Friday, March 17, 2017

Edgar Winter - 1979 - The Edgar Winter Album

Edgar Winter
The Edgar Winter Album

01. It's Your Life to Live
02. Above and Beyond
03. Take It the Way It Is
04. Dying to Live
05. Please Don't Stop
06. Make It Last
07. Do What
08. It Took Your Love to Bring Me Out
09. Forever in Love

Keith Errol Benson Drums
Tom Moulton Producer
Craig Snyder Guitar
Larry Washington Percussion
James Williams Bass
James "D-Train" Williams Bass
Jimmy Williams Bass
Edgar Winter Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals

Edgar Winter reworks one of his best old songs, "Dying to Live," and dishes up a handful of new tunes to round out a fairly good album. "It Took Your Love" and "Forever in Love" highlight the record, which, although it doesn't measure up to his prior efforts, still manages to put forth some good vibes.

To my ears 'The Edgar Winter Album' (recorded in 1979) is the singer most fully realized,best produced,well crafted and enjoyable albums Winter ever released.Every song is superbly sung and will have you singing along for hours after hearing it.Winter obviously decided that in the late 70's he didn't want to be that commercial anymore.So instead of cranking out more Southern rock anthems like "Free Ride" he put his energy into his interest in R&B,funk and jazz.Here he discovers how the new style of disco funk and the use of electronic keyboards can punch up his sound a lot.So instead of going by commercial considerations that said rock musicians sound avoid anything smacking of disco,Edgar Winter abruptly decides to fully integrate it into his sound.It doesn't seem that Winter's interest in disco rhythms stem from any need to sell out to the radio of the day-he always uses the rhythms in a purely artistic fasion and the production on the uptempo tunes is devoid of cheesy disco strings or anything like that,but still has a nice glossy sheen.It's also devoid of any interludes of hard rock or blues-it's all pure vocal funk,R&B and some disco.But for almost 99.9 % of the time more funk oriented disco-more in a class with Heatwave then Love & Kisses.Vocally speaking Winter doesn't feel the need to scream the vocals as he sometimes did before.Instead he explores his what well over four octave vocal range in far more elegant ways,such as jumping into a mildly Bee Gee's/Philip Bailey type falsetto in parts of some of the songs."It's Your Way To Live" is a great song through a through-a catchy,dancable slice of disco soul with some great sax and backup singers."Please Don't Stop" takes the funky disco sound and pushes the one to the limit "disco inferno" style!Now "Above And Beyond" and "Take It The Way It Is"?Those two are monsters that punch you right out with the snappy sound and big fat keyboards.And the former was the albums only chart hit (peaking at #94 pop-how cruel for such a kicking song).And "Do What"-well that just gets deep-Winter turns the groove up and mixes it hot with his spirited sax playing on a mighty instrumental.Besides once those handclaps get going at the very beginning you know the tune won't lose.But as with Edgar Winter's musical beliefs he is an experimentalist-this album is based somewhat in disco but he explores all subgenre's of it-the two most well crafted and catchiest tunes here "Make It Last" and "It Took Your Love To Bring Me Out" owe a lot to two sources-the spirited Gamble & Huff dance-soul sound and Tom Moulton,who produced Grace Jones's first three albums as well as this one.But unlike with Jones Winter,not Moulton is the star of the show and as such Winter avoids the disco clishes that Moulton forced upon Jones and makes use of Winter's natural funkiness.Even on the dynamic remake of "Dying To Live" and the spirited other ballad on this album "Forever In Love" Winter arranges the orchestra and gives the sound his own personal stamp through and through.The sound is so full in fact it's hard to believe that only a quartet backed him up on this album.'The Edgar Winter Album' likely sold pretty well but it never got the kind of recognition that his records with The Edgar Winter Group or White Trash (even the previous release-the terrific funk album 'Recycled') and remained out of print for years until Wounded Bird came to the rescue.Critics likely reviled Winter along with The Stones,Rod Stewart,Elton John and even former Winter bandmate Dan Hartman for riding the disco train until it derailed.But disco's influence baught out the best and most consistant album of Edgar's career on this one.And even though 'The Edgar Winter Album' isn't a full flegded four-on-the-floor disco album from start to finish it is completely devoted to R&B,pop and dance funk and opened up a whole new area for Edgar Winter's sound to grow and expand.But if you,as I can't get enough of that late 70's synth-dance-funk sound then 'The Edgar Winter Album' is something that is a must for your music collection!

Edgar Winter - 1977 - Recycled

Edgar Winter 

01. Puttin' It Back
02. Left Over Love
03. Shake It Off
04. Stickin' It Out
05. New Wave
06. Open Up
07. Parallel Love
08. In and out of Love Blues
09. Competition

Robert Arnold Bass
Sherman Marshall Cyr Trumpet
Dan Hartman Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
Jerry Lacroix Harmonica, Sax (Baritone), Sax (Tenor), Saxophone, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Dan Minatre Guitar
Floyd Radford Guitar, Wah Wah Guitar
George Recile Congas, Drums
Jo Smith Sax (Tenor), Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Jon Smith Composer, Horn Arrangements, Saxophone, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Edgar Winter Clavinet, Composer, Fender Rhodes, Keyboards, Piano, Primary Artist, Producer, Sax (Alto), Vocals, Vocals (Background)

The much-anticipated reunion of Edgar Winter's White Trash brings the powerhouse vocalist Jerry LaCroix back to the forefront, allowing Edgar Winter to put more of his energy into the keyboards, saxophones and percussion. While Recycled is by no means any competition for their 1971 debut album or their subsequent live release, Roadwork, it still houses a few punches that will catch you with your guard down if you aren't careful. Extreme musicianship dominates, but a few classic covers might have helped endear this release to its listeners. After all, that was the key to the original success.

