Johnny Winter Live on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in NYC 1974
The music world lost another great yesterday with the passing of Texas born blues guitarist/singer legend Johnny Winter who died (Wednesday, July 16) in Switzerland in his Zurich hotel room. He was 70 years of age. While no exact cause of death has so far been announced according to those close to the artist, who was considered among the greatest slide blues guitarist of all time, had not been in good health for a few years - yet still managed to get enough energy to do what he loved - perform the blues to appreciate audiences. The older brother of Edgar Winter with whom he began playing the blues from early in life, Johnny was not just a practitioner of the blues but also long an ambassador and champion of the genre as he supported the careers of such idols of his as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters (see all three together in concert in video down below). In the 1977 Winter brought his hero Muddy Waters into the studio to record Hard Again for Blue Sky Records - the imprint distributed by Columbia specifically set up for the release - followed by two other Waters collaboration albums that would result in three Grammys for Waters.
Johnny Winter's last official studio release was 2011's Roots album - which was the artist's 18th official studio release spanning six decades. Note that already this year (2014) there were two Johnny Winter releases: the Record Store Day only limited edition 180 gram vinyl Live Bootleg and the four disc retrospective from SONY Legacy: the recommended True To The Blues: The Johnny Winter Story
Above is a 20 minute video clip of Johnny Winter in concert in 1974 that captures him at his best. Check the Amoeba.com online store, as well as the blues and rock sections of each Amoeba retail outlet, for such Johnny Winter releases as Johnny Winter, Second Winter, White Gold Blues, and Muddy Waters: The Johnny Winter's Sessions. As The Blues Magazine editor Ed Mitchell wrote in a touching tribute this morning of the artist: "No one's slide tone was as sweet, searing, stinging or fiery. Johnny Winter blazing away on a Gibson Firebird is an iconic blues image." Rest in peace Johnny Winter.
Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter "I Just Wanna Make Love To You (live)"