Wilko Johnson to launch new book, curated Chess album

wilko johnson
Wilko Johnson (Image credit: Getty)

Wilko Johnson will release a new autobiography in May, to be immediately followed with the launch of a compilation album featuring his favourite Chess recordings.

The label name was reactivated for Going Back Home, his 2014 album with Roger Daltrey, recorded while he believed he had just months to live – before a revolutionary medical procedure saved his life.

He’ll recount that and many other experiences in Don’t You Leave Me Here: My Life, which arrives on May 26 via Little, Brown, and follows previous volume Looking Back At Me.

The publishers say: “His calm, philosophical response made him even more beloved and admired. And then the strangest thing happened: he didn’t die. Don’t You Leave Me Here is the story of his life in music, his life with cancer, and his life now – in the future he never thought he would see.”

Then on May 27, the double-disc The First Time I Met The Blues: Essential Chess Masters will be released, containing material by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddly, CHuck Berry and others.

Johnson says: “When I was a teenager learning to play guitar in the 1960s, I first heard the amazing sounds to be found on the Chess label. Great music performed by a whole galaxy of great musicians.

“I thought, ‘I’m always gonna dig this stuff!’ Now that I’m old I can confirm this – the kick I get from hearing it remains undiminished after more than 50 years.”

Johnson tours the UK with support from Joanne Shaw Taylor later this month.

Wilko Johnson: The First Time I Met The Blues: Essential Chess Masters tracklist

Disc One

  1. I Can’t Be Satisfied – Muddy Waters
  2. Louisiana Blues – Muddy Waters
  3. Juke – Little Walter
  4. Sugar Mama – John Lee Hooker
  5. Blues With A Feeling – Little Walter
  6. I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters
  7. Just Make Love To Me – Muddy Waters
  8. Last Night – Little Walter
  9. Manish Boy – Muddy Waters
  10. My Babe – Little Walter
  11. Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley
  12. Don’t Start Me Talkin’ – Sonny Boy Williamson
  13. Pretty Thing – Bo Diddley
  14. Maybellene – Chuck Berry
  15. Who Do You Love? – Bo Diddley
  16. Smoke Stack Lightning – Howlin’ Wolf
  17. Roll Over Beethoven – Chuck Berry
  18. Mona – Bo Diddley
  19. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
  20. Memphis, Tennessee – Chuck Berry

Disc Two

  1. So Many Roads, So Many Trains – Otis Rush
  2. First Time I Met The Blues – Buddy Guy
  3. Howlin’ For My Baby – Howlin’ Wolf
  4. Spoonful – Howlin’ Wolf
  5. Back Door Man – Howlin’ Wolf
  6. Goin’ Down Slow – Howlin’ Wolf
  7. Help Me – Sonny Boy Williamson
  8. Road Runner (Live at Myrtle Beach) – Bo Diddley
  9. Nadine – Chuck Berry
  10. No Particular Place to Go – Chuck Berry
  11. High-Heel Sneakers – Tommy Tucker
  12. I Don’t Want ‘Cha – Tommy Tucker
  13. Slip In Mules – Sugar Pie DeSanto
  14. Long Tall Shorty – Tommy Tucker
  15. Soulful Dress – Sugar Pie DeSanto
  16. Killing Floor – Howlin’ Wolf
  17. Checkin’ Up On My Baby – Sonny Boy Williamson
  18. The Same Thing – Muddy Waters
  19. I’m In The Mood – John Lee Hooker
  20. Bring It On Home – Sonny Boy Williamson

Wilko Johnson, Joanne Shaw Taylor UK tour

Apr 14: Glasgow O2 ABC
Apr 15: Newcastle O2 Academy
Apr 16: Manchester The Ritz
Apr 21: Bristol O2 Academy
Apr 22: Leamington The Assembly
Apr 23: London O2 Forum Kentish Town

Fan’s fight to save Wilko’s life

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.