The Johnny Winter Story

Johnny Winter's Second Winter

Johnny Winter - SECOND WINTER
Johnny Winter - SECOND WINTER

Johnny Winter's Second Winter

Johnny Winter's album: "Second Winter" was originally released around October 1969 and reached Billboard position 55 on 6 December 1969.

Second Winter is also notorious for a gimmicky sales device. When the recording sessions were over, Johnny Winter had enough material for an album and a half; rather than add a side of filler, Columbia simply promoted the album as the world's first three-sided album. (In a snarky review, Rolling Stone sarcastically gave the blank fourth side an in-depth discussion.) Unfortunately this was also the last album which Johnny Winter recorded with his original band: together with "Uncle" John Turner and Tommy Shannon

In 2004 Sony Legacy released the album "Second Winter" with two previously unreleased tracks as well as a second CD with the Johnny Winter performace Live at the Royal Albert Hall Concert in 1970

 

 

Tracklisting

  1. Memory pain
  2. I'm not sure
  3. The good love - Dennis Collins - Bass
  4. Slippin' and slidin'
  5. Miss Ann
  6. JOHNNY B. GOODE
  7. Highway 61 revisited
  8. I love everybody
  9. Hustled down in Texas
  10. I hate everybody
  11. Fast life rider

 

Production information

LP: CBS 66231 / KCS 9947 (1969/1970)
CBS

Album Design: Tony Lane

Photographs: Richard Avedon

Spiritual Producer: Steve Paul

Producer: Johnny Winter


Cover text: Johnny Winte

 

Some tracks for this album including: "Johnny B. Goode" and "I'm not sure" have been released as singles.

Promotional photos of Johnny Winter with Uncle John Turner, Tommy Shannon used for the expanded edition of Second Winter

 

The review of Second Winter by Gros Ed, from 1970

Johnny Winter—"Second Winter" (Columbia KCS9947)


Some clutz on the "Prospector" staff lost one record of this two record set before I can tell you what I can from half album. In a stroke of cheapness, this 2-record set has only 3 sides (I got the record with one side). Winter is obviously a great talent on his guitar (although his singing is zilch) and he rocks his way the entire album, thrashing each song with fantastic riffs and deafening volume. He uses his wah-wah to an excess, but since he has no sloppy playing to hide, I can't understand why. A b o u t 45 minutes worth of hard-driving, rocking, loud music by a damn good guitarist.

 

Second Winter - Brazilian Edition

Probable driven by the Market conditions in Brazil, Johnny Winter's Second Winter, was released in Brazil as a single Mono-lp released (vs the two lp release in most other countries). Oddly enough Second Winter as released as "Johnny WInter in Brazil

This Brazilian release of Second Winter (37679) contains the tracks

    Side One:
  1. I Love Everybody (Gosto de Todos)
  2. Johnny B. Goode
  3. Miss Ann
  4. Fast Life Rider (Cavaleiro Veloz)
    Side Two:
  1. Highway 61 Revisited (Rodovia 61)
  2. Memory Pain (a dor de uma Lembranca)
  3. The Good Love (Grand Amor)

Album: Second Winter Review by: Jan Williams

On October 1969, Second Winter was released with a song on it that hit like a bolt of lightning, "Memory Pain." In it, Johnny's voice weaves a web of ethereal longing and raw expressive bounce. He can tell the story of a man wronged by a woman with such dry wit and pathos that it becomes an art form.

It is a weird album since there are two records to it, but only three sides can be played. Inside the album there is a note signed by Johnny himself which explains why there are only three sides. "We went to Nashville to cut our new album. The original plan was to cut as much material as possible and pick the best of what was cut to make up a regular one-sided album. After we finished, we found out that if all the songs were used we might lose some volume if only one record were used. Since it was very important to us that our album be as loud as is technically possible, we had a problem. We had to cut everything that we wanted to and everything we had planned on doing and we didn't have anything else that we really wanted to do. We also really liked everything we'd done and didn't want to leave any of the songs out. We couldn't honestly give you more, and we didn't want to give you less, so here is exactly what we did in Nashville - no more and no less." Then there is his glorious signature, even down to crossing his t and dotting his i.