Edgar Winter - 1975 - The Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer

Edgar Winter
The Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer

01. Cool Dance
02. People Music
03. Good Shot
04. Nothin' Good Comes Easy
05. Infinite Peace in Rhythm
06. Paradise/Sides
07. Diamond Eyes
08. Modern Love
09. Let's Do It Together Again
10. Can't Tell One from the Other
11. J.A.P. (Just Another Punk)
12. Chainsaw

Bass, Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Strings, Percussion – Dan Hartman
Drums, Vocals, Percussion – Chuck Ruff
Keyboards, Vocals, Saxophone, Percussion – Edgar Winter
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Bass, Percussion – Rick Derringer
Banjo, Guitar [Classical], Resonator Guitar [Dobro] – Paul Prestopino

After his excellent showings with White Trash and the orbit-escaping success of They Only Come Out at Night, The Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer comes as a bit of a letdown. While there are at least a couple of outstanding tracks here, namely "Diamond Eyes" and "Paradise," the remainder of the album just doesn't meet Winter's self-imposed standards.

Edgar Winter - 1975 - Jasmine Nightdreams

Edgar Winter
Jasmine Nightdreams

01. One Day Tomorrow
02. Little Brother
03. Hello Mellow Feelin'
04. Tell Me in a Whisper
05. Shuffle-Low
06. Keep on Burnin'
07. How Do You Like Your Love
08. I Always Wanted You
09. Outa Control
10. All Out
11. Sky Train
12. Solar Strut

 Rick Derringer  -  Guitar, Vocals
Dan Hartman  -  Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
Johnny Winter  -  Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Edgar Winter  -  Keyboards, Vocals
Rick Marotta  -  Drums
Chuck Ruff  -  Drums, Vocals

Not since his debut, Entrance, had Edgar Winter appeared in a solo capacity. This time out, he reverts to his heavy jazz and gospel influences to produce an album that merits much more attention than what it ultimately received. Winter is decidedly laid-back on tracks such as "Hello Mellow Feelin'" and "Tell Me in a Whisper," which serve as the finest of the nine tracks here. Winter puts on his party hat once again with the rocking "Out of Control," the final track on a pretty nice little rock & roll document.

The great US blues rocker Edgar Winter's career was arguably, at it's best in the early '70's with his solo work and collaborations with brother Johnny. The pairs' early compositions were wonderful blends of R&B, rock, jazz, and soul. "Jasmine Nightdreams" was described by an Amazon reviewer as "pop, funk, R&B and pop rock to boogie, straight-ahead rock, acid rock, fusion, experimental synthesizer flights of fantasy, and straight jazz". A great description of this great album. In 1975, the Edgar Winter Group was riding high on success and on a creative roll. On "Jasmine Nightdreams", the band consisted of Edgar himself on keyboards, sax and vocals with help Dan Hartman on bass and vocals, shortly to have a worldwide hit with 'Instant Replay' and axe hero Rick Derringer on guitar and vocals. The later albums of Edgar, and Johnny, with White Trash, The Edgar Winter Group, and Roadwork were more pure rock orientated, had far less less jazz/soul influences, and appealed more to rock audiences, and nothing wrong with that. The 1976 "Edgar Winter and Johnny Winter Live" is a cracking album full of great Rock'N'Roll covers, and The Edgar Winter Group's 1972 "They Only Come Out at Night" album is one of the great rock albums of the early seventies. If you are not familiar with the more laid back, "gentler" side of Edgar Winter, you may like "Jasmine Nightdreams".

Edgar Winter - 1974 - Shock Treatment

Edgar Winter
Shock Treatment

01. Some Kinda Animal
02. Easy Street
03. Sundown
04. Miracle of Love
05. Do Like Me
06. Rock and Roll Woman
07. Someone Take My Heart Away
08. Queen of My Dreams
09. Maybe Some Day You'll Call My Name
10. River's Risin'
11. Animal

Rick Derringer - producer, bass, guitar, electric sitar, vocals
Dan Hartman - guitar, bass, percussion, autoharp, vocals
Chuck Ruff - drums
Edgar Winter - bass, Clavinet, Mellotron, organ, piano, synthesizer, vibraphone, saxophone, vocals
Teresa Alfieri - design
Vic Anesini - mastering
Jimmy Iovine - assistant engineer
Bill King - photography
Lou Schlossberg - assistant engineer
Shelly Yakus - engineer
Lehman Yates - assistant engineer

With this release, Edgar Winter was faced with the question that haunts many a superstar following a highly successful album -- how can he outdo himself? While Shock Treatment falls short of outdoing himself, it still manages to rock pretty righteously. Beginning with this album's answer to their previous "Hangin' Around," "Some Kinda Animal," the band moves into the excellent blues torcher "Easy Street," which is painted with highlights from the substantial saxophone talent of Winter, not to mention some of his finest singing. Like They Only Come Out at Night, this recording includes a pair of haunting ballads, "Maybe Someday You'll Call My Name" and "Someone Take My Heart Away." "Queen of My Dreams," along with "River's Risin'," showcase the Edgar Winter Group doing what they do best -- rocking out with passion and lots of drums and guitar. Not as good as their previous album, but still a winner in its own right.

