Thursday, November 24, 2022

RIP Wilko Johnson

The fingernails of Wilko ! 

Mine crack and tear when opening a suitcase in a hurry - how could he play like that? It's not just that he isn't using a plectrum - he's actually percussively cuffing the strings with the tops of his fingernails. Electric guitar strings are generally made of steel and nickel. 

I must have watched that Geordie Scene TV clip at least fifty times since first coming across it on YouTube. Just such a fantastic capsule of the '70s. Brilleaux absolutely cranked on sulphate - whereas with Wilko, I think it's natural energy. Love the girls, slightly bemused at the singer's fanatical intensity, still choogling gamely. 

Here's the whole program of Geordie Scene with Dr Feelgood


Another clip I've watched many times now since stumbling on it (it was not something that got any play at the time of release).

Wilko's one great moment with the Blockheads. Pubfunk with a taut-elastic sproing to the riffage. 

It probably seemed like a great re-energizing and career-reorienting idea having Wilko join after Chas Jankel left and after the "too disco-y" Do It Yourself. But brilliant player though he is, Wilko couldn't take up the songwriting slack left by Jankel.  Laughter is no laughing matter. Indeed it's ploppermost-of-the-plops in this tally of  Disappointing Albums in my life. 

But for a moment, with "I Wanna Be Straight", it looked so promising. 

Talking of capsules of Seventies-ness, let's have "She Does It Right" again...

A different iteration of more-or-less the same riff, and the Wilko-era Feelgoods's  other classic