Friday, March 17, 2017

Johnny Winter - 1974 - John Dawson Winter III

Johnny Winter
John Dawson Winter III

01. Rock & Roll People 2:44
02. Golden Olden Days Of Rock & Roll 3:02
03. Self Destructive Blues 3:27
04. Raised On Rock 4:42
05. Stranger 3:54
06. Mind Over Matter 4:14
07. Roll With Me 3:04
08. L ove Song To Me 2:05
09. Pick Up On My Mojo 3:21
10. Lay Down Your Sorrows 4:09
11. Sweet Papa John 3:07

Johnny Winter - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Edgar Winter - keyboards, saxophone, vocals
Rick Derringer - guitar
Randy Jo Hobbs - bass
Richard Hughes - drums
Kenny Ascher - keyboards
Michael Brecker - saxophone
Randy Brecker - trumpet
Louis del Gatto - saxophone
Paul Prestopino - steel guitar
David Taylor - trombone
Mark Kreider - backing vocals on "Raised on Rock"

As the seventies push on, so does Johnny Winter. John Dawson Winter III is his first album on Blue Sky records and is every bit as rock filled as his previous two studio albums, perhaps even more so. Derringer is no longer with the group and once again, they are down to the three man powerhouse they once were. The melodies and rhythms are surprisingly catchy. Expect tons of Winter rock and it is not until the B side does one hear gritty blues. Normally, I prefer the blues side of the group, but this album is delightfully energetic and captivating. The solos are done in typical Johnny Winter style and the use of multiple voice chorus lines throughout John Dawson Winter III adds extra enthusiasm.

The A side is almost all rock, both in style and in title. The standout is “Raised on Rock.” This track is a driving anthem with the multiple voice chorus I mentioned above. “Mind Over Matter” is a very similar track, the albums most infectious track. I was surprised when Winter included a country track on Still Alive and Well. When I first heard it, I figured it was a one time experiment but not so. “Love Song To Me” is a self-indulgent country track sure to crack a smile or two. The lyrics are funny, unique, and sort of stupid – most of the popular country music of the last few years can only claim the last of these categories. Also, not very many country bands feature a guitarist anywhere close in talent to Winter, so you are in for a treat. Other highlights from the B side include “Pick Up on My Mojo,” filled with luscious guitar rhythms and the slower, more bluesy “Sweet Papa John,” filled with suggestive lyrics. I also enjoy the softer track “Lay Down Your Sorrows.”

Fans of the better rock tracks found on Saints and Sinners and Still Alive and Well should delight in what this album has to offer. There are a few bluesier tracks to keep early Winter fans entertained, but the rock tracks are solid enough to convert even the hardcore blues enthusiasts. In terms of rockier Winter albums, this is my favorite up to this point in his discography even beating out Johnny Winter And... and all the Hoochie Koo that goes along with that album. Although not quite as energetic as some of his earlier stuff, John Dawson Winter III comes very much recommended, despite being largely overlooked.

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