THE BARGAIN BUY: Johnny Winter; Original Album Classics

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Johnny Winter: Highway 61 Revisited
THE BARGAIN BUY: Johnny Winter; Original Album Classics

As the sole proprietor of Elsewhere and a massive Bob Seger fan, I would never casually doubt My Bob-Man who sang "rock'n'roll never forgets". But Bob, in truth it does.

For anyone who wasn't there for Bob Seger's exceptional period in the early Eightes when he articulated pre-Springsteen blue-collar rock'n'soul (outta Detroit in Bob's case) or his introspective songs on essential albums like Stranger in Town . . . then actually, rock'nroll does forget.

Seger's albums should be in any sensible person's collection, but his name is rarely mentioned these days outside of fan circles. And what of Stevie Ray Vaughan whose soul-scouring rock'n'blues is almost a footnote in anybody's memory now? He doesn't seem to be getting the Hendrix reissue and marketing campaign.

Today people rightly hail the Black Keys -- but forget the great George Thorogood who admittedly has in recent years become a dull retro-boogie crowd-pleaser if a recent sighting was anything to go by. But once . . .

Worse in the slide down that blues-rock totempole . . . Johnny Winter?

Mention his name in even impolite company and you will get a deafening silence. And Johnny was rarely less than deafening.

He was also -- as an albino -- the whitest of the white guys playing the blues. 

He might not have been the best of blues singers (better on the slow burning ballads) but his reach was wide -- Bob Dylan and Stones songs alongside Chuck Berry and Little Richard songs, blues standards, country-blues and originals -- and he was part of that lineage of tough Texas blues players who worked their way up through clubs and jam sessions.

While playing with Mike Bloomfield in Chicago he was spotted by Columbia Records people (who were on a bit of blues jag at the time) and in quick time knocked out three albums (Second Winter famously a three-sided double album with the fourth being blank, Live Johnny Winter had Rick Derringer on guitar) and a live set.

Winter could swing on blues and boogie tunes, play incendiary guitar in the manner of Hendrix's blues style, and deliver dirty arse rock'n'roll. It was all about that guitar playing of course and sometimes the pyrotechnics do overwhelm the rather thin material.

JB_HZ_CHEAP_longBut Johnny Winter -- who died in July 2014 and just won a posthumous blues Grammy for this album -- is certainly worth a rediscovery . . . and five of his early albums have been repackaged in the Original Album Classic series.

At just $20 at JB Hi-Fi stores here (free post within NZ), that's a cheap admission price for a man who rock'n'roll doesn't deserve to forget.  

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Mick - Feb 18, 2013

Having just got 3 Johnny Winter CD's from amazon "White,Hot andBlue,"Nothing but the blues and 3rd Degree 2 of which I have as albums I agree with you he was and is a great blues guitar.As for Bob Seger what can I say he was legend and could really write a great ballad. Great stuff

Clive - Feb 19, 2013

This is a great bargain buy,blistering Texas Blues Rock and takes me back to when I had the first 2 on vinyl-all for $20.The Orig Album Classics is a great invention,having recently picked up Elvis(the one which included the Clash cover!),Alan Jackson and Nilsson.I dont need need one for Bob as I have all his stuff except for the first one.The other great buy going around is The original Album Series on Rhino.Also 5 for $20.Go for Young Rascals,Picket,Otis,Aretha, Ben E King and Echo and the Bunnymen.What we need now is a 5 pack of the great and late Freddy Fender and Gene Pitney

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