Johnny Winter returns to major-label distribution for the first time in eight years with The Winter of '88, released by Voyager Records via MCA. This is a project produced and engineered by Terry Manning, who also contributed some keyboards, and Manning's intent seems to have been to move Winter in a more commercial direction, specifically toward the synth-enhanced boogie of ZZ Top. That effect is particularly notable on the lead-off track, "Close to Me," and on "Show Me"; otherwise, Manning is more subtle. Still, after three straight blues albums for the independent Alligator Records label, Winter had established a pure blues pedigree, and a move back toward the mainstream may not sit well with his more purist fans. It isn't really that overt, for the most part, but this is clearly a more highly produced, more commercially intended record than any Winter has made since he left the CBS Records subsidiary Blue Sky after Raisin' Cain in 1980.
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".
After two stellar sets for the independent blues label Alligator Records, Johnny Winter wisely changes things up on his third Alligator LP. He brings in Dr. John to play organ on "Love, Life and Money" and, more prominently, piano on "Tin Pan Alley." He plays a National steel guitar on "Bad Girl Blues" (a blues about lesbians!) and uses his slide with another National on "Evil on My Mind." And, most significant, he reunites with his old rhythm section of bass player Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John "Red" Turner (with whom he played from the late ‘60s to 1970) on "See See Baby," "Shake Your Moneymaker," and "Broke and Lonely." Particularly on those three tracks, he sounds like the blues-rock singer/guitarist who garnered so much attention when he first emerged from Texas as an "overnight" national star in 1969. Those days have passed, but Winter has matured into a dependable blues musician able to shine in a variety of styles and bring out the best in his fellow musicians.
Johnny Winter releases perhaps his greatest album on September 2, 2014! Step Back features an amazing list of musical guests and takes Johnny back to a more aggressive style of blues… one that helped shape the musical icon.
Johnny Winter’s new release entitled “ROOTS” on Megaforce/Sony is out now! This recording finds Johnny performing a selection of songs that helped shape his legendary talent. Produced by guitarist Paul Nelson the CD features such notable guests as: Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, John Popper, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and more along with his new band.
This DVD contains an incredible collection of official archival footage from the '70s including performances from Danish TV "Gladsaxe Teen Club" (Denmark 1970), the Royal Albert Hall in London (1970), the Beat Club in Bremen, Germany (1970), Don Kirshner's Rock Concert - Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT (1973), Soundstage - Blues Summit in Chicago, IL (1974), Musikladen in Bremen, Germany (1974), and Rockpalast in Germany (1979). Intermixed with the live content is interview footage at Detroit Tubeworks in Detroit, MI (1970). It's the definitive document of Johnny's career in the '70s.