The Edgar Winter Group followed up their big selling 1972 LP, They Only Come Out at Night, two years later with the release of Shock Treatment. With introverted guitarist Ronnie Montrose out of the picture, fronting his own power-packed, nation-rocking group, the ever-ready 'n' reliable Rick Derringer stepped in as the guitarist for the majority of the tracks from Shock Treatment. In addition, Derringer also produced the studio sessions from the Record Plant. Besides Derringer, a host of industry heavy hitters assisted on the recording, which included Shelly Yakus, Bill Szymczyk and Jimmy Iovine.

The majority of the tracks from Shock Treatment were penned by vocalist Dan Hartman, while E.W. wrote three of the songs on his own. Despite the lack of any songs from Shock Treatment approaching the genius of the electrified instrumental "Frankenstein", or the hot summer cruisin' action of "Free Ride", Shock Treatment scores with the brash album opener "Some Kind of Animal", as well as the bluesy swagger that drives "Easy Street", and the hyper rockin', quick two-minute blast of "Queen of My Dreams". The 1974 recording packs on the get-on-down funky rollin' "Do Like Me", and the ballsy boogie of LP closer "Animal". The confident, eleven song effort also features the mellow "Sundown", and the upbeat "Rock & Roll Woman".

Shock 'n' Roll...

Edgar Winter - 1972 - They Only Come Out At Night

Edgar Winter 
They Only Come Out At Night

01. Hangin' Around
02. When It Comes
03. Alta Mira
04. Free Ride
05. Undercover Man
06. Round & Round
07. Rock 'N' Roll Boogie Woogie Blues
08. Autumn
09. We All Had a Real Good Time
10. Frankenstein

Johnny Badanjek – drums
Rick Derringer – producer, bass, guitar, pedal steel, vocals, claves
Dan Hartman – guitar, bass, percussion, maracas, ukulele, vocals
Randy Jo Hobbs – bass
Ronnie Montrose – guitar, mandolin
Steve Paul – organic director
Chuck Ruff – conga, drums, vocals
Bill Szymczyk – technical director
Edgar Winter – organ, synthesizer, ARP 2600, piano, marimba, saxophone, timbales, vocals, clavinet

While this album will forever be remembered for spawning the huge hit singles "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride," there's plenty more to appreciate on this stellar release. From "the other single," "Hangin' Around," to the pretty melodies of "Round & Around" and "Autumn," the set collects ten outstanding cuts, played with fervor by Edgar Winter, Chuck Ruff, Dan Hartman, Randy Jo Hobbs, and Ronnie Montrose, along with guest artist/producer Rick Derringer. The "party" feel of "We All Had a Real Good Time" and the singalong "Alta Mira" only add to this already red-hot mix, making They Only Come Out at Night the album Winter will always be remembered for.

Edgar Winter throws it all against the wall on They Only Come Out at Night... and it sticks. Like the work of a mad scientist in the laboratory, E.W. slaved in the studio with a variety of styles, that resulted in a hot collection of rockers, blues, funk, pop, a ballad, and an intense instrumental that turned into a monster. TOCOAN features ten tracks, highlighted by the summertime driving classic, "Free Ride", plus the album's longest number, the electrified instrumental "Frankenstein", the lovely "Autumn", the up-tempo album opener, "Hangin' Around", and the ballsy "Undercover Man". With Ronnie Montrose on board, laying out the killer guitar work, along with vocals from Dan Hartman, and Chuck Huff pounding the kit, the Edgar Winter Group scored big time throughout They Only Come Out at Night. Mighty-mite rocker, Rick "All-American Boy" Derringer, assisted on this classic recording from 1972.

Edgar Winter - 1972 - Roadwork

Edgar Winter 

01. Save The Planet
02. Jive, Jive, Jive  
03. I Can't Turn You Loose  
04. Still Alive And Well  
05. Back In The U.S.A.  
06. Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo
07. Tobacco Road  
08. Cool Fool
09. Do Yourself A Favor  
10. Turn On Your Lovelight  

Edgar Winter: Lead and backing vocals, Keyboards, Saxophone
Jerry LaCroix: Lead and backing vocals, saxophone
Jon Smith: Backing vocals, saxophone
Rick Derringer: Lead vocals, guitars
Randy Jo Hobbs: Bass
Bobby Ramirez: Drums
Marshall Cyr: Trumpet
Mike McClellan: Trumpet
Tilly Lawrence: Trumpet
Johnny Winter: Lead vocals, guitar on "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo"

The live follow-up to 1971's Edgar Winter's White Trash finds the group running through a handful of the tunes from their debut album, as well as rocking things up a bit with "Still Alive and Well" (a track later recorded by Edgar's brother Johnny) and "Back in the U.S.A." One of the most immortal lines for any live rock album has to be "People keep askin' me -- where's your brother?" The introduction of guest artist Johnny Winter by his brother Edgar sets the stage for a rousing rendition of Rick Derringer's "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo." The extended version of blues classic "Tobacco Road" is one of the finest moments on this album, which is itself a classic.

