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A blue Winter

Scorchin' Blues
Scorchin' Blues
By Johnny Winter

Columbia / Sony Music: 1992

This review first appeared in the July 24, 1992 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Johnny Winter, the albino guitar hero who often gigged with Muddy Waters, has lived and played through two blues revivals: The first, which was petering out in the late '60s just as he was finally bursting upon the national scene, and the next, which began in the mid-'80s and continues to thrive.

This compilation from Sony (Columbia) features Winter's more blues-oriented material from his first few albums in the late '60s and his last albums for Columbia, from the late '70s.

Although the blues focus of this package is understandable, it still leaves out much of Winter's best material from the early '70s. While that period of his life was immersed in psychedelic rock, it was nevertheless also deeply blues-influenced.

A real treat is cuts from his 1978 album, "Nothin' But the Blues," where he is backed by the Muddy Water Blues Band. Another is the inclusion of "Mean Mistreater" from his first album, "Johnny Winter," where he is backed by Willie Dixon on bass and Walter Horton on harmonica.

If this is not a collection of Winter's greatest hits, it is still a very good selection of some of his best playing and guitar soloing.