Monday, 30 January 2012

"Original Album Classics" by JOHNNY WINTER (AND) (2011 Columbia/Sony Legacy 5CD Mini Box Set With Repro Card Artwork and Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…I’m Hungry…Let's Do This Fucker!"

Johnny Winter's first entry in Sony’s hugely successful "Original Album Classics" Series is a genuine nugget (there’s a 2nd box set for later albums). A 5CD Mini Box Set concentrating on his rightly celebrated Late Sixties/Early Seventies Blues-Rock output. Two of the discs even have uncredited bonus tracks and it's mid-price into the bargain. Johnny B Damn Goode on a budget. Here are the Texas White Boy Blues...

Released 24 January 2011 in the UK (1 Feb 2011 in the USA) - "Original Album Classics" by JOHNNY WINTER on Columbia/Sony Legacy 886976561727 (Barcode is the same) is a 5CD Mini Box Set with each CD housed in a singular card sleeve which repro's in miniature the back and front artwork of the original vinyl LP. 

Although there’s no booklet (and with the card details being almost illegible) – Sony provides downloadable recording info, production credits etc via the Net from their website. Let's get to the nitty gritty...

Disc 1 - "Johnny Winter" (34:14 minutes):
1. I'm Yours And I'm Hers
2. Be Careful With A Fool
3. Dallas
4. Mean Mistreater
5. Lean Mississippi Blues [Side 2]
6. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
7. When You Got A Good Friend
8. I'll Drown In My Own Tears
9. Back Door Friend
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 2nd studio album "Johnny Winter" - released on vinyl in the USA in May 1969 on Columbia CS 9826 and July 1969 in the UK on CBS Records S 63619

Disc 2 - "Second Winter" (46:57 minutes):
1. Memory Pain
2. I'm Not So Sure
3. The Good Love
4. Slippin' And Slidin' [Side 2]
5. Miss Ann
6. Johnny B. Goode
7. Highway 61 Revisited
8. I Love Everybody [Side 3]
9. Hustled Down In Texas
10. I Hate Everybody
11. Fast Life Rider
Tracks 1 to 11 are his 3rd studio album "Second Winter" - released as a 3-sided 2LP set in November 1969 on Columbia K2S 9947 in the USA and May 1970 in the UK on CBS S 66321 (Side 4 was left blank)

Disc 3 - "Live/Johnny Winter And" (40:12 minutes):
1. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
2. It's my Own Fault
3. Jumpin Jack Flash
4. Rock & Roll Medley:
(a) Great Balls Of Fire (b) Long Tall Sally (c) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On [Side 2]
5. Mean Town Blues
6. Johnny B. Goode
Tracks 1 to 6 are the live LP "Live/Johnny Winter And" by JOHNNY WINTER AND - released March 1971 in the USA on Columbia CS PC 30475 and in the UK on CBS S 64289

Disc 4 - "Still Alive And Well" (44:32 minutes):
1. Rock Me Baby
2. Can You Feel It
3. Cheap Tequila
4. All Tore Down
5. Rock & Roll
6. Silver Train [Side 2]
7. Ain't Nothing To Me
8. Still Alive And Well
9. Too Much Seconal
10. Let It Bleed
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 4th studio album "Still Alive And Well" - released April 1973 on Columbia KC 32188 in the USA and in the UK on CBS S 65484
[NOTE: Tracks 11 and 12 "Lucille" and "From A Buick Six" are uncredited bonus tracks]

Disc 5 - "Saints & Sinners" (41:48 minutes):
1. Stone County
2. Blinded By Love
3. Thirty Days
4. Stray Cat Blues
5. Bad Luck Situation
6. Rollin' 'Cross The Country [Side 2]
7. Riot In Cell Block No. 9
8. Hurtin' So Bad
9. Boney Maronie
10. Feedback On Highway 101
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Saints & Sinners" - released February 1974 in the USA on Columbia KC 32715 in the USA and in the UK on CBS S 65842
[NOTE: Track 11 "Dirty" is an uncredited bonus track]

Winter's debut LP "The Progressive Blues Experiment" was released on Imperial Records in the States in April 1969 - so the first disc on here "Johnny Winter" is actually his 2nd album and his debut for Columbia Records. Along with its impossibly cool follow-up "Second Winter" (a 3-sided 2LP set where Side 4 was blank) - they are vinyl treasures I've had on my turntables for over 45 years.