This album has some variety - some rock, some blues, bottleneck guitar, heavy-hard rock, "Johnny B. Goode," and a positively fierce interpretation of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited." The strange third side with its blank flip side are all Johnny songs - good, blunt JW songs, hard-hitting and to the point, accompanied by his crackling guitar style and a voice that cries tough, plaintive one minute, brash the next. "I Love Everybody," a horny song, "I Hate Everybody," autobiographical, thumbing his nose at everybody, and "Fast Life Rider" are all songs which reflect his past and future. At the end, after the last song on the third side, comes a part which is also benefitted by the record being played as loud as is technically possible. All I can say is, HEAR IT, and LOUDLY - maybe with the headphones on.

With Johnny are the original band members of Winter (Uncle John Turner and Tommy Shannon), who came with Johnny from Texas, first recorded on Johnny Winter and now on Second Winter, with Edgar Winter helping out on both.

When Second Winter arrived the so called blues purists sounded off with a scream. Johnny's reaction was, "People really do it to ya' - put ya' in a category and if you do something different - they get really pissed off. They say 'look he's sellin' out,' no matter what you do that you didn't do before it's selling' out." Unconcerned with the undeserved criticism from the blues purists, Johnny was comfortable and liked the loose approach. This album serves as what was to become signature music.

Bruce Vail:

Second Winter is interesting for a number of reasons. According to Clive Davis, one of Johnny's concerns before signing with CBS/Columbia in 1969 was the quality of studio equipment and musicians. This was a period when unions kept a lot of musicians or recording professionals off records, at least in the northeast studios. But the Nashville studio used by the label was "open" - so Johnny could bring in anyone he wanted. This contributed to (or confirmed), in part, Johnny's decision to sign with Clive, and to use Nashville to record Second Winter there. (End note: the musician situation resolved itself by the seventies, so this is essentially a music business history lesson).

Another interesting point: Dennis Collins wrote "Good Love" and played bass on the song (ahem, replacing Tommy Shannon for a brief moment!). If I remember correctly, Collins previously wrote "Living In The Blues," a fuzz box, pyschedelic-tinged blues rock number which Johnny recorded before signing with CBS/Columbia. I don't know what happened to Collins since 1969, but his talent and relative success lead me to suspect he continued to write and play music for some time, albeit off our collective radar screens. I would love to know what's happened since Second Winter.

A third point: Edgar was a functioning member in the studio band that produced Second Winter, at least according to the credits (and liner photo). His solo career would take off shortly, and his full time ties to JW would end at that time. Thus, Second Winter represents the culmination of a collaborative period Johnny and Edgar have yet to repeat.

Finally, Second Winter marked the beginning of Johnny's move toward rock and away from blues (hence, the Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, and Little Richard covers and other musical selections), apparently at the behest of management and label execs. Johnny would not return to the blues until "Nothing But The Blues" and "White Hot and Blue", and would not return without interruption to the idiom on record until signing with Alligator in 1984, fifteen years after Second Winter.

In the text above, I referred to a union problem involving "musicians or recording professionals" as prompting, in part, Johnny's decision to record Second Winter in Nashville. Thanks to a gentle suggestion from Uncle John, I have discovered that my recollection was erroneous on one, and possibly two, counts.

First, it appears that only recording professionals, particularly engineers, were involved in the "union" issue I recalled. Second, that issue may - or may not - have influenced Johnny's decision to record in Nashville.

In researching this, I relied on Clive Davis autobiography [Clive Davis with James Willwerth, "Clive: Inside The Record Business," (Morrow 1974)]. Mr. Davis is a wonderful man, with a stellar career spanning decades. He moved on to Arista after leaving CBS/Columbia, and I hope he remains involved in the music industry if he leaves Arista. His biography is "a good read."

