Johnny Winter's Hey where's your brother
Produced by Johnny Winter and Dick Shurman
HiFi VISION Jan 1993:
All Music Guide , Volume: 1 , # 1
Hey Where's your Brother? is the title of the new Johnny Winter album, coming from the Pointblank label. It is the follow-up album to Johnny's Grammy-nominated and critically-acclaimed Pointblank debut, Let Me In.
On this collection of 14 killer tracks, Johnny is supported by regular band members Jeff Ganz (bass) and Tom Compton (drums and percussion), with guest appearances by harmonica player Billy Branch, and younger brother Edgar Winter on vocals, sax and organ on three songs: "You Keep Leavin'," "Sick And Tired," and a special holiday number, "Please Come Home For Christmas." (Indeed, the album title refers to a question frequently yelled at the stage during Johnny's live performances from fans hoping for a surprise visit from Edgar!) As with Let Me In, the album was produced by Dick Shurman and Johnny Winter and recorded in Chicago.
The album's lead-off track, "Johnny Guitar," with its rootsy feel, blistering guitar and emotionally-charged vocals, not only sets the tone for all the music to follow - it will be the first track released to album radio. Other key tracks include "You Must Have A Twin," "Blues This Bad," and "Treat Me Like You Wanna." A major US and Canadian tour is currently in progress.
Born in Beaumont, Texas on February 23, 1944, John Dawson Winter III grew up surrounded by the blues, country and cajun music. His brother Edgar was born three years later and the two showed an inclination toward music at an early age. As Johnny told Down Beat magazine, "We sang regularly, because Daddy loved to sing harmony. He sang in a barbershop quartet and in a church choir, so Edgar and I started singing as soon as we were born, almost." Johnny began playing clarinet at age five and switched to ukulele a few years later. Johnny and Edgar began performing as a duet in an Everly Brothers vein, winning talent contests and appearing on local television shows. When Johnny was 11, the Winter Brothers traveled to New York to audition for Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour." Soon after their first exposure to rock 'n roll came through the music of Little Richard, Fats Domino, Carl Perkins and early Elvis Presley. They also began soaking up the sound of rhythm and blues from DJ Clarence Garlow's "Bon Ton Show" on KJET radio in Beaumont. At age 14, Johnny organized his first band, Johnny & The Jammers, with brother Edgar on piano. A year later, they cut two songs at Bill Hall's Gulf Coast Recording Studios in Beaumont. The single "School Day Blues" b/w "You Know I Love You" came out a month later on Houston-based Dart Records, gaining The Winter Brothers some local notoriety.
Around this time, Johnny began sitting in with DJ Clarence Garlow, who also performed around town and had a regional hit with "Bon Ton Roule." Johnny also frequented the Beaumont's all-black Raven Club, where the aspiring blues guitarist got to see such heroes as Muddy Waters , B.B. King and Bobby Bland for the first time.
Liner Notes by Johnny Winter: I REALLY LIKE THIS RECORD. Its got a lot of different kinds of blues on it, more variety First, there's Casey, Johnny and Ken. To me, these guys are the cream of the crop as far as blues today They can play everything. They're always challenging, too. They're right in the pocket, and make me want to play better, Then, there's Dr John. Mac is someone I've known since the early 60's, and I've wanted to record with him for quite a while. He's got that New Orleans flavor that nobody else can do. He knows a lot of great old songs that I don't know which is excellent, because he comes up with songs that 1 have a good time playing! Our musical roots are so similar that we mesh real well ... I hope we can work together more in the future. A lot of my fans and friends have been asking me when I was gonna do some more acoustic stuff I think we got a couple of very race ones on this album. Actually, I was never interested in playing acoustic guitar until l discovered those metal Nationals back in '68 I fell in love with that nasty sound .. it reminds me of a garbage can with wire on it. It's got all that metal ring to it, a real bluesy sound. On this album, I used two different Nationals, an old one for all the slide stuff and a newer one for the fretting. I had to practice for about a month before we made the record because they're much harder to play than an electric guitar, and I don't playa acoustic on the road. It's a challenge to play, but it's worth it, because before there was electricity, guitars like this were all blues musicians had. And if you can't do it-if you have to have an electric guitar to play the blues-it's not a good feeling I had to be able to master that guitar I had dreamed about playing with Tommy and Red again ever since we broke up back in 1970, because I don't think any of us really ever wanted that band to break up. I don't feel like I could have made it without them in the first place. They were the first musicians ever to come to me and say, "We love what you do. We don't care if we make any money, we're willing to do straight blues, whether we make it or not" It was the first time I ever had a straight blues band-up to that point I had to play soul music, 7bp 40, Beatles music, a little bit of everything. I said they were crazy-we'd starve to death for sure playing nothing but blues. In about six months we did starve. Red's mother had a beauty shop, and we practiced at the beauty shop after hours late at night. Red stayed in the extra room, and Tommy slept on the couch. And those guys, if they hadn't done that, nobody would ever have heard of me or known that 1 was a blues guitar player. It was such a good feeling when we finally did make it playing straight blues. There was a feeling we had when we played together, because we cared so much about each other, and the music. It felt great to work with those guys, and it still does. To get together in the studio again after 15 or 16 years ... and I feel like we played better on this record than we did back in Texas!! It was really a dream come true to be able to work together again and show everybody we still got it. It just makes a lot of difference when you love the guys you're playing with-it's just bound to come out in the music.