The Johnny Winter Story

Johnny Winter timeline in 1977

Johnny Winter Timeline 1977 

After playing "Rock and Roll" for several years, in 1977 Johnny Winter returns to his musical roots: playing the real blues. His stage shows become calmer; he ceased to jump around from one side of the stage to the other; while playing rough guitar riffs. Now he remains seated, close to the mike. For recordings he uses the notorious all metallic self-made John Velano guitar with the thin silver neck.

 This page covers Johnny Winter in 1977, use the links below to quickly jump to the year: 1970 , 1971 , 1972 , 1973 , 1974 , 1975 , 1976 , 1977 , 1978 , 1979 .

 

Johnny Winter produces the grammy award winning album "Hard again" with Muddy Waters which launches the comeback of Muddy

Muddy Waters : during an interview on Johnny:

Tim: Talking about collaborations, I was curious how you got together with Johnny Winter.

Muddy: I met Johnny in Austin, Texas. He opened the show for me back in '60, I think.

Tim: And how did his producing your Blue Sky album come to be?

Muddy: He was on it. He was with CBS, and CBS distributed Blue Sky, and the guy that owned Blue Sky was Johnny's personal man all the way through, Steve Paul. So we was looking for a record contract, and when my manager went to CBS, they said, "Well, we got a good place to put him." And they put me on Blue Sky with Johnny. 'Cause see, Johnny, he loves me, because he learned a lot of things under my music. He likes me personally as a friend. So when he heard that we wanted him to produce the record and all -- Man, that was just what he wanted. It's like a little family thing we got. So we did good over there. This is the fourth one out, and we done won three Grammy awards. Every one we put out, we win. This might be the one this time, who knows.

Tim: That's kind of a strange partnership. He's a relative newcomer to the blues compared to you.

Muddy: Yeah, definitely. He's a young boy, compared to me. But he learned under my records, and people like me. But he mostly studied my records when he was a kid coming up. And a lot of more of 'em did too.

Tim: And he's helped to bring the blues to a bigger population, wouldn't you say?

Muddy: Sure. Definitely.

Muddy about Johnny : 'Cause see, Johnny, he loves me, because he learned a lot of things under my music. He likes me personally as a friend. So when he heard that we wanted him to produce the record and all -- Man, that was just what he wanted. It's like a little family thing we got. So we did good over there. This is the fourth one out, and we done won three Grammy awards. Every one we put out, we win. This might be the one this time, who knows.

Rolling Stone Magazine, 1977

"Rock Fantasies: Sex & Violence" (Johnny, amongst others, gives his thoughts on the subject)

 

Hit Parader, Feb 1977

Article: Johnny & Edgar, Winters' Summer Reunion

Friday 25 February 1977 , Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

26 February 1977 , Boston, Music Hall

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

    Setlist included:
  1. Hideaway
  2. Sweet Home Chicago
  3. Talk to your daughter

 

 

Friday, 4 March 1977: An Evening of the Blues at Palladium, N.Y.C

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

Recordings of this concert have been released on the album "Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down"

Robert Palmer (New York Times) reviews

Fine Blues From Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters has been an imposing figure in the blues, probably the music's most imposing figure. since Alan Lomax recorded him for the Library of Congress in 1942. His Chess records of the 50's Are so powerful and intense that tew other bluesmen have come close to matching them. But lately Mr. Waters has been. ill, and at his apparance during the Newport Jazz Festival last summer he was a shadow of his former self.

Late last year, the rock guitarist, Johnny Winter produced a new Muddy Waters Album, "Hard Again." He put Mr. Waters together with James Cotton, a harmonica player who left Mississippi for Chicago several years after Mr. Waters. and fleshed out the group with Mr. Cotton's regular bassist and drummer and Mr. Water's pianist and rhythm guitarist. The album was excellent. excet when Mr. winter played recentelessly busy guitar solos and screamed in the background. One wondered how this mixture Of talents would work on stage

At the Palladium on Friday Evening. it worked very well indeed. The group performed without Mr Muddy Waters during the first half, and although Mr. Winter still played too many notes and tended to hog the spotlight, his vocals were gritty and direct and much of his restrained and guitar _ work was appropriate.

Mr. Cotton's dramatic harmonica style. which combines the percussive high-register effects that were popular in the Delta during the early 50's with the more legato Chicago style as» sociated with Little Walter, lent the numbers on which he was featured soloist a raw edge of excitement. Pine-top Perkins vocal on Robert Nighthawk's "Anna Lee Blues" and his chopping, incisive piano solos were highlights of the evening.

