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Lone Star Shootout

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Album Review

An un-annotated release of some live recordings apparently made in Johnny Winter's native city of Houston sometime in the early to mid-'70s, Lone Star Shootout (released in 2001) is the sort of record that's geared exclusively toward fans. Although Winter was more potent on-stage than he ever was in the studio, there are more impressive starting points for complete Winter newcomers. However, the fans who already have most or all of the seemingly dozens of other live Winter offerings will find this a splendid addition to the archive. Recorded when the albino singer/guitarist was at the peak of his powers, the set includes stunners like a killer rendition of Sonny Boy Williamson's standard "Help Me" and a knockout one-two punch of a sharp, aggressive "Messin' With the Kid" that leads right into a "Jumpin' Jack Flash" with more spit and fire than any Rolling Stones performance after 1969. All is not golden: special guest Jimmy Reed's version of "Big Boss Man" plods painfully on for over 13 solid minutes, seemingly ten of them devoted to one wandering Winter solo that doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get to wherever it's going, and a 12-minute take on Winter's signature tune "Mother Earth" is curiously flat. The rest of the disc, however, is prime Johnny Winter.


Born: 23 February 1944 in Beaumont, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When Johnny Winter emerged on the national scene in 1969, the hope, particularly in the record business, was that he would become a superstar on the scale of Jimi Hendrix, another blues-based rock guitarist and singer who preceded him by a few years. That never quite happened, but Winter did survive the high expectations of his early admirers to become a mature, respected blues musician with a strong sense of tradition. He was born John Dawson Winter III on February 23, 1944, in Beaumont, Texas,...
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