Johnny Winter – Down and Dirty

Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty, the definitive, feature-length documentary by acclaimed Lemmy co-director and producer, Greg Olliver, will be available worldwide on March 4, 2016, on DVD and iTunes. The package will feature never-before-seen photos and bonus footage, including extended interviews and his final studio performance, a solo resonator version of the Son House classic, ‘Death Letter.’

Produced independently through Secret Weapon Films in NYC, director Greg Olliver was welcomed into the Johnny Winter family during the final two years of Johnny s life, capturing the making of his Grammy-winning Step Back (Best Blues Album, 2015), and traveling the world from Beaumont to Hong Kong. Winter continued to perform over 200 sold out shows a year until his death on tour in Switzerland in 2014.

The film also features Clive Davis, Edgar Winter, James Cotton, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Luther Nallie, Joe Perry, Tommy Shannon, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and more.

RIP Johnny Winter

The news of Johnny Winter‘s death was a total shock. I had watched in earnest as Johnny Winter staged his superstar-backed comeback with the forthcoming album, Step Back. Alas that’s all changed now…

My favorite memory of Johnny Winter is his high energy yell, “Rock and Rolllll” and the driving rhythm on “Johnny B. Goode” from the Live Johnny Winter And album.

Rest In Peace Johnny Winter you brought it to your fans in spite of your pain and struggle. We’re all the better for your raw rock and roll energy and eloquent bluesmen ship.

Live Johnny Winter and
Live Johnny Winter and (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Johnny Winter – Down & Dirty Etc.

There is a lot happening with Johnny Winter as he timetables toward his 70th Birthday.

First on the list is the 70th Birthday Celebration Johnny Winter with Special Guests at B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill on 42nd Street in New York City. This event takes place on Sunday February 23rd, Johnny’s actual birthday.

Second on the list is the release of the 4 Disc Box Set ‘True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story’ on February 25th. Pre-sales orders accepted at amazon.com

Third on the list is the documentary, “JOHNNY WINTER: DOWN & DIRTY” which will have it’s world première in the “24 Beats Per Second” category of the South by Southwest Film Festival (March 10-14).  Johnny Winter, his band, and film producers Greg Olliver & Jeremy Mack will be present at the screening along with special guests.

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Leslie West’s Still Climbing Drops At My Door

I received my Leslie West Still Climbing Audio CD and Poster today. Very cool of Leslie West and Mascot Label Group to ship early to pre order customers. I love that I have the four days to hear this rocking album before it officially drops for all to buy and hear on Tuesday October 29th.

The color scheme for the trifold CD cover is soothing with its brown and orange space planets theme. It always helps to get liner notes to dig into each recording more thoroughly.

Still Climbing Track Listing and Interpretation

1.  Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born (Leslie A. Weinstein & Jon Tiven)

Leslie West is joined by special guest Mark Tremonti on guitar

This song cooks and I love the way it builds, its an energy rocker that hooks you good.

2. Busted Disgusted Or Dead (Leslie A. Weinstein & Jon Tiven)

Leslie West kicks it abetted by Johnny Winter‘s 2nd half of guitar solo

The silkiness cross-thatched with the grittiness meshed totally works. The track produces an effective layered sound. Johnny Winter pushes out a slide guitar passage that grabs you and doesn’t let go. I have such total respect for two rock and roll survivors carrying on the tradition in tight formation.

3. Fade Into You (Nashville TV Show) – (Matt Jenkins, Shane McNally and Trevor Rosen)

I find myself watching this show some evenings.  I like the original music written and performed. I’m glad Leslie West covered it and helps share this music with his fans.

4. Not Over You At All (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein)

The first of four husband and wife collaborations. I love the support and sharing that takes place here.

I was subsequently sad to learn that Arno Hecht (Uptown Horns) who plays sax on this track daughter Ava died recently. Leslie opens his heart to her , stating Arno’s daughter would be very proud of him. He then states this is his favorite song.

5. Tales of Woe – (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein)

We learn how Leslie West and his wife Jennifer cope with the loss of Leslie’s leg due to diabetes. His road back is an encouraging one for all of us to be proud of for them both.

6. Feeling Good (Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse)

Featuring Dee Snider (Who I loved on The Apprentice)

An old chestnut takes on new life between Leslie and Dee’s respective energies and mutual appreciation.

