Friday, October 4, 2013


Well, if it ain't my old buddy, Johnny Winter. My first guitar hero. I'd never heard of him when I saw him on TV in my teens, but I was so taken by his licks, I did what young music fiends normally do. I headed down to the record store and bought his latest LP, Johnny Winter And Live (the name of the band was Johnny Winter And, and it was a live album. Yeah, clever). It was a great live album, mixing stretched out blues songs showcasing his slide playing, along with more rockin' stuff with him and Rick Derringer swapping meaty licks (eye roll inducing, but it fits). In retrospect, it was a great LP for me at that age, but unbeknownst to me, he was a junky trying to clean up. There was a long waiting period for the next LP. That ended up being a serendipitous turn, as it had me, as young music fiends also do, backtracking his older stuff while I waited for something new to come out. My brothers were both eating up his stuff as well. So, bang, bang, bang, first job money was flying across the record store counter. In no time we had all of his LP's up until that point. Four on Columbia (the label that broke him), one on Imperial, and a couple, capitalizing on his popularity, that compiled earlier obscurities.

Before we had even heard another current Winter LP, we were learning about the blues. That's because, as you went backwards chronologically, his LPs had more and more blues. Before his fifth on Columbia, "Still Alive and Well", had come out, we had it bad. My brother started bringing home blues LPs: Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson; bam bam, bam. We didn't have expenses, we all lived at home, we didn't drive, weren't particularly fashion conscious, and we didn't drink. Records and rolled tacos got all our expendable money, and all of our money was expendable. So we spent it on this music that we were just becoming cognizant of. It was cool. You can sort of recreate that by listening to the songs below, top to bottom. That first one will give you an indication of what I thought I was getting myself into. Oh, the lessons that were learned. Ground zero for us. From then on it became all about fiending, reading, searching, listening, debating, talking to hippie counter guys, all of it. We were off to the damn races.

Johnny Winter And - Johnny B. Goode (live) mp3 at Ghost Whisperer From the fourth Columbia LP
Johnny Winter - Hustled Down In Texas mp3 at Review Stalker From the second Columbia LP
Johnny Winter -Be Careful With a Fool mp3 at Smokestack Lightning From the first Columbia LP
Johnny Winter - When You Got A Good Friend mp3 at Cover Me From the first Columbia LP
Johnny Winter - Dallas mp3 at David Fulmer  From the first Columbia LP
Johnny Winter - Leaving Blues mp3 at Aquarium Drunkard Very early, produced by Huey Meaux. If song link is disabled, go there to get it. It's worth it.

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