When you think about it, Johnny Winter has had quite a career. And here, from Alligator Records, just to let you know it continues strong, is a set of cuts from his stint with Alligator. There’s raucous blues, blistering rock and roll, and even some nice acoustic blues with Johnny shining on dobro.
There are a couple of things about Johnny that shine through when you hear him. One is his total immersion in the blues. He knows them inside out, and feels them. That feeling always comes through in his rough and ready vocals. And his playing is almost an encyclopedia of blues and blues/rock licks. Check out the rockin’ “Lights Out.” Yikes! Johnny cooks. Same thing with “Route 90.” Johnny’s nasty sound, killer single-line playing, and dazzling double-stops bounce out of your speakers and make it impossible not to dance around your room (or in my case, the car, which can be very embarrassing). Johnny’s prowess on slide shines through too on cuts like “Mojo Boogie” and “Murdering Blues.” He’s definitely one of the masters.
Another thing I’ve always liked about Johnny is his choice of material. He always seems to pick great songs. It’s tough to top tunes like “Third Degree,” “Don’t take Advantage of Me,” and the very funny “Master Mechanic.”
This CD is a great representation of Winter’s career for the past 15 to 20 years. If you’re a fan, you’ll love it. If you’re just being introduced, it’s a good place to start.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s June ’01 issue.