7. Hatfield or McCoy (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein, Joseph M. Piazza)

8. When A Man Loves A Woman (Calvin Lewis & Andrew Right)

Featuring Johnny Lang

I have seen Johnny Lang live twice. He posses that true conviction when he plays. I love how he sucks you in. Well played gentlemen.

9. Long Red (Leslie A. Weinstein, Felix Pappalardi, John Elis Ventura, Norman Landsberg)

Featuring Larry West Weinstein, Leslie’s brother who played with him in The Vagrants

Long my favorite Mountain song, I couldn’t wait to hear the updated version on Still Climbing. Leslie West did not disappoint. I found myself rocking and drumming harder than ever.

10. Don’t Ever Let Me Go (Leslie A. Weinstein, Jennifer-West Weinstein)

Featuring Dylan Rose

11. Reverend Jones Time, an Over The Rainbow Instrumental

Leslie West – Guitar, Bass – Rev Jones

But just don’t take my word about this new recording. Watch Leslie West explain track by track what he accomplished with others with Still Climbing.

Leslie West – Still Climbing

Leslie West has my deep respect for pushing past his physical challenge continuing to record and perform the rock and roll music that he does the best. Later this month, October 28th to be specific, Leslie West’s latest recording, Still Climbing will drop.

The new album features collaborations with rockers like Jonny LangJohnny Winter, Mark Tremonti, Dylan Rose and Dee Snider.

Leslie West’s ‘Still Climbing’ Track Listing

1. ‘Dyin’ Since the Day I Was Born’
2. ‘Busted, Disgusted or Dead’
3. ‘Fade Into You’
4. ‘Not Over You at All’
5. ‘Tales of Woe’
6. ‘Feeling Good’
7. ‘Hatfield or McCoy’
8. ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’
9. ‘Long Red
10. ‘Don’t Ever Let Me Go’
11. ‘Rev Jones Time (Somewhere Over the Rainbow)’

Still Climbing is a sequel to the kick ass album Usual Suspects (2011).  Usual Suspects featured Leslie West playing with Slash, Billy Gibbons, Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, and Joe Bonamassa.

I first discovered Leslie West in 1969 when I was attending radio school in New York City. I was walking to Grand Central Terminal and as I was prone to do I stopped by The Record Hunter on 5th Avenue to look at the record albums displayed in the window. That particular day I saw Leslie West, Mountain and recalled that Scott Muni on WNEW-FM was playing a track from it called “Long Red’. I went inside and bought Leslie West’s solo LP. I played it when I got home and the sound of “Long Red” filled my senses. I’ve loved that song ever since as I melded with the Calliope organ and Leslie West’s gritty vocal.

Mountain (album)
Mountain (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was fascinated to learn that “Long Red” has been sampled by rap artist Jay-Z in “99 Problems” as well as in songs by Kanye West and Common. I think that is totally cool.

I am further excited by the fact that Leslie West has rerecorded “Long Red” for Still Climbing with his brother and former Vagrants-mate Larry West on bass!

“It was time for me to let people hear that song the way I do it now,” he explained. “I used a B-3 organ on it again, but this time it has a lot more balls.”

Here is another track from Still Climbing as we eagerly expect the final release. Can’t wait for this album to further rock the music of our heart.

Check out the press release here for more information.

http://www.noblepr.co.uk/Press_Releases/lesliewest/stillclimbing.htm

Thanks Leslie West for the rocking sound you continue to boldly give us all!

Oh and please be sure to follow Leslie West’s Official WordPress Website, http://lesliewestofficial.com/ it’s a top shelf music site 🙂

 

Super Session, Variations on a Theme

The original album, Super Session has begat several variations on a theme. Starting with the original, genius sessions in 1968, then moving through time Al Kooper and Columbia Records (Sony) have shown us the extended value(at times) of more collaboration, live recordings, and remastering efforts.

We begin the Super Session catalogue with the original pressing on vinyl for Columbia Records. I bought this record in the summer of 1968. I took it to high school with me often during senior year (68-69). I played it many days in my art class where we had a hi-fi system for music as a back drop. I played it the last day of high school in the gymnasium as the prom committee decorated for our prom, The Magic Carpet Ride (1969). The blues filled the gym as we seniors reflected on the last day of class. We booked the superstar band from Elektra Records, Rhinoceros to play as our prom band. They were awesome.

