fans are coursed through all that was and more, regarding Dr. Feelgood, featuring blistering performances, interviews with all those still living, and outtakes for those who’ve passed, all the while romancing those loyal, with images of sensational clubs who had the where with all to even consider the notion of dimly lighting a stage, and allowing Dr. Feelgood to set not only foot to it ... but set it aflame.  The documentary captures the essence of a band who not only coined the phrase “Hard Partying,” but lived it seven days a week, on and off the stage.  So, while The Who may have found the distance to the stage too far at times, it was trying to keep up with the boys in Dr. Feelgood, that made it all impossible.

The songs found on Going Home are all drawn from Wilko Johnson’s era with the band, with the exception of Bob Dylan’s “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window.”  With Daltrey, who never used his voice as an instrument of song, but more as a sonic object to assault the listener, like a thunderstorm crashing waves over the levee, and here, leaves even less room for the listener to breathe.  For my way of thinking, Dr. Feelgood has always been a live band, they’ve no use for vinyl, and certainly not for CD’s ... but this, this is the exception to the rule, where teamed up with Roger Daltrey, we’re treated to a bit more complex, and polished versions of Wilko Johnson’s aspirations.

Johnson, who now suffers from cancer, says that his only regret in life was his falling out with Lee Brilleaux, an event that was sadly never mended before the singer’s death in 1994.  So with The Who’s frontman in tow, Wilko unleashes his Telecaster with defined R&B definition, characteristic of no one else walking the planet, proving that two legendary rockers can still splinter the floorboards, and cause 40 years of dust to rain down from the rafters.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2014
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