Highlights from both include the twin guitar boogie of "I'm Yours And I'm Hers" along with the stunning National Steel slide of "Dallas". And as if to stamp his credentials on the genre, the cover of the Muddy Waters staple "Mean Mistreater" features two huge Blues Legends - Willie Dixon on Bass and Walter "Shakey" Horton on Blues Harp. Speaking of mean harmonica warblers – Johnny Winter's own Harp playing on "Back Door Friend" makes him sound like some 70-year old veteran. The immediately impressive "I Love Everybody" track from "Second Winter" 2LP set turned up on those CBS sampler LPs in 1970 and 1971 while his cover of Percy Mayfield's "Memory Pain" sounded so Hard Rock - a great opening salvo and a clever reading of the changing sounds of the time.

But like Rory Gallagher with his 1972 meisterpiece "Live In Europe" (another genuine guitar hero) - it wasn't until 1971 that you heard the full power of Johnny Winter and his band on the now legendary "Live" album (credited as Johnny Winter And). There are versions of the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" that are arguably definitive - blistering stuff. I'm afraid I threw many a guitar shape to these tracks in my living room as a teenager...oh dear. "Mean Town Blues" only showed how deeply he was DNA'd to the Blues - truly amazing stuff...

The final two albums featured here – 1973's "Still Alive And Well" and 1974's "Saints And Sinners" - saw RICK DERRINGER both join the ranks and produce. The Canned Heat/ZZ Top boogie of "Rock & Roll" (lyrics above) and the Slide Blues of "Too Much Seconal" showed that the magic was still there (even if the drugs seemed to be getting the better of him). His version of the Stones "Silver Train" from 1973's "Goat's Head Soup" sounds so much like them that it might very well have been an outtake from that 1973 session with Winter singing lead vocal instead of Mick Jagger. His funky spoken intro of "I'm hungry...Let's do this f****er..." to "Still Alive And Well" raises a laugh to this day and his raucous version of Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days" is great fun too. Todd Rundgren provided Mellotron on the Rick Derringer written "Cheap Tequila" while future Disco buff Dan Hartman penned "Can You Feel It".

Despite personal health problems - the "Saints And Sinners" album still rocked. It opening with the hard-hitting "Stone Canyon" (penned by Richard Supa from the American East-Coast 'Man' band - not to be confused with the Welsh group) – all riffing guitars backed up some Lynyrd Skynyrd type girly vocals. He gives Allen Toussaint's "Blinded By Love" a Funky Rock tint and just about succeeds. Back to more familiar territory with Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days" but the production is murky and the take way too frantic. Far better is the Jagger-Richards cover of "Stray Cat Blues" – great playing and a big meaty Bluesy Rock sound from the clearly enthusiastic band. Side 1 ends on his own "Bad Luck Situation" – a good guitar tune even if his vocals seem lost in some echo room. Dan Hartman and his brother Edgar Winter provide "Rollin' 'Cross The County" – a very commercial rock single for the time not unlike BTO firing on all sixes. His own "Hurtin' So Bad" is good but best of all is the surprise Dobro/Flute Blues of "Dirty" – a sort of unannounced bonus track – what a cool, trippy addition...

To sum up - nearly 6 albums worth of great Blues-Rock for roughly two quid a record is a bit of a no-brainer really. No Johnny Winter of discontent here folks...

PS: If you want more check out his late Seventies collaborations with MUDDY WATERS on Blue Sky Records which feature Winter producing and playing on all (see the 3CD "Original Album Classics" box set). There is also a LEGACY Double of "Second Winter" and a "Woodstock Experience" version of "Johnny Winter" - both have superb bonus discs of period live material (see reviews)...

