Johnny Winter Before The Storm
Janus Records 1973/chess (double vinyl)
Now that. the guitarist-singer Johnny Winter is up working and recording again, after being off the scene for 18 months, it appears that recording companies are, literally, getting in on the act. Winter, signed in the late nineteen-sixties by Columbia Records in a flurry of headlines and publicity, still records for that label. But he did not spring fully armed onto the rock 'n' roll scene, and before the signature was dry on that early contract, tapes of Winter's early works were being offered for sale.
Two albums of prerock Winter have currently been reissued apparently to take advantage of his new busy working schedule. They are "Austin Texas" (United Artists Records LA 139, $6.98) and "Before the Storm" (Janus Records ' 2JLS 3056, $5.94). The Texas set (Winter hails from Texas) offers more recording details: It was made in 1968 and all the sidemen are listed. The double-album Janus set merely states that it is Winter's band with Winter and his brother Edgar (on saxophone) included.
All the tracks show Winter very much in a down-home blues groove, influenced in both style and composition by such urban blues musicians as B. B. King, Howlin's Wolf and Muddy Waters. The music is black, predictable and derived, with some virtuoso licks, emerging from Winter's strong guitar.