Edgar Winter's finest album benefits greatly from some very talented guests.  Recorded live at L.A.'s famous Whiskey A-Go-Go, and New York's famed Apollo Theatre, this album is four sides of good Rockin' R&B.  Some folks would call this "blue eyed soul" but with albino brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter maybe you should call it "pink eyed soul".  Whatever you call it, brother Johnny is just the beginning of those talented guests.  You're also treated to some fine guitar work from Rick Derringer, and very soulful vocals from one Jerry Lecroix.  Add some fine and funky horns into the mix and an great rhythm section, and you've got the makings of a fine group.  The first three songs, "Save the Planet", "Jive, Jive, Jive", and "I Can't Turn You Loose" are the highlights for me.  "Tobacco Road" is pretty good, but suffers from some over indulgence when Edgar Winter just tries too hard, and makes the song about 6 or so minutes than it should be.  Also I find Johnny Winter's appearance on "Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo" a bit sloppy.  The album ends well with a fired up version of "Turn On Your Lovelight" where Lecroix turns in his best performance.  I wouldn't call it the best live album of the 70's or even early 70's, but it's still pretty damned good stuff.

Edgar Winter - 1971 - Edgar Winter's White Trash

Edgar Winter 
Edgar Winter's White Trash

01. Give It Everything You Got
02. Fly Away
03. Where Would I Be
04. Let's Get It On
05. I've Got News for You
06. Save the Planet
07. Dying to Live
08. Keep Playin' That Rock & Roll
09. You Were My Light
10. Good Morning Music

Edgar Winter – organ, piano, celeste, keyboards, saxophone, vocals
Rick Derringer – guitar, vocals, producer
Johnny Winter – guitar, harmonica, vocals
Jerry Lacroix – harmonica, saxophone, vocals
Jon Smith – tenor saxophone, vocals
Mike McClellan – trumpet, vocals
Floyd Radford – guitar
George Sheck – bass guitar
Bobby Ramirez – drums
Steven Paul – organic director
Ray Barretto – conductor, congas
Alfred Brown – strings
Arnold Eidus – strings
George Ricci – strings
Gene Orloff – strings
Emanuel Green – strings
Max Pollikoff – strings
Russell Savkas – strings
Eileen Gilbert – conductor, vocals
Carl Hull – vocals
Albertine Robinson – vocals
Tasha Thomas – vocals
Janice Bell – vocals
Maretha Stewart – vocals
Patti Smith – poetry

Perhaps one of his best-loved albums, Edgar Winter's White Trash combined funk, blues, R&B, and rock & roll to create one of the freshest sounds of the early '70s. Touching on gospel with "Fly Away" and "Save the Planet," Winter and his band cover all the bases, climbing into the lower end of the Top 40 with "Keep Playin' That Rock and Roll." Winter's hauntingly beautiful "Dying to Live," featuring some of his best piano work, serves as a valid anti-war statement, written at the height of the Vietnam era, and the remainder of the record is filled with genuine rock & roll/boogie-woogie/blues that will keep your head bobbing and your toes tapping.

Let the wild rumpus start! This is one of the most wild, outrageous, soaring, out of control Rock albums in all history. It's as packed full of jaw-dropping OH HELL YEAH moments as any album I've ever heard. This thing is just a gem! There are so many facets to this truly wondrous album I hardly know where to begin. Rick Derringer and Johnny Winter's guitars are like fire and ice all over the place. The album is absolutely soaked and steeped in Deep Blues and Southern Gospel. And it has a true sense of absolutely head busting, nothing can stop it, about to rampage out of control into the wildest party the earth has ever seen at any moment that probably no other album has. Plus it's all killer and no filler. There are a few real stone classics that do stand out however. Let's Get It On is just astounding. There's the Gospel inflected vocals and piano, the crazy congos in the background, the guitar break that explodes full bore into one of the greatest solos I've ever been blessed to hear, it's staggeringly awesome. Then there's the gorgeous Fly Away which is nearly tears of joy inducing. And Keep Playing That Rock N Roll? You gotta hear it to believe it. Get this album now!