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is CLASSIC 1970s ROCK - an E-Book with over 250 entries and 2100 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 


PPS: below is a list of titles in the "Original Classic Albums" Series
5CD and 3CD sets up to and including January 2012

1. The Allman Brothers Band
2. Argent (see REVIEW)
3. Jeff Beck (Box 1)
4. Jeff Beck (Box 2)
5. Tony Bennett
6. George Benson
7. Big Audio Dynamite
8. Blood, Sweat & Tears
9. Blue Oyster Cult
10. Boney M
11. Pierre Boulez
12. The Brecker Brothers
13. Dave Brubeck Quartet
14. Jeff Buckley
15. The Byrds
16. Johnny Cash
17. Cheap Trick
18. Stanley Clarke
19. Harry Connick Jr.
20. Cypress Hill
21. Miles Davis (Box 1)
22. Miles Davis (Box 2)
23. Duke Ellington
24. Earth, Wind & Fire
25. Electric Light Orchestra
26. Agnetha Faltskog [Frida of Abba]
27. Dan Fogelberg
28. Aretha Franklin (see also 3CD list)
29. Rory Gallagher
30. Glenn Gould
31. Hall & Oates
32. Hot Tuna
33. The Isley Brothers (see REVIEW)
34. The Jacksons
35. Etta James
36. Jefferson Airplane
37. Jefferson Starship
38. Waylon Jennings
39. Journey
40. Judas Priest
41. Kansas
42. Carole King
43. Kris Kristofferson
44. Mario Lanza
45. Cyndi Lauper
46. The Lovin’ Spoonful
47. The Mahavishnu Orchestra
48. Henri Mancini
49. John McLaughlin
50. Al Di Meola
51. Molly Hatchet
52. Thelonious Monk (Box 1)
53. Thelonious Monk (Box 2) (see also 3CD sets)
54. Mott The Hoople
55. Mountain
56. Willie Nelson
57. Harry Nilsson
58. Ted Nugent
59. Laura Nyro
60. The Alan Parsons Project
61. Dolly Parton
62. Murray Perahia
63. Michel Petrucciani
64. Poco
65. Prefab Sprout
66. Preservation Hall Jazz band
67. Elvis Presley (Box 1)
68. Elvis Presley (Box 2)
69. Leontyne Price
70. The Psychedelic Furs
71. Lou Reed (Box 1)
72. Lou Reed (Box 2)
73. REO Speedwagon
74. Sonny Rollins
75. Artur Rubinstein
76. Run DMC
77. Santana (Box 1)
78. Santana (Box 2) (see also 3CD list)
79. Joe Satriani
80. Boz Scaggs
81. Nina Simone
82. Sly & The Family Stone
83. Lonnie Liston Smith
84. Patti Smith
85. Smokie
86. Soft Machine
87. Spirit
88. Isaac Stern
89. The Stranglers
90. Ivor Stravinsky
91. Suicidal Tendencies
92. James Taylor
93. Steve Vai
94. Various - Carols For Christmas
95. Various – The Joys Of Christmas
96. Weather Report (Box 1)
97. Weather Report (Box 2)
98. John Williams
99. The Edgar Winter Group
100. Johnny Winter (And) (see REVIEW)
101. Johnny Winter (second 5CD set)
102. Paul Young
103. Sophie Zelmani

PS: 01/02/2010 saw the introduction of THREE DISC SETS in the “Original Album Classics” Series and releases are ongoing. Here is a list as of January 2012…

