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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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Rock - Released August 7, 2020 | 2020 Roy C Ames - Prime Entertainment

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Blues - Released March 3, 2020 | Alligator Records

The first of three blues albums recorded after a four-year studio hiatus finds Winter as fleet-fingered as before and sounding more vocally involved than in some of the later Columbia material. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Blues - Released June 18, 2009 | Alligator Records

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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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Blues - Released September 2, 2014 | Megaforce

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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 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 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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Rock - Released February 25, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released August 21, 2020 | Sunset Blvd Records

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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 January 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 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 June 30, 2009 | Columbia - Legacy

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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 June 28, 1974 | Legacy Recordings

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Rock - Released January 1, 1987 | Blue Sky

After a long period making rock records, Winter fronts the Muddy Waters band on the aptly titled Nothin' But the Blues (with Waters himself singing on one song, his own "Walking Thru the Park," which closes the album). Winter sounds happier than ever before on this Chicago blues workout. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 13, 1995 | Columbia - Legacy

Johnny Winter's sixth Columbia album was also his second since his comeback from drug addiction. Its predecessor, Still Alive and Well, had been his highest charting effort. Saints & Sinners was just as energetically played, but its mixture of material, including '50s rock & roll oldies like Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days," Larry Williams' "Bony Moronie," and Leiber & Stoller's "Riot in Cell Block #9," recent covers like the Rolling Stones' "Stray Cat Blues," and a couple of originals, was more eclectic than inspired. (Van Morrison completists should note that the album also contains Winter's cover of Morrison's "Feedback on Highway 101," a typical bluesy groove song that Morrison recorded for his 1973 Hard Nose the Highway album but dropped. Winter's is the only released recording of the song.) Abetted by the members of the old Johnny Winter Band -- Rick Derringer, Randy Jo Hobbs, and Richard Hughes -- plus his brother Edgar Winter and Dan Hartman, Winter produced forceful hard rock focused on his searing lead guitar runs and rough-edged voice. It was the less-impressive choice of material that kept this collection from matching its predecessor. Originally released in February, 1974, Saints & Sinners was reissued in February, 1996 with the previously unreleased song "Dirty," a Winter original, added. The slide guitar-and-flute track is not consistent with the rest of the album, but it is interesting to hear. Wonder who played the flute? © William Ruhlmann /TiVo