I had planned to post at least one Weird Al Yankovic video this morning in honor of his new album coming out last week. All the videos I’ve seen have been outstanding and super funny. Also, as @davisac1 tweeted last week:
However, there’s been a death in my musical family again, so it seems more important to honor that event instead.
Johnny Winter, blues guitarist extraordinaire, died last Thursday in a Swiss hotel room. He was 70 and had lived a pretty hard life, thanks to his love of drugs and alcohol. But, damn, the man could play guitar.
I’ve come to the conclusion that good rock guitar players are a dime a dozen. Any time I see a list of the best, it’s really easy for me to change every name out for someone else not quite as famous, except for a few. Johnny Winter is one of those few. Let’s celebrate some of the magic he could do.
First up, Alpha Reader’s favorite Johnny Winter song. He and I played a game once where we had to pretend we weremajor league baseball players and had to come up with our intro songs (you know, when you’re walking up to the plate for your turn at bat). Mine was the Clash’s “Train in Vain.” AR’s was “I Love Everybody.” Dig that slide work.
I actually knew of Edgar Winter, Johnny’s brother, first, thanks to his early-1970s hits “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.” Here are the two brothers playing together in Denmark in 1970. The song is “Fast Life Rider.”
Even when he reached the point where he had to play sitting down, he could still burn it up. Here he is on David Letterman in 2012 playing “Dust My Broom.”
Let’s finish up with another old one. Now that I think about it, this song was my first introduction to Johnny Winter, in a way. Rick Derringer wrote it and had the big hit with it (that’s why I knew it), but Johnny recorded it first: “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo.”
Thanks for all the great licks, Johnny. Bon voyage!