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Rock - Released March 1, 1990 | Columbia

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Winter's debut album for Columbia was also arguably his bluesiest and best. Straight out of Texas with a hot trio, Winter made blues-rock music for the angels, tearing up a cheap Fender guitar with total abandon on tracks like "I'm Yours and I'm Hers," "Leland Mississippi Blues," and perhaps the slow blues moment to die for on this set, B.B. King's "Be Careful with a Fool." Winter's playing and vocals have yet to become mannered or clichéd on this session, and if you've ever wondered what the fuss is all about, here's the best place to check out his true legacy. © Cub Koda /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 25, 1994 | Legacy - Columbia

A two-CD survey of Winter's recordings for Columbia between 1969 and 1979, the era of his greatest commercial success. This collects many of his most popular tracks, though it doesn't do much to argue a case for artistic diversity. Includes two otherwise unavailable songs: an alternate take of "30 Days," and a previously unreleased 1973 cover of Robert Johnson's "Come on in My Kitchen." © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 25, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

There has always been more to the Johnny Winter story than meets the eye, and if stepping into the role of a whirlwind albino electric blues guitar player from Texas with a brilliant slide style was the very role he was born to fill, he took a while to get there. For starters, he was born in Mississippi, which might explain something, and then grew up in Texas, where he played clarinet before switching over to guitar at the age of 11. Early on he played country before discovering the blues, and realizing there was no money and little future in playing the blues, he turned to studio pop in the early '60s. Times change, though, and by the end of that decade Winter had returned to the blues, where being an amazing electric guitar player with a roaring voice brought him his true calling. That's where this four-disc, 56-track box set picks up the story, the first such set to span the commercial and in-the-public-eye portion of Winter's career, beginning in 1968 and running all the way through to his Roots album, which was released in 2011, deftly drawing on some 27 albums from various labels, including Liberty/Imperial, Columbia, Blue Sky/Epic, Alligator, Point Blank/Virgin, Friday Music, Collectors' Choice Music, Megaforce, and Legacy. It's an impressive catalog of blistering slide runs and manic, propulsive blues shuffles, stomps, and boogies, all delivered with Winter's roar of a voice. Winter's career has made him nothing short of a monument, really, in the postmodern blues world, an iconic player who could take a song like Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" (included here) and make it his own, turning out what is perhaps the definitive version of it in much the same manner that Jimi Hendrix did with Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." It's an apt comparison, really, because although Winter never quite had the theatric flair that Hendrix had (one can't imagine Winter burning a guitar on-stage, for instance), he may have been just as responsible for the idea of modern power blues, and certainly no one has done it longer or done it any better than Johnny Winter. This box set presents a huge slab of that legacy. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Blues - Released March 3, 2020 | Alligator Records

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Rock - Released August 21, 2020 | Sunset Blvd Records

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Rock - Released October 23, 1990 | Columbia

Johnny's second Columbia album shows an artist in transition. He's still obviously a Texas bluesman, recording in the same trio format that he left Dallas with. But his music is moving toward the more rock & roll sounds he would go on to create. The opener, "Memory Pain," moves him into psychedelic blues-rock territory, while old-time rockers like "Johnny B. Goode," "Miss Ann," and "Slippin' and Slidin'" provide him with familiar landscapes on which to spray his patented licks. His reworking of Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" is the high spot of the record, a career-defining track that would remain a major component in his set list to the end of his life. © Cub Koda /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 30, 2009 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released April 28, 1970 | Columbia

After two late-'60s albums on Columbia, Johnny Winter hit his stride in 1970 working with Rick Derringer and the McCoys, now recruited as his sidemen and collaborators (and proving with just about every note here how far they'd gotten past "Hang on Sloopy"). In place of the bluesy focus on his first two albums, Winter extended himself into more of a rock-oriented mode here, in both his singing and his selection of material. This was hard rock with a blues edge, and had a certain commercial smoothness lacking in his earlier work. Derringer's presence on guitar and as a songwriter saw to it that Winter's blues virtuosity was balanced by perfectly placed guitar hooks, and the two guitarists complemented each other perfectly throughout as well. There wasn't a weak moment anywhere on the record, and if Johnny Winter And wasn't a huge commercial success, it was mostly because of the huge amount of competition at the time from other, equally inspired players, that kept numbers like the Winter originals "Prodigal Son" and "Guess I'll Go Away" as well as Derringer co-authored pieces such as "Look Up" from having the impact they should have had on FM radio. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 7, 2020 | 2020 Roy C Ames - Prime Entertainment

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Rock - Released August 30, 1994 | Legacy - Columbia

Still Alive and Well proved to the record-buying public that Johnny Winter was both. This is a truly enjoyable album, chock-full of great tunes played well. Johnny's version of the Rolling Stones' "Silver Train" revealed the potential of this song and what the Stones failed to capture. Everything here is good, so get it and dig in. © James Chrispell /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Capitol Records

Although his early Columbia albums brought him worldwide stardom, it was this modest little album (first released on Imperial before the Columbia sides) that first brought Johnny Winter to the attention of guitarheads in America. It's also Winter at the beginning of a long career, playing the blues as if his life depends on it, without applying a glimmer of rock commercialism. The standard classic repertoire here includes "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "I Got Love if You Want It," "Forty-Four," "It's My Own Fault," and "Help Me," with Winter mixing it up with his original Texas trio of Red Turner on drums and Tommy Shannon (later of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble) on bass. A true classic, this is one dirty, dangerous, and visionary album. The set was issued in a sonically screaming 24-bit remastered edition on CD by Capitol in 2005. It contains no bonus tracks, but it leaves the original crummy CD issue in the dust. © Cub Koda & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 4, 2015 | Essential Media Group