I also relied on Charlie Gillett's "Sound of the City" and other rock encyclopedias. None of these sources, however, directly answer why Johnny Winter went to Nashville in 1969. There are, however, two possible explanations.

Explanation One - The CBS/Columbia "Studio Situation"

To understand the situation Johnny Winter faced in 1969, it is important to recall the state of the music industry then. Rock and roll may have originated, as a recognized genre, in the fifties, but a dominant music format throughout the fifties and sixties was traditional pop/easy listening. In fact, the "bread and butter" of CBS/Columbia's roster for years included Mitch Miller, Andy Williams, Barbara
Streisand, Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, Percy Faith, and Ray Conniff - not rock and rollers.

The rise of Elvis coincided with the slow decline of "middle of the road" music (MOR) in the fifties, and he recorded for the Sun and RCA labels. The Beatles, of course, slammed a nail on the MOR music coffin in the sixties, and they were on Capitol Records in the US. At that point, every major label wanted to record contemporary artists with credibility. Failure to do so meant declining revenues and the likelihood of being bought out by more successful enterprises.

Clive Davis astutely recognized this. When he joined CBS/Columbia in 1965, the label featured Broadway cast albums (20% of the label's sales at one point), classical music performances, and the traditional pop artists mentioned above. The label's contemporary roster included Bob Dylan, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Byrds, and Simon & Garfunkel. The label also had a respected country music division in Nashville.

Davis responded to changing music trends by working to: (1) have "old guard" MOR artists record contemporary songs (i.e., by the Beatles, etc.); and (2) sign "young turk" acts with immediate appeal to the increasing youth demographic. Davis succeeded in the second category by signing Donovan, Janis Joplin, Santana (the group), Chicago, The Chambers Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Billy Joel, Electric Flag (featuring Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles), Laura Nyro, and others to either the Columbia label or a subsidiary. Many of the acts were visually flamboyant, musically challenging, and commercially successful.

Johnny Winter, of course, may be included in this list, and Edgar joined him (on a subsidiary, Epic) shortly thereafter.

CBS/Columbia, however, faced two major problems in the middle and late sixties. First, Columbia's Artist & Repertoire (A & R) men were trained in and made their reputations on producing MOR and jazz, not rock and roll, and this prompted Davis (as head of the label's A&R) to consider going to independent producers to get contemporary records as early as the mid-sixties. It is unclear when the label eliminated this problem, but it probably affected the company to a degree even in 1969.

CBS/Columbia, however, also faced a "studio situation." The label owned its studios, and its engineers belonged to a union. The company and union had previously entered into a collective bargaining agreement which required that union engineers - and only union engineers - be present and work the boards at sessions involving CBS/Columbia artists, if those sessions took place in the studios themselves or in a neighboring area hundreds of miles away. (This agreement was actually less restrictive than the one before, which required that only Columbia studios could be used to record Columbia artists, but it was still a millstone around the company's
neck in 1969.)

Other labels (e.g., Atlantic, Elektra, etc.) may have lacked adequate A&R staff, too, but they did not have a similar "studio problem."RCA reportedly offered more money to Johnny than CBS/Columbia, but Johnny (represented by Steve Paul) apparently turned that company down, in part, because CBS/Columbia was willing to give him unprecedented artistic freedom and control in choosing songs, producing and packaging his albums, and recording his music.

In fact, Johnny addressed the "qualified producer" problem by deciding to produce his material himself. His years in the studios in the sixties provided him with the experience necessary to assume this responsibility. With respect to the "studio situation," Clive Davis suggested that Johnny tour the label's studios, and if he could not find one that was acceptable, Davis said Johnny was free to record in Texas, Florida, or any one of the thirty states where it was permissible to record freely.

If Tennessee was one of these "free" states, then that could explain why Johnny went to Nashville to produce and record his first release, Johnny Winter (1969), and why he returned there to do the same for Second Winter (1969). (A coda to the story is that CBS/Columbia and the union agreed to relax the rule creating the "studio situation" in 1972, prior to recording "Still Alive And Well" (1973)) When Clive Davis chose to include this in his autobiography, I initially assumed that this was, in fact, the reason why Johnny Winter went to Nashville.

