Musicians, especially bluesmen, are expected to "pay their dues" by coming from a poor background. Johnny, on the other hand, lived with his parents and brother Edgar in Beaumont'g wealthiest neighborhood. Mr Winter was in real estate, Mrs Winter was active in church and civic affairs. Such parents are expected to discourage their offspring from pursuing a musical career. To the contrary, the Winters aided and abetted their sons every step of the way. The attic was remolded into a music room, where Johnny retreated to master the guitar while Edgar took on drums, horns and keyboards. Johnny's first band was born here, too - called John Macaroni & The Jammers, - after Johnny's tall, slim appearance, This was a "high school" band, performing at assemblies and dances, Soon expanding to a professional career in clubs, roadhouses and other venues that apid money, the name was shortened to Johnny & The Jammers and featured Johnny on guitar/vocals, Edgar on piano, I.P. Sweat on bass and Robert Reeder on drums.
After years of cutting 45's, Johnny in 1968 decided to stop chasing after the exclusive pop hit and commit himself to playing blues. He learned them as a kid, mostly by listening to thousands of old 78's, and blues was always his favourite music. He formed a trio with Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums and hit the road. Tiring of performing around Texas, he was investigating the music scene in England when a cover story in Rolling Stone made him a celebrity. Suddenly, the majors who wouldn't adavance a thousand dollars for a Johnny Winter record the week before were bidding hundreds of thousands of dollars to get his name on the dotted line Columbia won. and Johnny proceeded to unleash a series of classic blues albums, In addition to recording himself and producing other artists, such as Muddy Waters. Johnny has maintained a heavy touring schedule. "For the past two or three years I've been on the road at least eight to nine months a year," he reports. "Besides the States, we've been to Europe, Australia and Canada. We go everywhere people want to see us, from festivals to college gigs, to you-name-it,"
For the present album I've mostly selected cuts from the years that led Johnny to Columbia. They range in style from covers ("Out Of Sight") to the blues Johnny likes best ('You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone"). Play this album on those lonely nights when you want to drift away to Texas, to the sizzling sound that was going down in the '60s, from one of its most popular exponents.