Edgar Winter - 1970 - Entrance

Edgar Winter

01. Winter's Dream Entrance
02. Where Have You Gone
03. Rise To Fall
04. Fire And Ice
05. Hung Up
06. Back In The Blues
07. Re-Entrance
08. Tobacco Road
09. Jump Right Out  
10. Peace Pipe
11. A Different Game
12. Jimmy'S Gospel

Edgar Winter - Organ, Producer, Vocals, Sax (Alto), Piano, Celeste
Randal Dolanon - Guitar
Gene Kurtz - Bass
Jimmy Gillen - Drums
Ray Alonge - Horn
Earl Chapin - Horn
Brooks Tillotson - Horn
Paul Gershman - Strings
Emanuel Green - Strings
Gene Cahn - Strings
Ralph Oxman - Strings
Russel Savkus - Strings

On "Tobacco Road"
Edgar Winter - Organ, Producer, Vocals, Sax (Alto)
Johnny Winter - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Tommy Shannon - Bass
"Uncle" John Turner - Drums

Edgar Winter came out of the chute kicking with this remarkable record filled with jazz, blues, and a little old-fashioned rock & roll. The record follows an established theme throughout its first side, stringing the songs together without breaks, highlighted by dreamy keyboard and sax work, plus Winter's smooth vocalizations. But jazz isn't the only thing Winter brings to the party. His first recorded version of the old J.D. Loudermilk tune "Tobacco Road" throws a few nice punches (although the live version with White Trash a few years later would prove the definitive one). "Jimmy's Gospel" plays on his early church influences, while "Jump Right Out" is the predecessor of half-a-dozen "jump up and dance" numbers Winter would pepper his records with in the years to come.

Johnny Winter - 1978 - White, Hot And Blue

Johnny Winter 
White, Hot And Blue

01. Walkin' By Myself 3:28
02. Slidin' In 5:04
03. Divin' Duck 3:27
04. One Step At A Time 3:58
05. Nickel Blues 3:33
06. E-Z Rider 4:00
07. Last Night 5:35
08. Messin' With The Kid 2:53
09. Honest I Do 4:12

Johnny Winter - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Edgar Winter - keyboards, saxophone, vocals
Bobby Torello - drums
Isaac Payton Sweat - bass
Pat Rush - guitar
Pat Ramsey - harmonica
Tom Brock - mandolin

The seventies was a good decade for Johnny Winter. His fame grew throughout the decade and although perhaps faded a bit in the final years, he still carried a great head of steam into the eighties. His accomplishments are great; Woodstock (albeit 1969), Woodstock reunion, successful tag team with Rick Derringer, work with blues giants such as Muddy Waters and James Cotton, and numerous successful singles, most notably "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo." White Hot & Blue is his sixth and last studio album Winter would produce in the seventies and one of the bluesiest as well. Late seventies gem, Nothin' but the Blues, saw a renaissance with Winter's style, returning to a more classic blues sound with lots of slide guitar and less rock influence. Its successor, White Hot & Blue, follows the same lead but in a slightly more electric fashion. Sadly, many of his fans at the time were not interested in him playing the blues, but rather the rock and roll tracks that propelled his career earlier that decade (this is easily heard when listening to most any bootleg Johnny Winter concert in the last 1970s - the restless crowd often demanding "Jumping Jack Flash" or "Johnny B. Goode"). However, if you enjoy blues music, this album is very worthwhile. Although just as bluesy as his 1968 and 1969 albums, White Hot & Blue lacks the heaviness and raw electric charge present on these albums. Do not get me wrong, this album is heavier than Nothin' but the Blues, but does not sound as course as his earlier work. Instead, his guitar playing and his vocals sound far more mature and relaxed.

White Hot & Blue opens about as strong as any of Winters other seventies material. All five A side tracks are strong with "Slidin' In" and "Divin' Duck" being the best of the bunch. This is a bit surprising as "Walkin' By Myself" opens the album with kind of a childish guitar melody. I will say that this album does take a bit of time to fully blossom. These five tracks are no exception. However, with enough listens, one picks up on the little things that add so much personality to the tracks, "Walkin' By Myself" included (a great, unexpected slide near the end of the track). Check out the lyrics on "Slidin' In." I believe these to be some of the best Winter has ever created. He has a great way of sounding both witty and deadly serious and this track is a perfect example. This also appears on the great "Nickel Blues."

Unfortunately, the momentum that the album builds on the A side does not carry over to the B side and prevents the album from the 4.5 rating that I wish I could give it. "E.Z. Rider" and "Last Night" are both decent and very much in the flavor of the A side tracks, but the following two tracks are a bit misplaced. The melody on "Messin' With the Kid" is a bit annoying for me, but is otherwise passable, but "Honest I Do" has not business being on this album. First and foremost, this track is by no means terrible. In fact, I really enjoy it. However, it is more in the spirit of Johnny's late sixties pre-soul pop work and sticks out among the other eight blues rock tracks, ruining the consistency of the album.

Despite the few flaws that White Hot & Blue may have, I enjoy this album with spirited gusto. There are few Winter albums I have enjoyed as much as this album. Being similar to John Dawson Winter III, expect great blues rock with little to no seventies pop influence. This is just Johnny doing what he wants to do. Luckily for blues fans, he does what he does very well. Sad that this album is not more recognized than it is... I love this damn record.

