Winter + The Blues = Johnny Winter, so what better blues man to feature next than Texas guitarist Johnny Winter.
I recall with great enthusiasm when Johnny Winter burst upon the music scene in 1969. The force of this Texas tornado could be felt from his very first notes. What I like the most about Johnny Winter is that mean ass cat growl of his coupled with the real hot guitar slinging. You immediately feel his pain as it resonates through your bones. Johnny was promoted as the white blues superstar by CBS Records.
One of my favorite early live recordings of Johnny Winter took place at The Fillmore East on December 13, 1968. For many years these concert tapes were lost. But thanks to the efforts of Al Kooper they have resurfaced. This east coast live version of Super Session featured Al Kooper on keyboards and Mike Bloomfield on guitar. Mike Bloomfield introduces Johnny Winter with a raw intensity that sets the stage for this unique collaboration of Kooper, Bloomfield and Winter. According to Al Kooper this is the music moment that captivated the CBS Records representatives attention to pursue and sign Johnny Winter. Not bad for Johnny Winter’s first night ever in New York City at 24 years of age, don’t you think 😉
I have to give the late Mike Bloomfield credit, he non-selfishly promoted blues artists who needed the exposure with the Fillmore audiences. Mike Bloomfield was responsible for convincing Bill Graham to book B.B. King at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. This turned out to be a major cross-over moment for the King of the Blues with the flower power generation. No wonder B.B. King thought of Mike Bloomfield like a son. Bloomfield paved the way for his old friend Johnny Winter with a strong pat on the back at the Fillmore East.
Johnny Winter’s second official album on Columbia Records, Johnny Winter exhibited Johnny’s strong command of the blues studio production. Recorded in Nashville, Tennesee with Johnny’s band Winter, which included “Uncle” John Turner on percussion and Tommy Shannon on electric bass. Tommy Shannon later played with Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble. The Johnny Winter album also featured Willie Dixon on acoustic bass, Walter “Shakey” Horton on harp and Johnny’s brother Edgar Winter on piano and alto sax. Johnny was the producer and the ever present production genius Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix’s producer) was the production consultant and photographer. Eddie Kramer shot the photograph of Johnny Winter featured on the cover.
This is Tommy Shannon’s favorite video of Winter live. It was recorded at Montreux in Switzerland in 1970. It captures the band at a high peak.