Artist: Johnny Winter
Label: Megaforce Records
Reviewed: September, 2011
I love the blues of the musical sort. I especially love hearing it played by people who personify the blues and are considered icons of the genre and ‘specially if they’re still alive. These days, Johnny Winter is at the top of that list of living blues icons – at least in my book he is.
If anyone has been to the fabled crossroads, Winter has. He plays the blues as if he invented it and his latest CD, Roots, is an excellent example of that. This tribute to Winter’s idols by playing their iconic blues hits will b available September 28th, and is sure to delight both blues and Winter fans the world over.
The disc starts off with the T-Bone Walker hit, T-Bone Shuffle, and features the phenomenal slide guitar work by Louisiana’s Sonny Landreth. You feel like you’re in a backwoods blues joint listening to the best blues mankind has ever been blessed to hear. Sliding into the second slot is the Bobby Bland hit, Farther Up the Road, and is helped out by legendary guitarist, Jimmy Vivino. It’s already loaded in as one of my all-time favorite covers of the classic blues tune.
All songs on this album are excellently executed to perfection. However, Boomerocity’s pick of this litter is, by far, Winter’s treatment of the Little Walter/Paul Butterfield tune, Last Night, which features Blues Traveller front man, John Popper. The musicianship on this song is phenomenal! The harmonica work is signature Popper to the P (or “t”, if you must get technical) and the guitar solos by Winter and his number two man, Paul Nelson, are top shelf all the way. I guarantee you this song is destined for the repeat button on your player! Boomerocity’s second favorite is the final cut of the album, Come Back Baby, aided by very bluesy organ work of John Medeski. Both of these tunes have found a permanent home on my player’s repeat button.
Vince Gill lends his guitar skills to Mabellene for some good time, country-flavored rock ‘n roll. The forever beautiful and talented Susan Tedeschi joins Winter on vocals and a guitar solo on Bright Lights, Big City. Johnny’s brother, Edgar, plays incredible sax on the instrumental, Honky Tonk.
Mr. Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, gets down and dirty on the slide guitar with Johnny on the Robert Johnson classic, Dust My Broom. Johnny and Paul Nelson kick it up a notch with the Larry Williams hit, Short Fat Fanny, making that classic tune as fun as ever to listen to.
You blues aficionados will want to immediately order this CD for their listening library. Heck! Since Christmas is around the corner, you may as well order to or three as gifts for your friends.