Johnny Winter - 1977 - Nothin' But The Blues

Johnny Winter 
Nothin' But The Blues

01. Tired Of Tryin' 3:40
02. TV Mama 3:11
03. Sweet Love And Evil Women 2:50
04. Everybody's Blues 5:03
05. Drinkin' Blues 3:40
06. Mad Blues 4:17
07. It Was Rainin' 5:53
08. Bladie Mae 3:30
09. Walking Thru The Park 4:07

Johnny Winter - guitar, harmonica, drums, bass, vocals
Muddy Waters - guitar, vocals
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith - drums
Pinetop Perkins - piano
Bob Margolin - guitar
James Cotton - harmonica
Charles Calmese - bass

"I'd like to dedicate this album to all the people who enjoy my kind of blues and especially to Muddy Waters for giving me the inspiration to do it and for giving the world a lifetime of great blues." - Johnny Winter

It is interesting to look back on Johnny Winter's career up to this point, 1977. In the early to mid sixties, he can be heard playing everything from blues rock to psychedelic rock to some soul infused rock and sixties pop rock. Most of these early tracks are short (around two to three minutes) and rarely develop into anything past a nice melody. His 1969 releases showed a more bluesy Winter and company, altogether abandoning the psychedelic influences and focusing more on guitar centered blues rock. In the early seventies, he became famous for his work with Rick Derringer and the pure rock music that followed ("Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo" being the most famous). In many of the live performances I have of Johnny, the crowd can often be heard demanding him to blast out one of these rock tracks, often to the point of yelling at him as he plays the blues. Nothin' But the Blues is just as the title suggests; Johnny Winter's middle finger at the rock and roll demanding populous. I do think that he enjoyed playing roll and roll tracks, but his departure from the blues rock that started his career in 1969 and his desire to play the blues had obviously reached an erupting point. This album is a return to the blues and blues rock eight years previous. No more driving drums, rolling bass lines, and shredding guitar solos. Instead, the rock element is replaced with a more traditional blues repertoire from some pretty big names in the field. There is plenty of harmonica work both supporting and lead from James Cotton, light drums by Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, piano compliments of "Pine Top" Perkins, and some supporting vocals from the great Muddy Waters to name a few. Johnny even picks up a metal body resonator during a few of the tracks. All of this results in an album unlike any he has produced before. Although none of the tracks presented on Nothin' But the Blues is as heavy as his more well known blues rock, there is a nice mix of blues and blues rock tracks.

If you like slide guitar, you are in for a treat as this album is full of it. Since Winter's guitar shares the spotlight with other blues musicians, Nothin' But the Blues feels more like a communal effort and not the Johnny Winter show like some of his past albums. With the exception of "Walking Thru the Park," Winter wrote all of the material here. I love the lyrics on "Drinkin' Blues." This track has easily the best lines on the album including, "All I had for breakfast was two smokes and one half pint." Harmonica is all over the album, and with James Cotton playing the harp, why not? He has a nice solo on the infectious album opener, "Tired of Tryin'." One of the bluesiest tracks, "TV Mama" has some great slide work. These three tracks are my favorites but also enjoy Muddy Waters helping with the vocals on "Walking Thru the Park." Although there are no tracks that are among Winter's all time best, this album is consistently above average from start to finish. If you enjoy his early blues recordings, you will most likely enjoy Nothin' But the Blues. This is an album Johnny wanted to cut and his happiness is easily heard here. I tend to enjoy the A side slightly more than the B, but all is enjoyable. This may not be as flashy and toe tapping as The Progressive Blues Experiment, but that is not the purpose of most of these tracks. Expect more down to earth blues and you will be entertained.

Johnny And Edgar Winter - 1976 - Johnny And Edgar Winter... Together

Johnny And Edgar Winter 
Johnny And Edgar Winter... Together

01. Harlem Shuffle 3:41
02. Soul Man 2:55
03. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' 5:04
04. Rock & Roll Medley (6:17)
Slippin' & Slidin'
Jailhouse Rock
Tutti Fruitti
Sick & Tired
I'm Ready
Realin' And Rockin'
Blue Suede Shoes
Jenny Take A Ride
Good Golly Miss Molly
05. Let The Good Times Roll 3:15
06. Mercy, Mercy 3:46
07. Baby, Whatcha Want Me To Do 11:06

Johnny Winter - guitar, vocals
Edgar Winter - saxophone, vocals
Rick Derringer - guitar
Floyd Radford - guitar
Randy Jo Hobbs - bass
Dan Hartman - piano
Richard Hughes - drums
Chuck Ruff - drums

I really did not know what to expect from this one. The Winter brothers play different styles of music and although they have been known to play together, this performance exceeded my expectations. I think they did it right; they have some bluesier tracks that are obviously from Johnny, some soul rock tracks from Edgar, and some that lie between their styles. It is hard to think of a more talented brother combination. Johnny and Edgar absolutely tear it up with both of them on vocals, Johnny on guitar doing his usual, and Edgar on a variety of instruments but most noticeably, the saxophone. They are accompanied by a host of other characters including Rick Derringer. This recording was taken from a live set. However, you can rarely hear the crowd except during each tracks closing. Together is nowhere near either of the two brother's finest albums, but it is a surprisingly good mesh of styles.

