Johnny Winter

Ease My Pain

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Be aware that the cover photo of Johnny Winter in blue-tinted '70s vintage form is completely misleading. However, this is a vital set that's of interest even to people who aren't fans of Winter's better-known work. A repackaging of rare mid '60s singles released on a variety of tiny Texas indies, EASE MY PAIN is like a one-man PEBBLES anthology.

The focus is on Winter's originals, including fine efforts like the garage-rocking "That's What Love Does," which features a killer "96 Tears"-type organ, and the plain weird "Five After Four A.M.," a psychedelic freakout that sounds like Winter's Houston compatriots the Moving Sidewalks dosed with acid courtesy of Austin's 13th Floor Elevators. The garage-like versions of blues standards like John Lee Hooker's "Leave My Wife Alone" and Charles Brown's "Please Come Home for Christmas" are arguably less interesting; but few garage bands have ever covered "Harlem Nocturne." Essential for fans of rare psych-pop.

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