on 13 August 2014
A confession - I've never been a big fan of Daltrey's voice. I admire him rather than love him and have always found his style a tad one dimensional compared to some of the other iconic rock vocalists (the ultimate perhaps being Mr Percy Plant). In this setting, though, it really works. Not quite the glorious menace of Mr Brilleaux, but still a gruff, raw R&B joy, Daltrey responding brilliantly to the backing of the indefatigable, inexhaustible, irresistible Wilko. The only thing that would top this is a Volume 2, recorded in about a year's time, with Wilco still going strong. And then a Volume 3, 4, 5........
on 24 March 2014
What at first seems like an odd alliance makes the most sense when you realise that Mick Green and the Pirates were the common denominator, shaping Wilko's guitar style and steering The Who towards its powerful approach with rhythm and lead guitars lines flowing seamlessly in and out of one another.
There are no prizes for innovation for the music on this album, but what a celebration of a classic style of R&B and a showcase for Wilko's song writing. The energy that powers many of these tracks is stunning and puts many a young band to shame. Wilko drives them along hard without letting up and Daltrey's puts in the best vocals that he's recorded in years. If only Pete Townshend could write something new to get him this fired up. In fact, the vocals are very reminiscent of the old High Numbers days when Daltrey tried his best to sound like a gruff and growling bluesman, now it comes naturally, but with an added power that defies his years.
This is good time music with old school excitement and urgency about it and it will put a smile on your face. It's all about having a good time and it's plain that the musicians had that in spades when they recorded the tracks. I hope that this album puts a smile on Wilko's face that even his rotten illness can't wipe off. This deserves to be a best selling album.
PS (2 May) I've just heard that Wilko has undergone a radical surgery to remove his tumour, which could give him a serious shot at survival - fingers crossed for him.
on 27 March 2014
I have to say although I like Dr Feelgood and The Who I wouldn't have bought this album. But having read a review in classic rock mag giving it 9 out of ten I thought well it's only a fiver lets give it a try. Well I'm glad I did. It's brilliant can't stop playing it. All the songs are Wilco's that he wrote for Feelgood with the exception of a Dylan cover which I'd never heard before. Every track is full of great Wilco guitar licks and sassy harmonica which I love. But the bonus on this album is Daltery. He sings Wilco's songs like a man reinvented. The Who were never like this. It's a piece of Rock n Roll and Harmonica heaven. Short but full of toe tapping tracks. Even the ballad Turned 21 a song about lost youth is good. I recommend this album if you like Feelgood but even if you don't give it a try you'll be pleasantly surprised
“Going Back Home” was supposed to be a farewell album from Wilko after he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. His plans were to do one final tour then spend his last days recording an album's worth of songs with Roger Daltrey. One revolutionary surgery later and, thankfully, Johnson is still alive, cancer free, so we end up with a win-win situation: a superb, career-defining album and the great guitarist still with us. Facing losing such an excellent musician, Wilko has enjoyed perhaps the most attention he has ever received and, instead of the general public realising what a talent he was after he is gone, he remains alive and well and now, it seems, a lot more appreciated than he was before. Of course, it is a pity that it took his battle with cancer to have his talent put in the spotlight, but it is evident that he has won a lot more fans because of his heightened profile and, also, the way he dealt with his illness.
If you like good old fashioned rhythm and blues, then “Going Back Home” will be like a breath of fresh air to you. It is a piece of work jam packed full of spiky, incisive riffs, Daltrey's gruff, bluesy delivery and some top notch musicianship from a fine band comprising of Blockheads Norman Watt-Roy (Bass) and Dylan Dowe (Drums), Style Council founder and current Dexy's member Mick Talbot (Piano/Organ) and Steve Weston (Harmonica). It is a massively enjoyable affair, a deeply life-affirming, joyful collection of songs and a rip-roaring listen from beginning to end; a superb good old-fashioned blues rock album without pretension. Although it's all pretty much great, I do have a handful of personal favourites. The riff on “Ice On The Motorway” is irresistible, “I Keep It To Myself” completely sweeps you away with a relentless groove and the Dylan cover “Can You Please Crawl Out Of Your Window” surely joins the ranks of the greatest Zimmerman interpretations ever. The last of my picks from the album sees another classic riff glueing the toe-tapping “Sneaking Suspicion” together, but, quite honestly, there isn't a below-par song to be found here.
Daltrey and Johnson are a great pairing, complimenting each others' styles perfectly. Whilst, given the quality of “Going Back Home” it may be impressive to know that the album was recorded in just a week, the urgency and energy contained within these tracks make it no surprise. Johnson's playing, at times, borders on the aggressive and Daltrey is singing like his life depends upon it; unique circumstances produced a unique album. Long-term Johnson fans will already be familiar with many of the songs on the album, but the extra dimension provided by the Who frontman and the tangible spark of electricity running through these tracks means that it will be thoroughly enjoyed by both old and new listeners. I'm not sure what the future holds for this collaboration, as Roger is now throwing himself into The Who's fiftieth anniversary celebrations and Wilko is still recovering from the major operation that saved his life. Given the sheer brilliance of “Going Home”, we can only hope that there will be another Daltrey/Johnson record some day soon.
In 2010 Roger Daltrey and Wilko Johnson found themselves sitting together at an awards ceremony. After talking about their love for old-style British R&B, the pair resolved to record an album together. And after Wilko was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2013, he decided make the most of the time he had left and so Going Back Home was born.
Of the eleven tracks on the album, ten are drawn from Wilko's back catalogue, the eleventh is a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window'.
