Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Winter


I have been tempted for a while to have a little thing on the side bar of the blog so y’all can see what’s spinning in my CD player from day to day, but I feel like I spend too much time on this blog already, so if you don’t mind I’ll just do an article about what’s in there right now.

This week I took myself back to 1969 and to the release of the first Johnny Winter album. I haven’t listened to this collection for at least 25 years, and I’m surprised just how well it has held up musically.

While growing up I found the British Invasion mimic of the blues somewhat insincere in a “Polly Want a Cracker” kind of a way. Yes the Brits had drive, but it just sounded like they were trying to hard to fuse it all together.

But then there was Johnny Winter. He was the real deal. With guitars and dobros that could scream the blues equally as loud as Winter’s uvula juggling voice; there was no match for blues in the late 60s and early 70s. These blues were real and not the Mod-Rock version the Brits were trying to sell us.

Though all tracks on this album were totally reminiscent of that which you would expect to hear in a Texas roadhouse, there are still some that evoke memories of Ray Charles (Drown in my own tears) with overtones of a gospel choir. Winter, one of the few people who knows how to get the most out the saxophones in the band; sax textures are reminiscent of Van Morrison, Steely Dan and Zappa.

I once thought of Winter as a guitar deity and oddly I don’t find his technique as good as I did 38 years ago. However I do find his ability to create a mood with his strings stronger than I had way back then. His fingering isn’t as clean as I thought, but that’s the blues. That’s the roadhouse music thing. It has to be a bit raw, gritty and ratty.

If you love real blues, the kind that isn’t being played by some fake white boys, who drive Toyotas and drink Starbucks, who can parrot songs, you may want to spend some time with this collection. You won’t be disappointed.

If you want to listen to this music the way it was meant to be heard, and if Johnny Winter isn’t playing at your local roadhouse, just put on a pair of tight jeans put on a pair of boots, grab a long neck bottle of Texas beer, rest your chair on two legs and put you feet up on the table. Hit play, turn it up and enjoy the ride.

By the way, while driving the other day I tried to belt out a uvular Johnny Winter "Yeah" and I think I hurt myself.

15 Comments:

Blogger Auntie said...

I think you are the first person in the history of blogging to have used the word uvula TWICE in one article. Dopey Guy !

Now I gotta go find some Winter to listen to. The whole albino thing always creeped me out, so I shyed away....

6:33 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Would have loved to have heard you belting out "Yeah." Bet it was worth the pain.
"Johnny B. Goode" - Perhaps not one of the very best but certainly one of the most popular - I remember dancing to it at university. Still gets me moving when I hear it!

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

long ago right along the riverbank midway between Uniontown and downtown sat Astoria's now legendary tavern, The Mermaid. Known for it's insane host, anything-goes-mach3-full-bore-party action and threshold of pain jukebox on which on any given summer's night, Winter's "Frankenstein" could be heard blaring from Tongue Point to Hammond

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

Like ya more and more Guy...the blues rule here.

Been a rough year. First a wife but that's okay and now a brother. If this keeps up...I'm switching to country and starting to play the albums backwards.

8:42 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Auntie, better than sphincter.

Beth, this album is far less commercial, but hey, at least he did make it onto the charts and got some exposure with Johnny B. Goode.

Anon, Frankenstein was done by Johnny's brother Edgar. Edgar is polished up with a big band budget, which I don't mean as a put-down, he's great as well. Tobacco Road being my favorite Edgar tune.

Moose, nice to have you back. There is a big difference between Country and the Blues. In Country they say, "You hurt me, but I'll take you back because I miss you." But the Blues would say, "I'll be goddamned if I will ever be your fool again."

Stick to the Blues, my friend.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Nother great blues album of that era:
Savoy Brown, "Street Corner Talking"
And yes, I still have my vinal album.
:-Q

11:35 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

Hey, I am confused. Who is Edgar Winter....another Winter albino??? Whats up...I am confused.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

The blues rule here on long winter nights most weeks:)

1:20 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Gearhead...Eeeeh

Mike, that should be Johnny Winter nights.

Auntie, Edgar is Johnny's three year younger brother. Yes they are both albinos and each has a musical career. Johnny will turn 63 this year.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Guy, you are my muse tonight...you triggered a Johnny Winters memory.

9:50 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lori, If I didn't know better I'd think you were crushing on me with all the wonderful attention you've been giving me lately. ; )

5:57 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

I'm spreading the love, baby--so don't get your hopes up!

10:43 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Darlin, I said I knew better ; )

11:18 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Although...hmmm, that might be different, crushin' on ya'...let me think about it ; )

2:50 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Oh Baby!

3:09 PM  

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