Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wilko Johnson, Dr Feelgood - sad news

Sad news today that Wilko Johnson is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. His manager says that he has chosen not to take chemotherapy and to enjoy the next few months of his life.

Dr. Feelgood was one of the bands that woke me up out of my dinosaur-loving placidity. There's only so much Led Zeppelin you can like before wanting a little bit more rough trade, so to speak, and Dr. Feelgood's  Pub Rock-epitomizing run in the mid to late seventies certainly provided that. There was no mistaking singer Lee Brilleaux's Canvey Island gangster roots or Wilko Johnson's astounding machine-gun rhythm guitar and blocked speedfreak gait. And the drummer was called The Big Figure. I mean.

In a tribute today, a friend on a newsgroup pointed to an appearance of Dr. Feelgood's on a 1975 Geordie TV program, which I'd never seen before. The audience was all in its post-glam baggies and Dr. Feelgood was all larger than life and sharp and hard and proto-punk. My parents wouldn't let me watch ITV, so this Tyne Tees programme was completely news to me when I heard it today.








Wilko sings!



Amazing stuff.

And for the second chorus of the last one, Route 66, does Lee Brilleaux really sing "Saint Bernard Hinault" instead of "San Bernardino"? It makes me love them all the more, as my way of judging a real English R&B band is by how many place names they mispronounce in Route 66. It means they learned it off the record rather than from a book on how to be hipsters.  (He has several guesses at "Flagstaff" as well.  Not having flag staffs in England, I suppose Blackstuff or Blackstop seems much more likely as a place name.)

Hope everything goes well for you, Wilko, and thanks for everything.

6 comments:

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

I have been racking my brain to try and remember the last time I saw Wilko, it was only a couple of months ago and it could have been on Jules Holland, but he still has the gait and stacatto playing style. I have to say he never looked healthy and always looked to have too much cheekbone for any "living" person.

Bruv

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

Still racking my brain and I am sure it was a live session of Roxette, with Wilko at his most manic, but it could be just have been me doing a YouTube trawl and came across an old clip, but it looked good.

Bruv

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

Finally got it sorted, it wasn't a recent recording. I got an Old Grey Whistle Pest DVD for Xmas and it was on that!!!

Bruv

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

Talking to one of the guys in my local pub, who has seen Wilko a couple of times lately, it seems he comes up to Shilden near Durham a couple of times a year with his 3 piece band and was at the Sage Gatehead, last year and still plays the mix or rhythm and lead guitar with the same playing style and has the same strange head and body movements that you see on the old clips.

Bruv

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

I assume you have seen Oil City Confidential http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CZMLs8Ke40

Bruv

Peromyscus said...

Nope, Netflix doesn't have Oil City Confidential - it's been on the list to see when available for months.

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