Thursday, March 16, 2017

Johnny Winter - 1969 - Second Winter

Johnny Winter 
Second Winter

101. Memory Pain 5:27
102. I'm Not Sure 5:18
103. The Good Love 4:38
104. Slippin' And Slidin' 2:43
105. Miss Ann 3:04
106. Johnny B. Goode 3:45
107. Highway 61 Revisited 5:07
108. I Love Everybody 3:50
109. Hustled Down In Texas 3:31
110. I Hate Everybody 2:35
111. Fast Life Rider 7:05
112. Early In The Morning 3:47
113. Tell The Truth [Instrumental] 4:30

Live At Royal Albert Hall (1970-04-17)

201. Help Me 4:59
202. Johnny B. Goode 3:41
203. Mama Talk To Your Daughter 5:16
204. It's My Own Fault 12:00
205. Black Cat Bone 5:38
206. Mean Town Blues 11:12
207. Tobacco Road 11:05
208. Frankenstein 9:11
209. Tell The Truth 9:08

Bass – Tommy Shannon (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to C4)
Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Alto Saxophone – Edgar Winter
Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin – Johnny Winter

Second Winter is the third studio album by Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, released in 1969. The original plan was to edit the songs from the recording session into one album but it was later thought that all the recordings were good enough to be released. The album was released as a "three-sided" LP, with a blank fourth side on the original vinyl. Two more songs, "Tell the Truth" and "Early in the Morning" were left unfinished but released on a 2004 re-release of the album.

Second Winter is Winter and company's third solid album in a string of classic last sixties and seventies blues rock works. This album initially sounds more pop/rock influenced than either of the groups previous works. This is largely due to the large amount of covers, many of which being softer rock tracks. A few of the tracks such as "Miss Ann" have the same sixties pop/rock flavor as "I'll Drown in My Tears" from Johnny Winter. Winter's only original contribution on the first two sides of this album is "I'm Not Sure." Of course he does exercise a far amount of creativity in many of the altered covers, most notably the amped up version of Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited." Side C does collect four Winter originals and is accompanied by a bizarrely blank D side. Although not as groundbreaking or as entrenched in heavy blues music as The Progressive Blues Experiment, Second Winter does showcase many of the great qualities fans of guitar based blues rock are interested in. It goes without saying that the guitar solos are fantastic, but I also love how the bass is brought out despite the dominating guitar. Shannon and Winter often play the same melody ("Fast Life Rider" is a great example of this) and the heavy bass, along with the guitar really drive the melody home. With the varying covers, original music, and different musical styles, Second Winter is a jumbled mess of an album that seems to somehow sounds great.

Of the first two sides, fans of heavier blues rock should appreciate "Memory Pain" and perhaps "The Good Love." The cover of "Johnny B. Goode" can be heard on many subsequent live albums for obviously reasons. It carries a great solo, but carries essentially the same melody and feel as Berry's original. Eddie Winter plays a larger role throughout this album with his sax and piano work. The sax is especially important in duplicating the pop sound of "Miss Ann" and "Slippin' and Slidin'." Although the first two sides are very good, it is the last four tracks that vault this album to another level. I love the contrast between "I Love Everybody" and "I Hate Everybody," "Hustled Down in Texas" has a great fast blues tempo, and "Fast Life Rider" is a fantastic seven minute blues jam. "Fast Life Rider" is my favorite track on Second Winter. The main theme at the beginning and end of this track is one of my favorites across any genre. I mentioned the guitar-bass unison earlier, but take note of the primal sounding drum rhythm that carries through most of the tracks expressive and lengthy solo.

Winter and company's first three albums follow a nice progression; changing slightly with each release. Second Winter is less bluesy than Johnny Winter, but every bit as engaging and entertaining. Depending on your taste, some of the covers may not be as solid as the rest of the album, but there should be plenty for any fan of blues rock.

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