Johnny Winter

Winter Essentials 1960-1967

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These are the earliest recordings of blues guitarist Johnny Winter recorded in the '60s before he was signed by Columbia in 1968. Most of the material is comprised of doo wop, R&B, and twist instrumentals, all gritty enough not to be relegated as generic after the first listen. Winter also covers several songs he obviously was fond of by Chuck Berry, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Lowell Fulson, and Danny White's "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," a song that would also show up on his first Alligator release from 1984, Guitar Slinger. The only misstep here is an attempt at the burgeoning psychedelic movement on "Birds Can't Row Boats," which is as silly as the title, but somehow, compared to everything else on the disc, comes off as a charming abnormally in his discography.

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