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3rd Degree

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iTunes Review

The third and final album Johnny Winter made for the Chicago blues label Alligator, 3rd Degree was the best record the guitarist made in the '80s. From Tommy Castro to Stevie Ray Vaughan, there were dozens of guys competing in the electric blues game during that decade. But Winter’s versions of “Mojo Boogie,” “Love, Life and Money," and “Third Degree” show that there was no substitution for the authentic soul of a boy from Beaumont, Texas. It speaks to Winter’s talent that his acoustic performances here are arguably more hair-raising than his electric work. “Evil on My Mind” and “Bad Girl Blues” are two of this set's most intense songs. It's not until you hear Winter on his own—with no embellishment or added instrumentation—that you really understand that no one else can do what he does the way he does it. For “Shake Your Moneymaker,” “See See Baby," and “Broke and Lonely,” Winter reunites with his '60s rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Abel Ji McKnight. Their chemistry is unmistakable. Where the other performances here have the snap of a new leather belt, those songs have the worn-in perfection of old cowboy boots.

Customer Reviews

3rd Degree

Johnny was @ his very best in the 80s If you like the blues do yourself favor buy this.


Awesome album! Johnny has some fiery blues guitar runs on this album. A must for any blues lover or guitarist.

Johnny's finest

I've been a Johnny Winter fan since about 1980. I've seen him perform probably 60-80 times since then. I'm as big a Johnny fan as you're ever going to find. This is my favorite studio album. If you're only going to buy one, this is the one to get. Absolutely at the top of his game here. Great variety, great solos, all Johnny. See you up front at the next show!


Born: February 23, 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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