Johnny Winter

Best of Live

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This album on the UK reissue label Thunderbolt collects parts of two live sets a decade apart--a festival show in Dallas in 1968, and a club gig in Houston in 1978. The early tracks show off Winter's blues-jam side, consisting of extended versions of Robert Johnson's "Come On in My Kitchen" and "Somethin' Goin' On Wrong" and a 12-minute take on Memphis Slim's "Mother Earth." The players on these tracks were Winter's first sidekicks, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer John Turner. This trio, collectively known as Winter, was one of the first and best American power trios, clearly inspired by the extremely similar Cream.

The later set of tracks, featuring kid brother Edgar and someone listed pseudonymously as "I.P. Sweat," are considerably tighter and more concise, including two classic Winter originals, "Mean Mistreater" and "Black Cat Bone," alongside rave-up versions of the blues standards "Messin' With the Kid" and "Mean Town Blues." Sound quality is excellent throughout.

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