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Rock - Released March 1, 1971 | Columbia

In its time, this was an enormously popular live album, especially among high-school kids just starting to discover blues-rock in the early '70s. Derived from live performances at the Fillmore East and at Pirate's World in Dania, FL, it is probably, in fairness, the best representation of Johnny Winter's sound from his prime years that one is likely to find -- the pity is that it's only about 40 minutes long, and is weighted very heavily toward Winter's covers of well-known rock & roll numbers. Considering that it was recorded along a tour promoting the Johnny Winter And album, one would expect that the band would have done a considerable number of tracks from that record, none of which are represented here. The highlights are of considerable value, however, including a searing rendition of the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" sandwiched between some much older repertory ("Great Balls of Fire," "Long Tall Sally," "Johnny B. Goode," etc.). Except for the opener, "Good Morning Little School Girl," on which Winter and the band try to show how many notes they can hit as quickly as they can, the players generally try for something a little more subtle and interesting, and one wishes that more of what they did had used the slow blues groove they settle into on "It's My Own Fault." Their version of "Great Balls of Fire" has some of that, mostly by default (no one did the song faster than Jerry Lee Lewis anyway), and also enough energy so one doesn't even "miss" the piano one usually expects somewhere in the song; "Long Tall Sally," by contrast, kicks in on overdrive and takes off from there. But for all of the musical virtues (and obvious joy) that Winter and company bring to those standards, the most interesting cuts here are "It's My Own Fault" and Winter's own "Mean Town Blues," and one wishes that there were more such tracks here. In that regard, it might be worthwhile for someone at Sony/Legacy to do a serious vault search and see if there are surviving tapes of any other numbers recorded from the two shows (and was it just two?) that were recorded for this album. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 27, 2011 | Megaforce

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Rock - Released September 1, 1969 | Buddah - Legacy

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Virgin Records

Let Me In is a star-studded all-blues set from Johnny Winter, featuring cameos from Dr. John, Albert Collins, and several others. Though the set focuses on blues material, Winters can never leave his rock roots behind -- the sheer volume and pile-driving energy of his performances ensures that. For most of the record, his enthusiasm is contagious, but there are a couple of bland, generic exercises that fail to work up a head of steam. But there is a lovely acoustic number called "Blue Mood," which shows Winter trying to stretch a bit by playing jazzy licks. It's a refreshing change of pace. © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 29, 2002 | Columbia - Legacy

Columbia/Legacy's 2002 release The Best of Johnny Winter concentrates solely on the guitarist's early recordings for Columbia, which are often (and deservedly) considered his best work. Nearly all of the 16 selections here were recorded between 1969 and 1971 -- there's a stray cut from 1973, plus two cuts from 1979, dating from his time on Blue Sky -- and all of them showcase Winter at his best, not just as a fiery blues-rock guitarist, but as a band leader. While there are a few items that may be relatively rare here, there is no unreleased material, just selections from Winter at his prime, and this collection does a very good job of summarizing that peak succinctly and enjoyably. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 16, 1990 | Blue Sky

On the back cover of Captured Live!, Johnny Winter's second live album (following 1971's Live Johnny Winter And), Winter is pictured with his band (second guitarist Floyd Radford, bass player Randy Jo Hobbs, and drummer Richard Hughes) from the back, playing before a giant, open-air sports stadium full of fans. The photograph is not identified, leaving the impression, along with the large cheering heard on the LP itself, that Winter was headlining such a venue -- but he couldn't have been, because he isn't that big a name. He must have been performing as part of a festival or opening for an act that can fill stadiums, like the Rolling Stones. The photograph encapsulates the dilemma of Johnny Winter's career, seven years after he signed a lucrative contract with CBS Records (his discs are now issued by its Blue Sky subsidiary). His early renown came as a fleet-fingered blues guitarist, but the music industry pitched him as a potential superstar performer. Instead, Live Johnny Winter And has turned out to be his only gold album, and he remains a fleet-fingered guitarist, as usual playing rock & roll as well as blues. One reason he hasn't satisfied the potential the business people saw in him probably is that he hasn't turned out to be a songwriter; here, the only song credited to him is the 12-and-a-half-minute slow blues number "Sweet Papa John" that closes the disc. Otherwise, he plays the standards "Bony Moronie," "It's All Over Now," and "Highway 61 Revisited," as well as songs written for him by his old bandmate Rick Derringer ("Roll with Me") and John Lennon ("Rock & Roll People"). All the songs are basically vehicles for his guitar playing, sometimes performed in unison with Radford. Winter plays fast, filling up measures with torrents of notes that must impress any guitar fan, and he earns the big cheers heard in between numbers. It's no surprise that his biggest seller is a live album, and this one is another accomplished effort. But there's nothing on it to suggest that he will ever sell out a huge stadium on his name alone. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 22, 2019 | Columbia - Legacy

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Blues - Released January 1, 1992 | Virgin Records

On the classic 1972 live album Roadwork, Edgar Winter immortalized the words, when introducing brother Johnny: "Everybody asks me...where's your brother?" It's a question that fans have besieged both Winters with for over two decades, and now Johnny gets a chance to return the tribute with his latest. Edgar does in fact guest on the sessions, blowing sax and tinkling keys on a few tracks, and dueting with big bro on a superb, seasonal rendition of "Please Come Home for Christmas." © Roch Parisien /TiVo