There's nothing particularly subtle about Going Back Home, Daltrey growls his way through a selection of classics from the Wilko songbook - such as 'Everybody's Carrying a Gun', 'Sneaking Suspicion' and 'Keep It Out of Sight' whilst former Blockheads Norman Watt-Roy and Dylan Howe, from Wilko's live band, as well as Mick Talbot and Steve Weston provide solid backup.
In summary, Going Back Home is a good record of British R&B that brings the career of a British music maverick to a decent end. Well worth a listen.
on 8 April 2014
Ok, apart from a Bob Dylan cover, there is nothing new here from the creative juices from the eccentric, music genius that is Wilko Johnson. But it doesn't matter really, the other 10 tracks sound great revamped and refreshed with the aid of the superb vocals of Roger Daltry who at 70 years still sounds great when many others of his generation should consider hanging up their vocal chords for good. Close your eyes and there are shades of Lee Brilleaux growling through most of the songs.
This album contains honest, gritty, no nonsense r n r and r n b [old school], the way Wilko likes it and the way I like it too. There are no fancy gimmicks, over production or long boring guitar noodlings, just good down to earth music which like most early Dr Feelgood and Wilko stuff, has a live feel about it.
Favourite tracks? Well I like them all even the ballad Turned 21 which sounds better than the original thanks to Daltry's greater vocal range.
If only Wilko wasn't unwell, if only this bunch of talented musicians were a complete, official band, what a wonderful rock and roll experience to the ears that would be. If any reading this have not bought this gem, then buy it without hesitation. Well done lads!
This is a cracking album, I think. It's good, solid British R&B (in the old sense) with two geniuses of the genre on fine form. Seeing The Who at Charlton in 1974 and Dr Feelgood (twice) at close range in the Cambridge Corn Exchange around the same time remain among the great musical experiences of my life even 40 years on, and while Wilko, Daltrey and I are all old gits now, it's good to see that at least two out of the three of us have still got the old magic.
There is a mix of old Dr Feelgood songs, Wilko's own stuff and one Dylan cover in Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window. I think it's a joy from start to finish. They open with Going Back Home which Daltrey delivers (brilliantly) with a Brilleaux-esque growl way down in his throat (Wilko bends a string and that's all she wrote, of course) but it's recognisably his own take on it. Later in a fantastic Keep It Out Of Sight he really goes for the full Daltrey singing an octave above Brilleaux and, as Pete Townshend once memorably said of Love Reign O'er Me, Roger gives it his b*ll*cks. It's just great stuff all the way through.
Wilko is...well, Wilko. Brilliant, distinctive and perhaps slightly more solid and less bonkers than of old, he chops and hits that great beat like a teenager and in my mind he's still staring like a madman and moving around the stage as though he's on casters. Just perfect. The two of them and a very, very good band produce something really good here. Anyone with any interest in this type of music will love this and fans certainly won't be disappointed. This may well be Wilko's swan song and the decision to close the album with All Through The City is inspired.
If this is Wilko's last album it is one he can be proud of. Thanks for this, and for everything, Wilko. Go well.
on 27 March 2014
I Bought this on the strength of hearing one track on the radio ( I keep it to myself).
I could not believe that a man nearing 70 (when recording) could produce such a clear, strong tone (Roger Daltrey was 70 on 1 March) he has obviously learned to manage his voice and sing in a key and range where he can actually hit all the notes without sounding as if he is straining, unlike some of his peers! Equally, for a man given under a year to live in January 2013, Wilco Johnson should be on a cloud playing a harp! However he clearly felt he had unfinished business with his Fender.
I have been a Who fan from the start (early to mid sixties) but am nowhere near so familiar with Dr Feelgood or Wilko Johnson's work,this is a wrong I will have to right! What a guitarist this man is, I have heard interviews with Roger Daltrey and he has said he wanted to do this album for fun (and the Teenage Cancer Trust to whom he is donating his share of the earnings from this album) this sense of fun can be heard in the music and performances.
All in all a terrific album!
on 1 March 2015
This is an LP looking for a vocalist. Daltrey is a rocker who, let's face it, is past his best and not a R n' B singer. At times it grates as he tries to make up for his lack of range by bawling. I don't dislike Daltrey and his vocals with The Who are great, but not what is wanted here. On the Live section of the bonus CD, it matters less. The "Wilko" versions of songs on the bonus CD also suffer from weak vocals.
Some of the tracks are brilliant. You could close your eyes listening to the studio tracks on CD one and believe you were in a heaving steamy pub with a pint in your hand. Take out Daltrey's vocals and it could be perfect, as the band play brilliantly. Some tracks work with Daltrey's vocals, some don't. Wilko's riffing is still there, chopping away as he does best with the other band members steaming along.
It's a bit of an average LP, in the same way that with your head in an oven and your feet in freezer, on average, you feel at the right temperature.
on 5 April 2014
I always read these reviews, but never bother to write any, but "Going Back Home" is just so good. I have always like The Who, and discovered Wilko a couple of years ago, and found my new favourite person. I prefer this CD to anything Roger has done for nearly forty years, and the way he growls through the tracks is just brilliant. Wilko, Norman et all are brilliant as usual, and I want this CD to go on and on. It needs to be a four disc anthology, with another four to come out soon. It needs to be given to immigrants on entry to the UK, it needs to be given to babies on leaving the hospital. Schools need to replace the hymns with these songs. Wilko needs to be given a bigger platform. I would so love to have seen Roger and Wilko perform this album, and if you get the chance to see him before its too late, do it. I have listened to it every day for the last week, and recommended it to loads of people. Buy it and enjoy.So long, and I'll see you in the morning, down by the jetty......