Tag Archives: Roger Daltrey

Need to feel good? Meet Wilko Johnson, one of the founding influences of the English punk movement

In a jam because you are too embarrassed to admit you;ve never heard of Wilko Johnson? Don’t feel good?

Here’s what Peter Weller has said of Johnson: “Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he’s right up there. And there are a lot of people who’ll say the same. I can hear Wilko in lots of places. It’s some legacy.”

Never heard of Weller? Get the hell out of here.

Continuing his association with the reactivated Chess imprint, the label that issued so many of the tunes that inspired him in his youth, I Keep It To Myself-The Best of Wilko Johnson draws together 25 tracks recorded between 2008 and 2012 by the legendary guitarist and songwriter. The tracks are backed mostly by Blockheads Norman Watt-Roy (bass) and Dylan Howe (drums), the same rhythm section that performed on Wilko’s enormously successful Going Back Home album with Roger Daltrey. The two-disc CD releases on February 24.

Including re-workings of Wilko penned Dr Feelgood favorites “She Does It Right”; “Twenty Yards Behind’”; “Sneaking Suspicion” and “Roxette’” alongside further dynamic numbers such as “Turned 21”; “Some Kind Of Hero”; “Out in the Traffic”; “I Really Love Your Rock ‘n Roll”– I Keep It To Myself-The Best of Wilko Johnson is a splendid collection of high octane rhythm and blues with that unmistakable Johnson Fender greatness stamped all over it. Songs that are sung from the heart and played from the soul.

The video is a bit shaky . . . perhaps the person filming it was simply too excited.

He sings of many things; of water, of lust, of despair. He sings about fortune tellers and drug dealers. He sings of lovers, crazy lovers, wonderful lovers, and love gone bad.

And then he writes a song such as “Turned 21”, which has little to do with the blues or this genre or that genre, but is just a great song, raw, rough and affecting.

And you think to yourself: So that’s Wilko Johnson!

Masterworks Broadway raises the curtain of three top-notch CDs

Once again, Masterworks Broadway has raised the curtain on a triumvirate of classic albums from the archives. Each CD is accompanied by new album pages and photos. Brava!

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Claudia McNeill rehearsing “Simply Heaven,” May 19, 1958

Starring Claudia McNeil and Melvin Stewart, Simply Heavenly was written by Harlem renaissance poet Langston Hughes based on his novel “Simple Takes a Wife and Other Simple Stories.” With music by David Martin, Simply Heavenly was originally produced for the Off-Broadway 85th Street Playhouse. The show transferred to Broadway’s Playhouse Theatre on August 20, 1957, when fire violations forced the closure of the original venue.  Hughes continually looked to the musical stage for success following the groundbreaking 1947 original production of Kurt Weill and Elmer Rice’s Street Scene for which he wrote lyrics. Set in Harlem of the ‘50s, Simply Heavenly follows Jess Simple as he tries to raise enough money for a divorce so he can marry his new love and eloquently captures the color, humor and poetry of that time and place.
McNeil had made her Broadway debut as a replacement cast member in the groundbreaking original Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. She would later originate the role of Lena Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun both on Broadway and in the feature film.

Based on Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic novella, A Christmas Carol was presented annually at New York City’s Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden from 1994 through 2003.

Over its nine years, A Christmas Carol featured a slew of notable actors as “Scrooge” including F. Murray Abraham, Tim Curry, Tony Randall, Roddy McDowall (in his final role), Frank Langella, Tony Roberts, Jim Dale and Roger Daltrey.

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The cast of “Spoon River Anthology”; Joyce Van Patten (left) and Betty Garrett (center) . . . their backs, at least!

Charles Aidman adapted and starred in Spoon River Anthology, a play with music based on Edgar Lee Masters’ renowned collection of short free-form poems. With music by Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn and Hal Lynch, Spoon River Anthology weaves the epitaphs of the residents of fictional small town Spoon River into a chilling history of turn-of-the century America. Also starring Betty Garrett, Joyce Van Patten and Robert Elston, the show opened at the Booth Theatre on September 29, 1963 and ran for 111 performances. This original Broadway cast recording of Spoon River Anthology is making its CD debut.