A great piece of music was overlooked amid the most recent Kanye West temper tantrum – and it’s not Beck’s.
Johnny Winter, the legendary white haired bluesman, who was 70 when he died this July, walked away with Blues Album of The Year.
I first heard Johnny Winter in the summer of 74 when I was working as a kitchen help at Camp Hoffman, a Girl Scout Camp in Kingston RI. Being males, our wandering was a bit restricted so we’d congregate at a cabin near the camp director’s hooch.
She left us alone.
We’d put Winter’s “Still Alive And Well” in the 8-track, smoke cigarettes, and drink whatever booze we could smuggle. Every cut on the album was superb. From the title track to “Ain’t Nothing to Me,” I was transfixed.
The strings would bend in that hybrid blues-rock way, with a southern rock flavor thrown in for good measure; the jam was crazy. Over the years, I bought many of his albums, all good, all high quality, but none transfixed me.
I heard the Grammy winning album and have to say all the hype is accurate; may be the best. It’s like hanging out with an old friend who is better than ever. The cut “Unchain My Heart” is atypical Winter; it has a soul and background that is wonderful for old Winterites and accessible for new generations.
His rendition of the Doors. “Who Do You Love” is about three minutes of virtuosity as is” Mojo Hand” with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry great accompaniment.
While he is no longer Alive and Well, his music sure is at least for these transfixing 13 songs.