Roger Daltrey, Wilko Johnson’s ‘Riveting’ Album

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Wilko_Daltrey CDWilko Johnson/Roger Daltrey
Going Back Home (Deluxe Edition)
(Chess/Universal)
In A Word: Death-defying

Until he made headlines in 2013 with a seemingly terminal cancer diagnosis after landing his first acting role in Game of Thrones, Wilko Johnson was best known for his spiky, tightly wound guitar work with seminal ’70s U.K. pub-rockers Dr. Feelgood. The veteran axeman had intended this collaboration with Who frontman Roger Daltrey to be his swan song before receiving an apparent medical reprieve. Fortunately, Going Back Home is such a consistent blast that Johnson’s surprise recovery is excellent news for listeners as well.

Originally released in 2014 and since retooled as a two-CD set, Going Back Home shows the guitarist’s peerless mastery to be as raw and riveting as ever. He’s matched by Daltrey’s blustery bark and a scrappy, in-the-pocket band that includes Blockheads bassist Norman Watt-Roy and ex-Style Council keyboardist Mick Talbot. The set list largely revisits gems from Wilko’s voluminous catalogue, which sound as immediate now as they did then, plus a tough take on Bob Dylan’s “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window.” Disc two adds some worthy alternate versions with Johnson singing lead, plus a baker’s dozen live tracks, with and without Daltrey.

Watch “I Keep it To Myself”

Related: Review of the documentary  The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson

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Scott Schinder
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