There was great news yesterday that Wilko Johnson, guitarist with Dr Feelgood in their seventies heyday, has had a successful operation to remove a tumour which had previously been thought to make his cancer terminal. Fingers crossed it stays successful.
This is Wilko in 1975 with singer Lee Brilleaux and bassist John B. Sparks behind him.
And Wilko recently.
Wilko is one of the great rock’n’rollers. Dr Feelgood were precursors of punk, bringing back the three minute rock’n’roll song in the face of prog rock self indulgence. Wilko left the band quite early on, and they were never quite as sharp again. I and a couple of friends saw him a couple of years ago in the Lexington pub in North London (looking like he does in that second photo). He was still magnificent and slightly crazed, as he always was – playing his choppy, buzzsaw guitar, inspired by Chuck Berry, but really like no-one else. His partnership in the Feelgoods with Lee Brilleaux (sadly departed many years ago) was, for me, one of the greatest in rock’n’roll: up there with Strummer and Jones, Jagger and Richards.
Their greatest song was “She Does It Right”, off their debut album, “Down By The Jetty”.
Long may Wilko rock!