The Johnny Winters record: "Saints and Sinners" scores #42 on 23 Feb 1974 in the Billboard charts
Band members and musicians
LP: CBS S 65842 (Recorded: 1974)
Producer: Rick Derringer
Originally released in February 1974, Saints & Sinners was reissued on February 27, 1996 with the previously unreleased song "Dirty," a Winter original, added. The slide guitar-and-flute track is not consistent with the rest of the album, but it is interesting to hear.
Sounds 2 Feb 1974
JOHNNY WINTER: "SAINTS & SINNERS" (CBS) Import .
JOHNNY WINTER has just finished the final mixes of his new album and this white label copy arrived from the States hot of the press this week. It's Johnny's second comeback album and as such he has had full opportunity to take his time and show that he reallv is still alive and well, since the last album was something of a misnomer. fairly, disappointing from beginning to end. "Saints & Sinners" marks a reunion of musicians since Rick Derringer produced it, brother Edgar organises some lovely horn work and plays keyboards. Bobby Caldwell plays drums on a few cuts. Jon Smith and Dan Hartman.
Also sit in alongside John's permanent sidemen Randy Jo Hobbs on bass and Richard Hughes on drums. The message is plain from the opening cut when Winter and Co. fairly tear into Richard Supa's "Stone County" and never let up. And in a sense that's the main' criticism of this album and marks the tendency of Derringer to over-embellish in the studios. The whole album is too uptight and too upfront, as though Winter and Derringer between them are trying to contrive the excitement rather than let it flow naturally. Winter's guitar sits well into the overall ensemble but rarely gets the chance to break out with that strident grace for which he is known.
As for the tracks, the promised David Bowie song hasn't materialised but once again Johnny pays tribute to the Rolling Stones on "Stray Cat Blues" and Allen Toussaint with - 'Blinded By Love" where he is happy to let his guitar rest behind Derringer's. These are the two outstanding cuts and completely overshadow the older classics like Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days'. Larry Williams' "Boney Maroney' and the Lieber-Stoller composition "Riot In Cell Block No. 9" which has just about been done to death. Johnny Winter still has a lot of playing in him, that much is for sure - but right now he needs Edgar or Rick or Steve Paul to point him in the direction in which he can work easily without trying to prove himself all over again. - J.G.
Disc Magazine 11 May 1974
JOHNNY WINTER "Saints & Sinners" (CBS-U.S. import £2.45).
A superior package and presentation to "Still Alive and Well", this is the closest Winter has come to delivering the perfect vehicle-and vehicle is apt for a record that-trucks like an Inter-City express. December's child and his aides (which include producer Rick Derringer, brother Edgar, Dan Hartman, Randy Hobbs and Jo Jo Gunne) could teach rock 'n' roll to the bulk of today's hopefuls and a good percentage of the recognised greats, so advanced is their craftsman-ship.
The layers of wild guitar woven in tight rhythm stretch back into the mix with the depth of a 3D movie, always allowing space for Johnny's own fiery lead work. Stone County is a ripping opener for straight rock 'n' roll fans, coupled with Chuck Berry's Thirty Days and Larry Williams old Boney Moroney. Sore throat followers can go to town on blues with Riot In Cell Block 9 and Hurtin' So Bad, while driving heavy rock predominates the other five cuts. Production by Rick D. is clear and punchy; organic direction is by manager Steve Paul - and that has to be defined to be believed! Cover photo looks like Kenny Everett used an electric razor in the bath.'*;
Sounds: 2 Feb 1974
MW 13 April 1974
Saints and Sinners. CBS 65842. Producer: Rick Derringer - Has been called the best white blues singer alive, inexplicably on the evidence of this motley collection, which includes songs by Chuck Berry, the Stones, Van Morrison and Lieber/Stoller, together with several self-penned tracks. In view of this variety, the monotony of the music is something of an achievement. Peppered with hackneyed 10-year old guitar riffs, as on the rock standard Boney Moroney, presumably in an attempt at nostaligic recreation. Only for the already converted.
MM 27 Apr 1974
JOHNNY WINTER: "Saints And Sinners" (CBS), Whilst English rock musicians have mostly got the bad taste field sewn up, an award of some sort should be made to the brothers Winter, who have long specialised in unpleasant noises. Edgar was all right once his solo "Entrance," and the first White Trash album were very enjoyable, but Johnny, to me at least, has never seemed like anv more than a freaky looking, very ordinary-sounding guitarist, with a rasping, grating excuse for a voice. On " Saints And Sinners, " Johnny is slightly more adventurous than usual in choice of material.
He tackles Van Morrison's "Feedback On Highway 101" and Jagger/Richard's "Stray Cat Blues" with (just) tolerable results. And a slow blues, "HurLin' So Bad works okay, within its own limitations. It's the up-tempo ones that I can't listen to at all. "Riot In Cell Block 9" and " Boney Moroney " are both over-endowed with the Winter faster-than-the-speedof-light guitar. It's not an original line, but I'll say it anyhow what's Johnny going to do with all the time he saves by playing so fast? Of course, it's the easiest thing in the world to dash off a negative album review; maybe this album represents hours of careful, dedicated work in the studios but somehow I don't think so.
Still, if your idea of fun is being earbashed by an unrelenting blur of high-pitched guitar then "Saints And Sinners" is just what you've been waiting for ever since the last 'Ten Years dater record.
Review of Saints and Sinners from a German Magazine
An advertisement published in Billboard Magazine:
Johnny Winter Never Sounded Better. Saints & Sinners is Johnny Johnny Winter album with more Winter at his hard-driving rock and depth and range than ever before roll best 'Saints & Sinners; including With new songs by Johnny, the new Johnny Winter single. Van Morrison, Allen Toussaint and ' Stone County': , Edgar Winter/Dan Hartman. its a On Columbia Records Produced by Rick Derringer