Johnny Winter

Live Bootleg Series, Vol. 7

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As Johnny Winter and Friday Music continue their Live Bootleg Series -- now in its seventh volume -- they get sloppier with source documentation. This one contains none -- just musician credits. Based on the players -- bassists Jon Paris and Jeff Ganz, and drummer Tom Compton -- this material was most likely recorded during the late '80s and early '90s. Another giveaway is the bass playing, which is mostly "slap style," offering the funkier side of electric blues. That said, most of this material is well worth hearing. The sound issues are similar to those found on other volumes in the series with the exception of "Leland, Mississippi Blues," the closing cut on the set -- it sounds like an audience recording, though again the performance is stellar. The reading of Lonnie Brooks' "Don't Take Advantage of Me" is alone worth the price of admission, especially since Winter hadn't recorded it before. The sound quality is terrific and the solo breaks are scorching. "Shame, Shame, Shame," with all of its echo effects, begins as a guitar solo that takes the old I-IV-V form and shifts it into overdrive. There's also a rare version of "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," with acoustic and electric guitars, that is one of Winter's most soulfully sung performances. It's too bad the other guitarist remains uncredited. In sum, Live Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 isn't the best in the bunch, but it warrants collecting for Winter fans because of the scarcity of some of these tracks. As a bonus, the liner notes in this package were written by none other than fellow guitar slinger Warren Haynes.

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