The first thing that struck we with Together is how well the two sing. With the exception of the final track, these songs are all fairly vocally intense, requiring a good range and even better upper register. The Winter's pull is off without a problem. If you like Johnny's bluesy stuff, check out "Baby, Whatcha Want Me to Do." This lengthy track is probably my favorite from this album. This is the only one here that has long solos from both brothers, a great melody, and to top it all off, a guitar-saxophone dual at the end of the track with the brothers building off of each other. After this, "Let the Good Times Roll" is solid as is "Harlem Shuffle." Even their rock infused version of The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" does not seem out of place. The only track I feel is a bit weak is the medley. Now normally, I love medleys but they transition between the different tracks too quickly and do not allow for each component to develop (the track is just over six minutes long and contains nine different tracks). Other than this, I enjoyed all of the other covers.

Despite having two Winters here, I never got the impression that one was out to one up the other. The set sounds organized and very cooperative. Even the guitar-sax showdown during the last track is seems like a communal effort. As long as you enjoy at least one of the Winter brothers, you should enjoy Together.

Johnny Winter - 1976 - Captured Live

Johnny Winter
Captured Live

01. Bony Moronie 6:50
02. Roll With Me 4:46
03. Rock & Roll People 5:39
04. It's All Over Now 6:15
05. Highway 61 Revisited 10:38
06. Sweet Papa John 12:37

Johnny Winter - guitar, slide guitar and vocals
Randy Jo Hobbs - bass, background vocals
Richard Hughes - Drums
Floyd Radford - Guitar

There is no doubt in my mind that this show would have been absolutely spectacular to see live. Johnny could really tear it up on the guitar during the seventies and eighties. However, Captured Live does not transition as well to the record. This comes as no surprise as I was not overly impressed with Johnny Winter And... Live for the same reasons. I'll watch clips online of him playing some live set in either the seventies or the eighties and notice much more than I would have if I had just heard audio. Winter and company exert an enormous amount of energy when playing that the atmosphere must have been electric. Then I hear testimonies from those older than myself who have had the privilege of seeing him live back in his prime. Almost everyone agrees that Winter could put on a damn fine show. This just strengthens my opinion that Winter is best served live, in both audio and visual form. Captured Live is good, but not great. The album pulls largely from John Dawson Winter III (four of six tracks), a piece of work that I particularly enjoy. On both albums, Winter has some great guitar solos and does a fantastic job differentiating between solos so that they do not all come across as standard note-bending, blistering blues rock solos. On the other side, about half of the album comes 'as expected' with the group playing album favorites with little change from their studio versions.

Six tracks, no standouts. "Bony Moronie" is always entertaining to listen to and is good on Captured Live, but not great. There are three other tracks from John Dawson Winter III: "Roll With Me," "Rock & Roll People," and "Sweet Papa John." The first two of these three were not my favorites on JDW3 and the same applies here. "Sweet Papa John" and "It's All Over Now" are as close to standout tracks as this album is going to get. The former is a twelve plus minute track, deliciously bluesy and long - filled with great guitar solos and of course the wonderfully suggestive lyrics. Look to this track as the only track from this album that bests its studio cover. Winter's cover of "Highway 61 Revisited" is also filled with nice solos and has decent length as well, but again, not as spectacular as the original. Winter's vocals are a bit lazy during this track - substituting the original vocal melody for one a bit easier. If you enjoy mid-seventies Johnny Winter and company (especially John Dawson Winter III), you will most likely enjoy this as well. The tunes are good, but in my opinion, not his best.

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.

Johnny Winter - 1974 - Saints And Sinners

Johnny Winter
Saints And Sinners

01. Stone County 3:31
02. Blinded By Love 4:32
03. Thirty Days 3:01
04. Stray Cat Blues 4:18
05. Bad Luck Situation 2:51
06. Rollin' 'Cross The Country 4:29
07. Riot In Cell Block #9 3:11
08. Hurtin' So Bad 4:41
09. Boney Moronie 2:38
10. Feedback On Highway 101 4:27

Johnny Winter - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Edgar Winter - synthesiser, keyboards, alto saxophone, vocals
Rick Derringer - synthesiser, guitar, bass guitar
Bobby Caldwell - percussion
Randy Jo Hobbs - bass guitar
Randy Brecker - trumpet
Louis del Gatto - tenor saxophone
Lani Groves - vocals
Carl Hall - vocals
Dan Hartman - guitar, bass guitar, drums, vocals
Richard Hughes - drums
Barbara Massey - vocals
Alan Rubin - trumpet
John Smith - saxophone
Tasha Thomas - vocals

An absolutely fabulous album by Johnny Winter. I am bit surprised at the relatively low average rating of this album as I find Saints and Sinners to be one of his best early albums. Although Winter still draws heavily from rock and roll, this album is markedly more bluesy than Still Alive and Well and Johnny Winter And.... The usual Winter album format still applies; he writes and includes a few tracks, but fills the majority of the album with various covers. Expect wonderful melodies, great improvements on the cover tracks over their original versions, and Winter's usual passionate rhythm and solo guitar. Eddie Winter plays a large role on this album as well. He can be heard playing organ or piano on multiple tracks as well as providing backing vocals and a few sax solos.