Explanation Two - The Dylan Connection

CBS/Columbia, however, was one of the largest record companies extant in 1969. Nashville was the "capital" of country music in the south. The label had significant operations and used several facilities in the town because of this.

Bob Dylan was the premier contemporary artist on CBS/Columbia. On his double album, Blonde on Blonde, the credits reflect that recording was done in "CBS Studios, Nashville." Dylan also recorded his next two albums (John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline) at studios in Nashville, which may also have been known as Columbia Music Row Studios. Importantly, the bulk of these recordings were recorded and released before Johnny Winter signed to the label.

The sound of Dylan's work surprised many. One author said most fans never knew musicians in Nashville could sound so "stoned and bluesy."

It is possible that the studios used by Dylan were only leased by CBS/Columbia, or that they otherwise circumvented the "studio situation" referred above. If so, Explanation One remains possible. This is impossible to verify without additional research, but silence on the part of Davis, Johnny, Steve Paul, and others is understandable even if this is true. Musicians are in a union, too, and even
those that felt no compunction against circumventing CBS/Columbia's "studio situation" probably didn't want the publicity associated with recording in a non-label studio for this reason.

Given the size of the label and Nashville's importance in the music industry, however, it is more likely that "CBS Studios" were owned by the label. Thus, the question remains as to why Johnny chose to record there.

Several possibilities exist, but the most likely is that Johnny used the facility because he wanted the sound Dylan was getting. This is confirmed by looking at CBS/Columbia's roster of the period. Of the acts listed above, Dylan, Janis Joplin (and Big Brother and the Holding Company), and Electric Flag were doing music closest to Johnny's brand of blues and rock. Janis, of course, recorded a live
album for the label (Cheap Thrills), which offered no help from a studio perspective, and that just left Dylan and Electric Flag.

Bob Dylan, by contrast, clearly had Johnny's ear, particularly with his Highway 61 Revisited album. Johnny would end up recording three Dylan tracks during his career - one of which appeared on Second Winter. It seems likely that Johnny decided to record in Nashville in an attempt to follow in the path being blazed by Bob Dylan, the leading artist on Johnny's label.


Johnny Winter is now pretty much the blues purist, but there was a time where he flirted with rock 'n roll and didn't do too badly at it, either. This is a white-hot stone killer of an album, with Winter and his band (including brother Edgar) roaring through 11 songs with style. My favorite is the last one, "Fast Life Rider," about 8-or-so minutes of guitar rave-ups that never falter. Winter also does all right by Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," Little Richard and even "Johnny B. Goode," which you never thought you'd want to hear again until you hear this incredible version. This is a Winter's gale blowing full-blast!


Anyone who knows music,knows that there's a point where, although you do your best to describe it,the music says lots more than your words ever will.You can compare the artist, the style, or whatever you want to others, but the music speaks for itself.This album is one of those cases...Although I've enjoyed this piece for nearly 30 years, it is still as enjoyable as when first released.The writing, the execution, the quality of the recording.....if you like this style of music, it's hard to do better.Just buy it.


"Second Winter (CBS S-66231, DM 25,--) von Johnny Winter and seiner Band ist ein sehr spontanes Album, das ohne technische Tricks entstand, and vielleicht das bislang sch6nste Album von ihm ist. Nur drei Seiten dieses Doppelalbums sind bespielt, die Erklarung dafur liefert Winter auf dem Hullentext. Jedenfalls stort dieser Umstand kaum, da es eine sehr hinreissende Musik ist, die auf den 3 Seiten geboten wird. Und obendrein ist die Musik, wer hatte das fUr mdglich gehalten, ausserst abwechslungsreich, der Bogen wird vom einfachen Blues Uber Chuck Berry bis hin zum schweren, modernen Blues gespannt. and bringt neben ansprechenden Songs sehr frische and lebendige Musik, der zwar Vorbilder aus der angelsachsischen Popmusik anzumerken sind, die aber nie den Eindruck des Kopierens aufkommen lassen.


