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Winter Essentials 1960-1967, Vol. 1

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Album Review

These are the earliest recordings of blues guitarist Johnny Winter recorded in the '60s before he was signed by Columbia in 1968. Most of the material is comprised of doo wop, R&B, and twist instrumentals, all gritty enough not to be relegated as generic after the first listen. Winter also covers several songs he obviously was fond of by Chuck Berry, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Lowell Fulson, and Danny White's "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," a song that would also show up on his first Alligator release from 1984, Guitar Slinger. The only misstep here is an attempt at the burgeoning psychedelic movement on "Birds Can't Row Boats," which is as silly as the title, but somehow, compared to everything else on the disc, comes off as a charming abnormally in his discography.


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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