The melodic content on Saints and Sinners is wonderful. Johnny's late sixties and early seventies albums solidified him as a master of multiple genres, not just blues rock as he branched into soul, rock, psychedelic rock, and blues rock. This album adds another to his list: southern rock. Saints and Sinners opens with the glorious anthem "Stone Country," a highly underrated southern rock track complete with Dickey Betts sounding guitar and a multiple voice providing light harmony throughout the track. Winter includes yet another Rolling Stones cover, "Stray Cat Blues" and again breaths life into a track that The Stones failed to fully develop. His own creations on this album are much better than most of his early songwriting efforts. "Bad Luck Situation" is one of his more famous tracks, contains one of the best rhythm riffs on the album, and has a great solo section. Winter's other creation, "Hurtin' So Bad" is a more slow rock/pop track, but is wonderful as well. Remastered issues of this album come equipped with the third Winter creation, "Dirty," an absolutely filthy track with guitar, vocals and flute. Although Still Alive and Well introduced the flute to the Winter repertoire, the instrument sounds so perfect on "Dirty" - the light, airy sounds of the flute contrast sharply with dark and sinister lyrics (eg. "I'm gonna make a change for the better baby, I'm gonna kill my goddamn wife").  Other highlights on Saints and Sinners include "Blinded By Love," Edgar Winter's creation "Rollin' 'Cross the Country," and the witty "Bony Moronie."

Although the album is incredibly strong, I am not able to get into his Chuck Berry cover of "Thirty Days," which has an incredibly annoying multiple voice chorus and "Riot In Cell Block #9," a blues track that has been played to death over the last forty years by a host of different artists. Fans of Winter's earlier, more bluesy tracks should really enjoy what Saints and Sinners has to offer. The majority of the covers are wonderful and his own blues tracks are among his finest. I enjoy this more than most of his other albums and perhaps slightly more than his praised Second Winter. Great album, all the way down to the awesome album cover.

Johnny Winter - 1973 - Still Alive And Well

Johnny Winter 
Still Alive And Well

01. Rock Me Baby 3:48
02. Can't You Feel It 3:00
03. Cheap Tequila 4:04
04. All Tore Down 4:28
05. Rock & Roll 4:51
06. Silver Train 3:37
07. Ain't Nothing To Me 3:06
08. Still Alive And Well 3:43
09. Too Much Seconal 4:20
10. Let It Bleed 4:09

Johnny Winter – guitar, slide guitar, mandolin, vocals
Randy Jo Hobbs – bass
Richard Hughes – drums
Rick Derringer – slide guitar on "Silver Train", pedal steel guitar and click guitar on "Ain't Nothing to Me", electric guitar on "Cheap Tequila"
Jeremy Steig – flute on "Too Much Seconal"
Todd Rundgren – Mellotron on "Cheap Tequila"
Mark Klingman – piano on "Silver Train"

There is no doubt regarding Winter's talent as he proves that he is both alive and well throughout this album. His vocal work is, as it has been in the past, expressive, fitting, and a little bit rough. As the group is still heavily based on the rock side of blues rock, most of the tracks are verse, chorus, verse style and allow for great rhythm guitar but short solos. If you loved Johnny Winter...And this album should be to your liking as there is not a great deal of deviation between the two with the exception of two of the tracks. Johnny includes his token two songs that he pens and fills the rest of the album with various covers (most of which are better than the originals).

There are no complete flops on Still Alive and Well - a poor Johnny Winter is still a good run of the mill musician. A few tracks carry the sound I am used to from the band; heavy, moving, and overly expressive. These are the tracks I love. Winter is able to take the delta blues track "Rock Me Baby" and transform it into a new beast that is a mere shadow of its original self. Both this track and "Can't You Feel It" are among the heaviest rock tracks on this album and highly recommended. "All Tore Down" is a Winter classic and one of the few rockier tracks he continues to play today. Winter makes wonderful use of the momentary pauses throughout this track to add vocal blurbs ("Good God!") that really personality. Although these tracks are all good, Winter's country track "Ain't Nothing to Me" takes my highest praise as well. Not since the psychedelic First Winter has he surprised me so much. This track is complete with pedal steel guitar and slow, meandering acoustic guitar chords. Here's an interesting revelation: Winter's lone country track here is better than 99% of the mainstream country tracks I have heard in the last fifteen years. It is a country track that country haters may even enjoy. Another shocker: the flute sees some action on the very bluesy track "Too Much Seconal." Not many blues tracks out there include instruments from the winds section, much less solo flute.

Still Alive and Well is strong, but it does not have an absolute blockbuster that some of his earlier albums had. Derringer's "Cheap Tequila" is a soothing song in itself, but does not fit well in an album mostly dominated by heavy rhythm guitars and rock beats. Many professional reviews point to "Silver Train" as one of the albums finest tracks and point out how Winter is able to capture the heart and soul of this track in a way that the Rolling Stones failed to do. Although I cannot stand "Silver Train," mostly do to the intentionally nasally vocals, I will say that every Stones song that Winter covers is a major improvement over the original. His fantastic version of "Let It Bleed" is no exception. Owners of newer editions of this album will be treated to two studio tracks that were never completed and released: "Lucille" and Dylan's "From a Buick Six," both excellent tracks despite not being complete. This is an album that takes a bit of time to fully appreciate. It initially comes across as a little abrasive and edgy, but some of the tracks stronger tunes start to shine through after a few listens. Fans of rock and blues rock should enjoy what Winter has to offer here.