3 December 1969 Oakland Tribune

In the column "Guest Album" , Dan Farte reviews the recently released "Second Winter". The transcript of the review follows

Today's column, a review of Johnny Winter's latest album, is by Dan Forte of Hayward. Readers are to submit reviews of their favorite pop albums or interviews with entertainers to the column each week. Those whose columns are published will each receive a copy of a recently released stereo pop album. Address all correspondence to: Guest Albuia, Teen Age, Oak-land Tribune, P.O. Box 509, Oakland, 94641.

"Second Winter" by Johnny Winter is literally an album and a half. As Winter explains in the liner notes, the group recorded an excess of material, planning to leave off anything that didn't satisfy them. In the end, all 11 songs were included, but put on three sides, because squeezing them all onto one record would have lost volume. As Winter stales, "We couldn't honestly give you more, and we didn't want to give you less, so here is exactly what we did in Nashville — no more and no less." "We" is Winter's group, which has now apparently added a new member. Johnny's older brother, Edgar, who was used to augment a few cuts on the first Columbia album, plays alto sax and keyboards.

The other members are Uncle John Turner en drums and Tommy Shannon on bass — both great instrumentalists. Winter plays lead mandolin and handles all vocals. All members are from Texas. "Memory Pain." minus Edgar, is an old blues which Winter has speeded up. This cut immediately displays the togetherness of the group. "I'm Not Sure," with Edgar on harpsichord, seems confusing at the start. but after a short "hoochie koochie" type of break, the group goes back to the original tempo, and gels going a lot better. "The Good Love" has its composer, Dennis Collins, on bass. This cut features Johnny using a wah-wah pedal, and shows influence of Jimi Hendrix.

Side two shows another side of Winter, with three old rock and roll tunes. "Slippinl and Slidin' " and "Miss Ann" both written by Little Ri-hard, don't come across very well. The group is more than competent in this field, but Johnny's singing is an attempt to copy Little Richard. It would have been better if the group had done it in Winter's style, like the next track, "Johnny B. Goode," On this cut the group doesn 't try to said like Chuck Berry, as the Rolling Stones and other groups have done. This is easily one of the best cuts on this album. Another great one is Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited."

This is a hard - driving blues with some of the best slide-guitar ever, It far impasses the original. Side three opens with "I Love Everybody," a Johnny Winter original. as are all songs on this side which features "I'm Not Sure." This is a fine blues, slightly reminiscent of Muddy Waters' "Two Trains Runnin'." Similarly, "Hustled Down in Texas" is close to "Got My Mojo Working," also written by Muddy Waters. Johnny again uses a wah-wah pedal, plus some fuzz effects. "I Hate Everybody" shows the group's talent in still another field — jazz. It features great guitar work by Johnny, and a few saxes and an organ played by Edgar. It continues into a drum introduction for "Fast Life Rider," which is minus Edgar.

Shannon plays some great, fast bass, and Red Twiner pounds out powerful driving drums. Stereo speaker switching makes it appear as though two guitarists are trading riffs. The song lasts more than seven minutes, and Johnny, aided only by drums throughout much of the song, shows why Mike Bloomfield once called him the greatest white blues guitarist, Personally, I doubt if any blues guitarist — white or black — could carry his pick, if possible, Winter has out-done his first Columbia al-, and also "The Progressive Blues Experiment" on Imperial. It's too bad there isn't a fourth side, but these three sides are plenty. Besides, another side would raise the price.

