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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Johnny Winter 23/02/44-16/07/14

(Click on the links to enjoy the music)

It is with great sadness to report the passing of another musical legend. Johnny Winter passed away on 16th July 2014 in a hotel room in Zurich according to American Blues Scene. Few details are available at this moment as to the cause of his death.

Johnny Winter's recording career began  at the age of 15 when his band Johnny and the Jammers released 'School Day Blues', and in 1967 he released a single with The Traits entitled 'Tramp' that was backed with 'Parchman Farm' on Universal Records.

In 1968 he released his first album, 'Progressive Blues Experiment' on Sonobeat Records. He got a big break later in the same year when he was spotted by representatives of Columbia Records playing at The Filmore East in New York and they signed him and within a year he released his first album, simply entitled 'Johnny Winter'. The album included three of his own songs ('I'm Yours and I'm Hers', 'Dallas' and 'Leland Mississippi Blues') and a number of covers including B.B.King's 'Be Careful With A Fool'. The album would peak at #24 in the USA.

Also in 1969 he released 'Second Winter' (the link is for the 2004 Legacy Edition). Intially the album was to be a single album editing down the 11 songs but the company thought that all the songs were so good that they released it as a Three-Sided Album (the fourth side being blank of course!). Two unfinished songs ('Tell the Turth' and 'Early in the Morning') were added to the Legacy Edition in 2004.

In 1970 he released 'Johnny Winter And'. It was originally scheduled to be released as Johnny Winter and The McCoys as he had teamed up with former McCoys Rick Derringer, Randy Jo Hobbs and Drummer Randy Z. A live album would follow a year later entitled 'Live Johnny Winter And'. It included a version of 'It's My Own Fault', the song that first drew him to Columbia's attention back at The Filmore East in 1968.

During this period Winter fell into heroin addiction that scuttled his continued musical progress but he returned in 1973 with his highest album chart placing (#22) with 'Still Alive and Well'. 'Saints and Sinners' (1974) was his parting album at Columbia, it included 'Bad Luck Situation'.

December 1974 he released his first album for Blue Sky Records entitled 'John Dawson Winter III' and all but one song on the album were original compositions. The one cover was John Lennon's 'Rock and Roll People'. A live recording from San Diego in 1975 would make up the 6 track album 'Captured Live' released in 1976. The album featured covers of songs by Lennon ('Rock and Roll People'), Dylan ('Highway 61 Revisited), and Bobby Womack ('It's All Over Now'). He also released an album with his brother Edgar Winter called 'Together' that included 'Rock and Roll Medley'.

In October 1976 Johnny Winter went into the studio with Muddy Waters thus fullfilling a childhood dream of recording with the Blues Legend. The resulting album 'Hard Again' was produced by Winter and released on Blue Sky Records in January 1977 (a label set up by Winter's Manager). Winter would go on to produce two more Muddy Waters albums 'I'm Ready' (1978) and 'Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live' (1979).

Inspite of his lack of chart success Winter continued releasing albums and in 1977 it was 'Nothin' But the Blues', followed in 1978 with 'White Hot Blues'. 'Raisin' Cain' (1980) included Dylan's 'Like A Rolling Stone'. 'Guitar Slinger' (1984). 'Serious Business' (1985). 'Third Degree' (1986) - 'Love, Life and Money' featured Dr John. 'The Winter of '88' (1988). 'Let Me In' (1991). 'Hey Where's Your Brother' (1992). 'I'm a Bluesman' (2004) - the album reached #40.

His first studio album for 7 years arrived in 2011 entitled 'Roots'. The album contained Blues standards and featured guests on each track including: Derek Trucks on 'Dust My Broom', Paul Nelson on 'Short Fat Fannie', Walter Medeski on 'Come Back Baby', John Popper on 'Last Night'.

Up to his death Johnny Winter was still playing live shows.

Johnny Winter Live
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