Friday, February 10, 2012

Johnny Winter - The Progressive Blues Experiment

I had hesitated to buy this record at first due to its title – I was afraid that this would be some sort or fusion/blues something-or-another, but once I heard a cut from it, I knew that it was a must-have from this man! It turns out that this was recorded just before Winter signed with Columbia Records and was to be used as a demo or, at best, a release on a small Texas label. This was all done on location at a club that his band frequented, though this is not live in front of an audience. As it was meant to be released, the quality is good, but not amazing, since it was not a “real” studio. But, the quality is pretty much perfect for the material! This is all pure blues, with Winter blasting through the tunes at break-neck speed, without sacrificing any quality. There are cuts with Johnny on acoustic, harmonica (which he was also damn good at!) and even mandolin and he displays his virtuosity with the slide as well as his blazing leads while he fills out the sound in this 3 piece configuration. This band must have been jaw-dropping to see at this time! I would say that this is a must for anyone who loves their blues with a hard-rock edge – this is the template that so many drew from and capitalized on!