1. ADAM & THE ANTS (26/09/2011)
[Dirk Wears White Sox/Kings Of The Wild Frontier/Prince Charming]
2. AMERIE (01/02/2010)
(All I Have/Touch/Because I Love It)
3. ANATHEMA (26/09/2011)
[Judgement/A Fine Day To Exit/A Natural Disaster]
4. BLONDIE (26/09/2011)
[No Exit/Livid/The Curse Of Blondie]
5. COLIN BLUNSTONE (26/07/2010)
[One Year/Ennismore/Journey]
6. DAVID BOWIE (09/01/2012)
7. JOHNNY CASH (09/01/2012)
[Hello, I’m Johnny Cash/The Johnny Cash Show/Man In Black]
8. CLANNAD (24/01/2011)
[Magical Ring/Macalla/Sirius]
9. SHAWN COLVIN (08/02/2010)
[Steady On/Fat City/Cover Girl]
10. ALICE COOPER (26/09/2011)
[Trash/Hey Stoopid/The Last Temptation]
11. MILES DAVIS (26/07/2010)
[Nefertiti/Socerer/Filles De Kilimanjaro]
12. DEEP PURPLE (26/09/2011)
[Slaves And Masters/The Battle Rages On/Purpendicular]
13. DONOVAN (22/07/2010)
[Mellow Yellow/Hurdy Gurdy Man/Barabajagal]
14. BOB DYLAN (26/07/2010)
[Empire Burlesque/Down In The Groove/Under The Red Sky]
15. BOB DYLAN (09/01/2012)
[Good As I Been To You/World Gone Wrong/MTV Unplugged]
16. EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER (28/03/2011)
[Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970/Live At The Royal Albert Hall/Live In Poland]
17. AGNETHA FALTSKOG [FRIDA of ABBA] (01/02/2010)
[Agnetha Faltskog/Nar En Vacker Tanke Blirsang/Elva Kvinnor I Ett Hus]
18. (PETER GREEN’S) FLEETWOOD MAC (01/02/2010)
[Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac/Mr. Wonderful/The Pious Bird of Good Omen – The Original UK Album Track Lists – No Extras]
19. ARETHA FRANKLYN (01/02/2010)
[The Electrifying/The Tender The Moving The Swinging/Soul Sister]
20. THE JEFF HEALEY BAND (09/01/2012)
[See The Light/Hell To Pay/Feel This]
21. JAPAN (28/03/2011)
[Adolescent Sex/Obscure Alternatives/Quiet Life]
22. JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (28/03/2011)
[Volunteers/Bark/Long John Silver]
23. JOURNEY (01/02/2010)
24. TAJ MAHAL (24/01/2011)
[Taj Mahal/The Natch’l Blues/Mo’ Roots]
25. CHARLES MINGUS (26/07/2010)
[Mingus Ah Um/Mingus Dynasty/Tijuana Moods]
26. WILLIE NELSON (01/02/2010)
[Yesterday’s Wine/Red Headed Stranger/Stardust]
27. THE ONLY ONES (09/01/2012)
[The Only Ones/Even Serpents Shine/Baby’s Got A Gun]
28. SHUGGIE OTIS (09/01/2012)
[Here Comes Shuggie Otis/Freedom Flight/Inspiration Information]
29. DOLLY PARTON (8/02/2010)
[Eagle When She Flies/Slow Dancing With The Moon/White Limozeen]
30. IGGY POP (28/03/2011)
[New Values/Soldier/Party]
31. ELVIS PRESLEY (26/09/2011)
[Today/From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee/Moody Blue]
32. PRIMAL SCREAM (26/09/2011)
[Vanishing Point/Echo Dek/XTRMNTR]
33. SANTANA (08/02/2010)
[Illuminations/Oneness/The Swing of Delight]
34. SANTANA (26/09/2011)
[Havana Moon/Beyond Appearances/Spirits Dancing In The Flesh]
35. SCORPIONS (01/02/2010)
[In Trance/Virgin Killer/Taken By Force]
36. GIL SCOTT-HERON (24/01/2011)
[Real Eyes/Reflections/Moving Target]
37. SIMON and GARFUNKEL (01/02/2010)
[Sounds Of Silence/Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme/Bookends]
38. PATTI SMITH (26/07/2010)
[Gone Again/Peace And Noise/Gung Ho]
39. THE STRANGLERS (28/03/2011)
[Feline/Aural Sculpture/Dreamtime]
40. TOTO (08/02/2010)
[Toto/Hydra/Turn Back]
41. LUTHER VANDROSS (01/02/2010)
(Never Too Much/Give Me The Reason/The Power of Love)
42. VANGELIS (26/09/2011)
[Heaven And Hell/Albedo 0.39/Spiral]
43. THE WALKER BROTHERS (01/02/2010)
[No Regrets/Lines/Nite Flights]
44. MUDDY WATERS (24/01/2011)
[Hard Again/I’m Ready/King Bee]
45. BOBBY WOMACK (09/01/2012)
[Home Is Where The Heart Is/Pieces/Roads Of Life]


Anonymous said...

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Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading through your blog tonight. You have good taste in music... not to mention some really informative reviews. Would love to hear some more info on the SHM CDs. I have yet to purchase one but am very tempted. I hear the quality (on some) are astonishing.

Your work is appreciated!


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