Mr. Waters's hour on stage seemed more like 15 minutes. He prowled restlessly, roaring out the assertive lyrics of Mannish Boy. and turned in a two-chorus slide guitar solo that brought down the house. Wr. winter may not be the world's suhtlest blues guitarist, but his energy and the aggressive playing of the band pushed Mr. Waters into one of the finest blues performances this reviewer has seen in years
.
ROBERT PALMER

Saturday, 5 March 1977, Johny Winter at Springfield Civic Center

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

Muddy Waters, Guitar & Vocals (On Last Few Tracks Only)

Johnny Winter, Guitar
James Cotton, Harmonica
Bob Margolin, Guitar
Pinetop Perkins, Piano
Charles Calmese, Bass
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Drums

 

Saturday, 5 March 1977, Johny Winter at Springfield Civic Center

 

Setlist

  1. Intro / Tuning
  2. Hideaway (with band intros)
  3. Choo Choo (James Cotton)
  4. Instrumental (Pinetop Perkins)
  5. Sweet Home Chicago
  6. Crosscut Saw
  7. Last Night
  8. Rocket 88 (James Cotton)
  9. How Blue Can You Get
  10. How Long
  11. Dust My Broom
  12. Every Married Woman
  13. Chicken Shack> Muddy intro, Hoochie Coochie Man
  14. Can't Get No Grindin'
  15. The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock & Roll

Sunday, 6 March 1977 (or Friday, 3 June 1977), Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA

Johnny Winter together with Muddy Waters and his band. Available on the bootleg CD, Songs performed include:

  • Hideaway
  • Cotton jam
  • Last night
  • See see baby
  • Rocket 88
  • How long?
  • Slow blues
  • I dont got over it
  • Cross cut saw
  • Talk to your daughter
  • Muddy intro
  • Hoochie coochie man
  • Blow wind blow
  • Walkin thru the park
  • Deep down in Florida
  • Blues had a baby
  • I can't be satisfied
  • Trouble no more
  • Howlin wolf
  • Manish boy
  • Got my mojo workin
  • Oh baby

Recordings of this concert have been released on the album "Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down"

11 March 1977, Palace Theatre, Albany, NY

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

12 March 1977, Shea's Theatre, Buffalo, NY

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

18 March 1977, Masonic Auditorium, Detroit, MI

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton. Recordings of this concert have been released on the album "Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down"

19 March 1977, EMU Bowen Fieldhouse, Ypsilanti, MI

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

21 March 1977, Welsh Auditorium, Grand Rapids, MI

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

Rolling Stone, Friday, 25 March 1977, Issue 235

Review: Hard Again (Muddy Waters ), Johnny mentioned

 

Phonograph Record Magazine, April 1977

Article: Muddy Waters at 62, picture of Johnny Winter Page 39/41

6 May 1977, Sioux City Municipal Auditorium, Sioux City, IA

Johnny Winter , Edgar Winter, Charlies Daniels, Red Willow

15 May 1977, Dothan Civic Center, Dothan, AL

Johnny Winter , Edgar Winter, Lynyrd Skynyrd

21 May 1977, Knoxville Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, TN

Johnny Winter

 

 

 

Guitar Player, Jun 1977

Guitar Player Magazine: Pat Martino, Johnny Winter, Paul Kantner, and Paco De Lucia

Johnny Winter Guitar Player Magazine 1977

 

Sunday 17 June 1977 - Uncle Sam's, Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga, New York

Mighty Taco and WBUF present Johnny Winter with Special Guest

2 July 1977 - San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, CA

7 July 1977 - Paramount Theatre, Portland, OR

 

.

Friday, 8 July 1977 - Paramount Northwest Theatre, Seattle, WA

Notes: The scanned ticket stub says "Paramount Northwest". The "Northwest" should be ignored as this (to include "Northwest" in the venue title) was a ridiculous decision by some person in 1970 or early 1971. The inclusion of "Northwest" was unpopular and nobody called these theatres "Paramount Northwest". Since it was so unpopular and the inclusion of the title inconsistent, the moniker was dropped or faded out completely by around 1980. In Portland, the title faded away much more quickly.

 

Johnny Winter 1977 Paramount Seatle

12 July 1977 - Community Center Music Hall , Tucson, AZ

Johnny Winter, Isaiah

14 July 1977 - Liberty Hall , El Paso, TX

Johnny Winter, Nils Lofgren

15 July 1977 - Austin Municipal Auditorium, Austin, TX

Johnny Winter, Nils Lofgren

Saturday 16 July 1977 Texas Hall

Johnny Winter, Nils Lofgren

Winter Not Content with Blues Aone a review by Joe Abell

ARLINGTON - The last time I saw Johnny Winter was about two and a half years ago. He's been on tour since then. of course. but after catching his show last Saturday at Texas Hall. I sure couldn't tell it.

so few things have changed in that time: perhaps song titles and band members. To a true bluesman like Winter. that shouldn't make much difference: good blues are timeless.