3 December 1969, Warrendale PA

"Second Winter" - Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter's first LP was a big hype, a put-on, and so is his second one. But this time it's for a different reason This is the first three-sided LP to be released in R n' R history Details are in the album liner notes. The music is quite good, sometimes on the verge of greatness It features two outstanding Winters originals "Hustled In Texas" and "Fast Life Rider " He also gets down to Little Richard's "Slippin & Shdm." Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and Dylan's "Highway 61 " This time Winters lets loose with his guitar and it feels real good


6 December 1969 Pasadena Star News

"We couldn't honestly give you more, and we didn't want to give you less, so here is exactly what we did in Nashville." So comments Johnny Winter on his unusual three-side offering, "Second Winter" on Columbia. Both Winter's voice and guitar groan, grunt, shriek and roar through an electrifying serving of blues tunes, many written by Winter himself. if there was any doubt, "Second Winter" brilliantly demonstrates that Winter is in a class by himself among blues guitarists. If you like it fast wild and heavy, this is your album.

11 January 1970 The Abilene Reporter News

SOUNDS Reporter-News Record Review

SECOND WINTER. Johnny Winter. Columbia.

There's nobody around who can beat Johnny Winter when it comes to getting rock and blues type offerings out of his guitar. Put his finger work with his Little Richard-type vocals and a trio of musicians and you get some real interesting musical renditions which I can guarantee won't lull you to sleep. THE ONLY THING which keeps Second Winter from being at the top of the heap right now is that the album suffers from what used to be called the sports reporter-amusements reporter syndrome back in the old days of journalism: the musicians didn't know when to quit. Winter says on the jacket: "The original plan was to cut a much material as possible and pick the best of what was cut to make up a regular one-recorc album."

But cutting material woulc have hurt one goal, making it as loud as is technically ossible." Besides, they liked all the material: "We also really liked everything we'd done and didn't want to leave any of the songs out. We couldn't honestly give you more, and we didn'l want to give you less, so here is exactly what we did in Nashville —no more and no less. THE RESULT Is a record album which is much better than average. Winter really stands out on such songs as "Slippin' and Slidin'," "Miss Ann," "Johnny B. Goode," and 'Highway 61 Revisited." He's at his best on the guitar in "I Hate Everybody," where he clear, quick stepping notes bring to mind George Barnes Jazz guitar style.

Organ background by Edgar Winter sure helps the song, too. The good stuff is dulled by a few other songs, such as the X rated lyrics of "I Love verybody." At times the side vith "Memory Pain," "I'm Na Sure," and "The Good Love' sounds more like a shouting match than a musical feast, too A little cutting, and the album would have been tops in its field — BOB ARMISTEAD

Sunday 7 February 1970 The Sunday Times, Fitchburg

Youth Beat, The National Report on What's Happening

WINTER WISHES — Wish we could hand out Johnny Winter's supersmash LP, Second Winter, to everyone who wrote in with a good reason for wanting it, but what with almost 800 'requests, it can't be done. We'll pass along one more, though, to Alice Johnson, of Antioch, 111., who told us she wanted the record so she could give it to her kids "so they'll see that mom isn't so square after all." Knew it all along, but if the kids need convincing, we'll supply some.

17 February 1970 The Prospector El Paso

Record review by Gros Ed

Johnny Winter — "Second Winter" (Columbia KCS9947)

Some clutz on the "Prospector" staff lost one record of this two record set before I could get it so I'll tell you what I can from half the album. In a stroke of cheapness, this 2-record set has only 3 sides (I got the record with one side). Winter is obviously a great talent on his guitar (although his singing is zilch) and he rocks his way the entire album, thrashing each song with fantastic riffs and deafening volume. He uses his wah-wah to an excess, but since he has no sloppy playing to hide, I can't understand why. About 45 minutes worth of hard-driving, rocking, loud


Second Winter Legacy Release

Reviews of the re-release of Second Winter

The remastered edition of Johnny Winter's classic second "triple-sided" album, Second Winter is a gem in and of itself. Forget the deluxe packaging, extensive liner notes and inclusion of the previously "lost" live concert, Live At Royal Albert Hall as a bonus CD.

