WILKO JOHNSON’S brand new album “Blow Your Mind” his first in 30 years, is available now.
Describing the record as ‘The album I never thought I’d get to write…’ Wilko refers to the trials and tribulations that he faced over five years and left him with songs like “Take It Easy” that deal directly with the terminal diagnosis he was then given.
On the first single from the album: “Marijuana” he mocks approaching death, despises the misery of the ward and jokes about palliative care he’s offered. Only a man who has stared death in the face can laugh so blatantly at its stalking presence. So, with a slanderous guitar — and an oxidizing blues harp that crumbles around it like a narcotic pill — “Marijuana” is not only an effective compound, but also a puff of restoratively smoky air.
Speaking about the first sets of lyrics that he’d written in three decades Wilko says: “It’s tricky when you get to seventy years old, because what am I supposed to be singing? “I love you, baby, but you done me wrong?” Come on! That’s kind of a problem. But I never thought that I’d be the sort of person to write songs about different sorts of real-life experiences until I got sick”.
And with experienced blues-men like: Norman Watt-Roy on bass, Dylan Howe on drums, Mick Talbot on keys and Steve Weston on harmonica the result is mature and audacious. The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios [Be-Bop Deluxe, Dr. Feelgood ] and produced & mixed by Essex-boy Dave Eringa [Manic Street Preachers, Idlewild]
Stand-out moments on “Blow Your Mind” —
The rock-strewn, chippy atmosphere of “Tell Me One More Thing” with its elasticated bass-notes and puckered ‘n’ eviscerating mouth-organ that’s squeezed so close to the blade-cutter guitar it’s bound to get razor-burn.
“That’s The Way I Love You” — a proper rocknrolla that you can easily imagine on the tracklist of the “Down by the Jetty” album [1975.] With a squeezy guitar, boogie-woogie bounce and ever-so-nearly cynical rockadoodle lyrics.
The poetry of “Low Down” that brings to mind Ian Dury. With a slow jazz rhythm and nuances of rock & funk… and enough push and stylatude to get you up-and-dancing in your NHS bed gown.
The deliberative instrumental “Lament” that’s a musical cabochon of surprising brilliance and our favorite moment of the album…
This is intensely high-yielding, characterful and reflective.
Words: @neilmach 2018 ©