Album review: Johnny Winter, Guitar Slinger (1984)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 22, 1984

By Steve Newton

The albino boss of bad-ass blues really hits the mark on this new album, which promises to be the blues-rock record of 1984. It should do for Johnny Winter what Texas Flood did for Stevie Ray Vaughan last year.

Backed up by some of Chicago’s leading blues artists–including harpist Billy Branch and the Albert Collins rhythm section of Johnny B. Gayden and Corey Jones–Winter proves that he’s still one of the most dangerous guitar slingers around by going hog wild on tunes like “Lights Out” (written by Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John) and “Don’t Take Advantage of Me”. And his trademark slide guitar burns hot on “It’s My Life, Baby”, “My Soul”, and the Muddy Waters track “Iodine in My Coffee”.

Although it’s hard to believe, Johnny Winter is getting sharper and faster as the years slip by. At least that’s the impression I got after hearing Guitar Slinger. Young guitar enthusiasts caught up in the current heavy-metal craze should give this disc a listen to learn some of rock’s roots from a master of the speed-picking technique.

And just as welcome as the news that Johny Winter is making some of his finest music ever is the word that WEA Music of Canada will be distributing Alligator records exclusively in this country. That should mean that LPs by such ace bluesmen as Lonnie Brooks, Son Seals, and Albert Collins will be available at prices lower than the previous import ones. Ya-hoo!

 

 

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