1) Super Session, Columbia Records CS 9701, released July 22, 1968

Sony released Super Session as a 24-bit remastered CD on April 8, 2003. I bought a copy and I was disappointed with the result. Yes like most reissues there were extra tracks, even editions of the original tracks without horns (which I abhor). But I found it overkill and a wasted effort.

What frosted my cake even more was that Al Kooper remixed Super Session in 5.1 SACD. But Sony closed the SACD division and this recording along with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Child Is The Father To Man sit on a shelf, collecting dust somewhere. Such a pity.

In late 2004 Al Kooper released this statement:

To the best of my knowledge, based on an unnamed source, the new head of SONY/BMG shut down the 5.1 SACD department and let everyone go. A year and a half ago I remixed Super Session and Child Is Father to the Man for them in 5.1 SACD. They both came out incredible and so I mastered them with Bob Ludwig. Now it seems they will languish on the shelves under the current administration of SONY/BMG.,……..Typical, in soooo many ways.” [7]

2) The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, Columbia KGP-6, 1969

I was very excited in 1969 when I read in Rolling Stone Magazine that Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield had a live recording coming out based on the Super Sessions. I haunted To-Ve’s Record Shop in Norwalk until that recording hit the wall rack. I loved the feel of that live recording immensely. It also introduced me to a very young Carlos Santana who stepped in to play for Mike Bloomfield when insomnia placed him in the hospital during the Fillmore West gig.

The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al ...
The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cover painting by Norman Rockwell is mesmerizing. Here is a picture of Al, Norman and Mike together.

3) Fillmore East: The Lost Concert Tapes 12-13-68, Legacy ‎CK 85278, April 8, 2003

The tapes for Super Session Live (East) were lost for 30 years. Fortunately they were recovered and we have the Fillmore East gigs to listen to now. The sound of the Fillmore East is unequalled in the history of live music recordings. The extra juice of this recording is that Johnny Winter was, if you will excuse the expression, white-hot in those days. Mike Bloomfield introduces Johnny Winter to the audience and he rips it up, Texas blues style.

Johnny Winter – Roots

Johnny Winter_3553
Image by Dutch Simba via Flickr

Loading image ...You forget how good Johnny Winter is until you spin up his music. Then it hits you like a full force Texas tornado.

I had written awhile back that Johnny Winter was working on a new album in Stamford, Ct. Roots is the name of the Johnny Winter CD that was released on September 27th, 2011.  I picked it up today on Apple iTunes and brought it down from iCloud to my iPhone sound system in the car.

It celebrates the blues icons who led the way for Winter. Plenty of great guest stars to appreciate as listed on the poster below.

Johnny Winter’s vocals are strong throughout especially when they are accented by his trademark growl. His guitarmanship is as phenomenal as ever. My early favorite tracks are “Bright Lights,  Big City” which is a duet with Susan Tedeschi and “Dust My Broom” with her husband Derek Trucks.

My hat’s off to producer Paul Nelson who is doing great things for Johnny Winter’s career and for his long time fans.

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Johnny Winter Working on New Studio Album

I was very pleased to learn of Johnny Winter‘s moral victory of becoming drug free. It is a testament to the caring friendship of his manager and band mate Paul Nelson who helped Johnny get clean. The silver lining in all of this is that at age 67, Johnny Winter guitarist and bluesman is performing and recording some of the best music of his life.

The first recording I want to draw your attention to is Johnny Winter’s Live Bootleg Series Vol. 7. The liner notes were composed by Johnny’s good friend, Warren Haynes.

The tracks include:

1. Introduction
2. Don’t Take Advantage Of Me
3. Mean Mistreater
4. Blues Jam
5. Shame, Shame, Shame
6. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
7. Leland, Mississippi Blues

Johnny Winter is also recording his first studio album in seven years here in Connecticut where he resides. The recording is being done at Carriage House Studios in Stamford, Ct. They plan to finish the studio recording, entitled Roots in March. You can read more about Johnny Winter, Paul Nelson, the band and special guest stars in the Stamford Advocate article here. We’re rooting for you Johnny!

Courtesy of The Connecticut Post

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Winter + The Blues = Johnny Winter

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.

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