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Another of the great guitarists I have recently come to appreciate, Johnny Winter, along with Roy Buchanan and Frank Zappa has since become one of my favorite guitar heroes. All three I discovered through the magic of the Internet, and are testament to the power of the Internet to expand people's mind... well once you dig through all the Spam and "adult material".
I find these three guitarists (Buchanan, Winter and Zappa) to be somewhat unappreciated outside of guitar circles and even then probably not as much as some of the mainstream players like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. Still the crying blues of Roy Buchanan, the slide work and high speed blues stomp of Johnny Winter and the progressive modal solos of Frank Zappa have all made a significant impression on me and have really inspired me to further expand my musical collection and my guitar playing.
For a long while I have heard that Johnny Winter is a great and unique take on blues rock, and now after checking out his music, I say, I am both impressed by the music and his guitar playing.
The video that inspired me to investigate Johnny Winter is this clip of him playing "Mean Town Blues" I believe at Woodstock. It is a great blue stomp and features some great guitar playing as well, so hopefully by sharing it, a few other people who were unfamiliar with Mr. Winter, like I was, might become more interested in his music.
Although I have since seen a few other videos of Johnny Winter, and have become even more intrigued by his take on the blues and rock 'n' roll, I thought this would be an obvious clip to include, seeing it is the one that first turned me onto his music. Plus it is another from the Woodstock shows that have since become the stuff of legends.
What impressed me about this clip is the intensity and the blues stomp, and of course the guitar playing. Played on what looks like a twelve string, probably using a thumb pick, it has a earthy delta twang with enough rock and roll grit to get the crowd moving. Then there is the solo, partially done the same way before shifting to slide, it definitely got my attention.
I like slide guitar as it allows a lot more expression at times than regular fretted solos because of those subtle in between notes that you can coax out and the wide vibrato that is available. This definitely features some great slide playing, and the effect on the twelve string is pretty cool.
The second video I watched I also decided to include. This one is Johnny Winter, this time from 1974, covering the Rolling Stones "Jumpin' Jack Flash".
All I can say about this one is... Rolling Stones Who? Although I love the Rolling Stones, I don't think they have played this song with this much grit and fire all that often.
Amazing cover, and again some fantastic guitar playing, with a fire an intensity that probably every band wishes it had. There is some strange border on the video, and I wasn't too keen on the editing with the fades, but the music and the guitar work is top rate.
Check it out, you never know what great artist you're going to discover online. Today I discovered Johnny Winter, who knows what I'll find tomorrow.
As always, thanks to Youtube and both Freaky112 and GLDave for uploading these two clips.