This is a must-have album for every blues fan. Classics like "I'm Not So Sure," "Highway 61 Revisited," and the definitive version of the oft-covered "Johnny B Goode" are staples of a bluesman whose career has touched and/or influenced many of the greats. From the traditional blues of "I Love Everybody" to the experimental "Fast Life Rider," and touching on newer sounds like an electric mandolin and textured keyboards in the progressive "I'm Not So Sure," as well as including two bonus tracks, "Early In The Morning" and an instrumental version of Ray Charles' "Tell The Truth" which smokes, there is absolutely nothing here to disappoint.

While the remastered version isn't quite as unique as the original (and only) three-sided LP version, the sound quality improvements of the music more than make up for it. Purists will, of course, not be as impressed by the sound improvements of the remastering but the sound has definitely benefitted from the remaster and is extremely clean-sounding.

Also included here is an April, 1970 show from Royal Albert Hall in London, capturing the group at the height of their 1970 tour. Improvising their way through the slow, melodic B.B. King classic "It's My Own Fault, Baby" to the smokin' "Tobacco Road" and hitting the Rock 'n Roll national anthem, "Johnny B Goode," the show highlights the talent of a great live band, particularly the live improve skill of one of the most polished guitarists of our time.

The Legacy edition remaster of this classic album, along with the bonus tracks and the live show make this a must-have package for any fan of the blues.


Second Winter Expanded Edition

Johnny Winter's 1969 follow-up album to his self-titled smash debut for Columbia made history as the only three-sided LP ever put out. He wanted to release everything he recorded during his Nashville sessions, but was told that he'd lose volume if it was confined to a single disc.

Besides its historic value, it's vintage Winter, with blistering guitar solos on "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Johnny B. Goode" and some of the best material the Great White Wonder has ever written. It's also his last album made with the great rhythm section he used in his early days in Texas.

What's new about the reissue? First, it's digitally remastered, for better -- and worse. There are two new studio tracks. And disc two this time consists entirely of a "lost" concert at the Royal Albert Hall from 1970, with Winter at his finest


Second Winter Legacy Edition

Second Winter is a hotbed of blues-rock. With the first set of guitar rifts blasting, "Memory Pain" past the grille of your speakers, somehow you just know that this blues-rock guitarist that hails from Mississippi and who has a made-for-blues voice would be otherworldly. And so he has become, a saint amongst the illuminati of blues-rock aficionados. With solid schooling, Johnny Winter was 70s blues-rock, the like that many owe their styles to.

Johnny Winter's second Columbia album was a strange one in that the 2-album set featured 3 sides of music with the 4th side blank. But contained on those 3-sides was music so intense, you were forced to take notice. Winter was a shaft of glory sprung from the halo of the Blues and any song from Second Winter validates that.

This Legacy issue of Second Winter dynamically improves on the album's original release by including not only the original material but also 2 unreleased bonus tracks including an instrumental "Tell the Truth", a Ray Charles song. To sweeten the pot, Legacy has also included a second disc that exclusively features a 1970 Royal Albert Hall show. This 2nd disc represents the first time that this show has been released to the public.

The concert, a smoker of a show, comes from a set done at Royal Albert Hall in 1970. Winter is no stranger to live shows, which is how he is ultimately set free, like a captive animal who finally gets the roam of the jungle. Within the expanse of this show is a rousing live version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode", a song that is also found on the studio part of this album. However, there are 2 extraordinary performances of "Tobacco Road" and of "Frankenstein." "Frankenstein" is a song that achieved high charting status as a funky instrumental piece for Edgar Winter later in the 70s. It's done here in an embryonic, but very entertaining, very different way. I find it to be ultimately more rewarding than Edgar Winter's studio version. It's raw, structured, but oh so good, clocking in at around 9-minutes. "Tobacco Road" occupies much more of the bits found on this CD, an 11-minute intensity that makes the listener long for the days of blues-funk played in a live setting such as is found here.

