REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Doctor Who Goes Home - Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey race through Dr Feelgood's finest.

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Why didn't they think of this before?

Wilko & Roger Digi artwork

Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey - Going Home Available Now on Chess Records (CD/Vinyl/Download) 8/10

I went to a lot of gigs in 2013, but two stand out, one was The Who performing Quadrophenia at the O2 Arena, Daltrey's power undimmed, Townshend's passion still evident - however much he tries to hide it. The other was a far smaller affair at Koko in March, billed as Wilko Johnson's farewell gig it was an emotional affair and the last time I expected to see or hear him, but here we are a year later with an album we  had no right to expect, and one that's even been supported by live performance. The project's roots comes from 2010 when Daltrey and Johnson met at an award's ceremony and discovered a mutual love of pioneering British rock and rollers Johnny Kidd and The Pirates. These informal discussions may well have come to nothing, but Johnson's diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer in early 2013 brought a sense of urgency to the proceedings and following The Who's tour, the pair got together with Johnson's band and recorded the album in a week, ten Johnson originals from across his career and a Dylan cover. The album sounds pretty much as you'd expect it to, like your dream gig in the back room of a bar with one of rock's defining vocalists fronting the tightest pub band in town. It's great to hear Daltrey really letting rip on these numbers, particularly as what new Who material there has been in recent years has tended to focus on the softer, more expressive side of his range. As he powers through the likes of 
All Through The City and 
Ice on The Motorway it's obvious how much he's enjoying the opportunity to return to something closer to his R&B roots in West London some 50 years ago. Johnson and his band are as reliable as ever - these are songs they've played a thousand times after all, and if this is Wilko's last recorded work it's a fitting epitaph to a unique talent who perhaps never quite received the credit he deserved. Wilko was told he would be lucky to make Christmas 2013 but he continues to defy the odds and has just been announced for this year's Glastonbury, while Daltrey has hinted that The Who probably have one more tour in them to celebrate the band's 50th anniversary in 2015. Both over 65, here are two artists who by choice or otherwise are coming to the ends of their long careers, perhaps that's why they sound so up for it, so vibrant, made painfully aware by Johnson's prognosis of the need to make every second count and across these 35 minutes or so, they do just that.