Thursday, March 16, 2017

Johnny Winter - 1970 - Johnny Winter And

Johnny Winter
Johnny Winter And

01. Guess I'll Go Away
02. Ain't That A Kindness
03. No Time To Live
04. Rock And Roll Hootchie Koo
05. Am I Here?
06. Look Up
07. Prodigal Son
08. On The Limb
09. Let The Music Play
10. Nothing Left
11. Funky Music

Johnny Winter – vocals, guitar,
Rick Derringer – vocals, guitar
Randy Jo Hobbs – bass
Randy Zehringer – percussion

Johnny Winter And... completes the rock transition the group started with the release of Johnny Winter. The music heard on this album is blues sprinkled rock music; quite a difference from the raw, 'in-your-face' blues found on The Progressive Blues Experiment. To solidify the change, following Second Winter, the group would break up and Winter would enlist the guitar talents of Rick Derringer, Randy Hobbs replacing Tommy Shannon, and Randy Z (Ricks' brother) replacing Uncle John Turner. As a result, the vocal duties and guitar duties are shared between Winter and Derringer. Purists of the Winter sound may voice their complaints about this addition, but the presence of a second guitar does allow for more complex songwriting. I will agree that not hearing Winter's unique, gritty vocals on every track does take a bit of getting used to.

The group's previous albums have been a mixture of tracks written by Winter and various blues rock covers. The addition of Derringer results in the group's most original album with the duo largely splitting the songwriting duties on Johnny Winter And.... The new drum specialist, Randy Z, even gets in the songwriting action with the psychedelic rock track, "Am I Here?." As far as rock music is concerned, this album is moderately solid and includes the top 40 hit "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo," Derringer's lone top 40 hit. One will not find the slow blues tracks that frequented the first three Winter albums, but there are a few decent slower rock tracks including "No Time to Live" and "Let the Music Play." Throughout the album, lengthy guitar solos have been replaced with more verse-chorus-verse style music. As a result, the tracks are more uniform on Johnny Winter And... than any of the previous albums; no lengthy blues epics, no prolonged soloing, and much more vocally and lyrically dependent.

Johnny Winter's first collaboration with lil' Rick Derringer, the eleven song Johnny Winter And, is a smokin' recording of hot blooze, rock, a few sobering cuts. Leading off with the raucous "Guess I'll Go Away", and featuring the Derringer penned "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo", as well as "Let the Music Play" and "Am I Here?", Johnny and the boys laid it down with confidence from the confines of the studio for the early '70s LP.

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