Rounding out the 2nd disc are tracks like the 12-minute extended work of "It's My Own Fault", the Sonny Boy Williamson song, "Help Me", and the 11-minute blast of Johnny Winter's own "Mean Town Blues." There are 9 blistering songs here, all played to the fullest extent allowed by Fire Marshalls lest the Hall be burned down and become history. The band consisted of Johnny's brother, Edgar Winter, whose White Trash ensemble turned out great material but who narrowed his output to plant his later band, The Edgar Winter Group, into the lofty singles arena; and the impeccable rhythm section of Tommy Shannon on bass and "Uncle" John Turner on drums to complement the inimitable Johnny Winter. This lineup, my friends, may be the most intensive and incendiary of any live blues-funk-rock band to date.

Working backward from the bonus of the live addition CD to the original album, Legacy has unearthed and included 2 unreleased cuts, "Early in the Morning" and an instrumental "Tell the Truth" that is also found in the live set of disc 2 albeit in vocal rendition. Both of these tracks were recorded in 1969 but not included on Second Winter until now. They both fit quite well as a result. In the studio, Johnny has an uncanny talent of capturing the heart of a song recorded thereby creating an element of the live performance. With the slide added, Johnny knew few equal. He could make the guitar and the slide implement become one as if they were originally created one for the other, the Adam and Eve of sound.

The sound on this Legacy issue is a noticeable improvement over the earlier release of the same title on CD. This is true of most, if not all, of earlier re-issued albums' first appearance on CDs. The sound and packaging were deplorable in many instances. Legacy's approach is an admirable one as they not only remaster the music but also augment and bolster the original album with bonus cuts from the same sessions and live performances. With improved packaging, Legacy reissues become definitive in that they offer a complete overview of the period that the album was created in. Completists and purists should be very pleased. The packaging is a tri-fold digipak that houses the two discs as well as a 24-page booklet with plenty of new notes and comments by the band of the time. This is slip-cased by a clear plastic Legacy dust cover.

With a searing blend of covers and originals, Second Winter becomes essential to any fan's blues-rock library. Johnny Winter's second Columbia album brought with it the promise of a champion. That promise eventually was realized on subsequent Winter releases like Nothin' But the Blues; White, Hot, and Blue; Johnny Winter And; Still Alive and Well; John Dawson Winter III; and Saints and Sinners found on Blue Sky and eventual Alligator releases. I find the re-release of this set momentous and highly satisfying and can recommend it emphatically.


"Rounding out the 2nd disc are tracks like the 12-minute extended work of "It's My Own Fault", the Sonny Boy Williamson song, "Help Me", and the 11-minute blast of Johnny Winter's own "Mean Town Blues." There are 9 blistering songs here, all played to the fullest extent allowed by Fire Marshalls lest the Hall be burned down and become history. The band consisted of Johnny's brother, Edgar Winter, whose White Trash ensemble turned out great material but who narrowed his output to plant his later band, The Edgar Winter Group, into the lofty singles arena; and the impeccable rhythm section of Tommy Shannon on bass and "Uncle" John Turner on drums to complement the inimitable Johnny Winter. This lineup, my friends, may be the most intensive and incendiary of any live blues-funk-rock band to date."

"The concert, a smoker of a show, comes from a set done at Royal Albert Hall in 1970. Winter is no stranger to live shows, which is how he is ultimately set free, like a captive animal who finally gets the roam of the jungle. Within the expanse of this show is a rousing live version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode", a song that is also found on the studio part of this album. However, there are 2 extraordinary performances of "Tobacco Road" and of "Frankenstein." "Frankenstein" is a song that achieved high charting status as a funky instrumental piece for Edgar Winter later in the 70s. It's done here in an embryonic, but very entertaining, very different way. I find it to be ultimately more rewarding than Edgar Winter's studio version. It's raw, structured, but oh so good, clocking in at around 9-minutes. "Tobacco Road" occupies much more of the bits found on this CD, an 11-minute intensity that makes the listener long for the days of blues-funk played in a live setting such as is found here.

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Last Modified: 03-May-2016 15:23