Friday, 11 January 2013

Top 102 Albums. No 68. Down By the Jetty

Top 102 Albums. No 68. 
Down By the Jetty - Dr Feelgood.

The bad news has just circulated over the net that one of the most distinctive guitarists in rock is playing his final outro. Wilko Johnson, guitarist with the first incarnation of Dr Feelgood and a charismatic eccentric has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and is, rather than pursue treatment, going out with a farewell tour and recording a final album.

If it's as good as his first album with Dr Feelgood the world is in for a treat. Down by the Jetty is the apotheosis of pub-rock with Lee Brilleux's rasp and Wilco's stuttering, staccato guitar licks lifting them beyond the barstool.

Their incendiary live shows were watched by many of the future punks and Wilco's guitar is a percussive precursor of the stripped down rock 'n' roll elements of punk. Their impact can be seen in Julien Temple's wonderful documentary Oil City Confidential.
The best tracks are She Does it RightAll Through the City (from which the title comes) and Roxette (the single). They also do a fine version of John Lee Hooker's boogie stomper Boom Boom.

This, and their No 1 album, the live Stupidity, deserve to be more than a footnote to punk. It's one of the great debut albums. Dirty, gritty rock 'n' roll. Thank you Canvey Island.


  1. Stupidity and Roxette bring back many memories. Saw them live a couple of times at the time of release. Wilco scared the sh*t out of me... but what a player; one of the great rhythm guitarists, up there with Keef and Townsend.

  2. That is very sad news. Saw him in the Leeson Lounge a couple of years ago doing a three night stint with the great Norman Watt-Roy of the Blockheads on bass. A joyous night- ending with Wilko machine gunning the audience. Saw Lee with Dr Feelgood at Midnight at the Olympia during the 80's resplendent in his white suit.

    I love the lines "I've been searchin' all through the city; see you in the mornin' down by the jetty." The box set released last year "All through the City" brings it all back and is highly recommended. Great live footage on it too.