But - then. as now - he doesn't seem satisfied with simply playing good blues. For some reason. he's had to add some funk. some rock and some flash. Those also haven't changed in two and a half years.. making the entire performance somewhat static.

why mix those styles? To please his audiences. no doubt. The one at Texas Hall seemed to patiently endure the technical artistry of his slower blues numbers. jumping up enthusiastically only when the band ventured into rock and roll. a compromise at best tor Winter's abilities.

The biggest part of that compromise was his second guitarist. Obviously reared in a rock background. his playing was much harsher and less subtle than Winter's fluid lines.

NOTHING WRONG WITH that: a contrast of styles can create a good onstage tension for a band to really conk. Unfortunately. that second guitarist was more interested in keeping up with Winter than creating tensions. and to make matters worse. an odd mix half-way through the show made his guitar dominate the sound until the end.

Winter's own playing was virtually flawless. lie has a dexterity and feel for a blues sound that's amaz- ing at times. especially during a slow. crying straight" blues number. Even the higher energy and (supposedly) simpler rock and roll tunes couldn't hide his complex. sensitive lines.

Too much of a good thing. though. can get boring. as many of Winter's songs did by the end of the show. Nearly every one eventually turned into little more than a time for a solo break. and while technically lascinating. many got tiresome.

Opening act Nils Lofgren was a fine complement to Winter's show. but a good package is something Winter's never lacked: in 1975. one of his supporting acts was a little-known guitarist named Frampton.

Lofgren has the same basic approach as Frampton. only a fuller sound. There's certainly nothing vital to his lightweight. goodtime rock. but it's an excellent example of a well-rounded. polished performance the kind usually associated with headline acts. And if nothing else. Lofgren is certainly one of the performers in rock with
a small trampoline onstage for backflips.

 

18 July 1977 - Performing Arts Center, Tulsa, OK

Johnny Winter, Nils Lofgren

Tuesday 19 July 1977: Johnny Winter at Sam Houston Colliseum

Johnny Winter, Nils Lofgren

19 July 1977: Johnny Winter at Sam Houston Colliseum

 

 

Saturday, 23 July 1977: Nothing But The Blues

The album "Nothing But The Blues", which marks Johnny Winter's return to his musical roots: THE BLUES, scores #146 on the USA Billboard Charts

 

Johnny Winter in August 1977

 

1 August 1977: Baltimore Civic Center: Johnny Winter, Climax Blues Band, UFO

4 August 1977: Springfield Civic Center , Springfield, MA

5 August 1977: Palace Theatre, Albany, NY

Saturday 6 August 1977 Palladium

Johnny Winter, UFO, .38 Special

Johnny Winter with special guest 33

This concert as reviewed by Robert Palmer

 

Winter Mellowing His Blues

Johnny Winter, who performed at the Palladium a few months ago with an all-star blues group built around Muddy Waters, was back Saturday night with his own band. The changes his music has undergone since he began touring. nationally in the late 1960': were evident, and large salutary. But in one respect. at cast, his music had come full circle, from hard blues through hard rock and back to the blues.

Although he was often asubtle and convincing blues man on the early recordings he made in his native Texas, Mr. Winter's first real success was as a master of blues overkill. With his trio jacked up to hitherto unprecedented volume levels, Mr. Winter always played fast, meaningless fistfulls of notes where one would do.

Mr. Winter still concludes most of his numbers with frenetic instrumental raving, but his playing has gained much in depth and ex- gressivity and something, at least.

His choice of repertory on the current tour is significant. for his improvisations are not flashy Delta pieces as of old but blues couplets as venerable as the original recordings of Tommy Johnson and John Estes and blues standards from the 50's.

A lengthy performance of Memphis Slim's "Mother Earth" was a highlight Saturday. Mr. Winter sang it with real feeling and.used his bottleneck to deliver a delicate. well-paced solo With a brooding sense of drama and affecting. voioeiike inflections. Eventually, of course, the song built to a thrashing conclusion. But Mr. Winter had demonstrated that he really can be the subtle, idiomatic blues musician his supporters have always thought him to be. Taste and restraint seem to be coming as he grows older. and while one might wish for accelerated progress in these respects. it seems inevitable that in a few years, at least, Mr. Winter will be worth hearing as a blues man, and not as a frenetic rock guitarist who uses the blues as a point for selling indulgent jamming.

 

 

Sunday, 7 August 1977: Calderone Theatre in Hempstead New York

(on Long Island).

This concert is available on the bootleg: "Walkin by myself"

    Setlist:
  1. E.Z. Rider
  2. Walking By Myself
  3. Mother Earth
  4. Boney Maroney
  5. Busted In Austin
  6. Messing With The Kid
  7. I Can't Make It By Myself
  8. Johnny B. Goode
  9. It's All Over Now
  10. Jumping Jack Flash

12 August 1977: Bayfront Center, St. Petersburg, FL

13 August 1977: Hollywood Sportatorium Hollywood, FL

16 August 1977: Fox Theatre , Atlanta, GA

 

23 August 1977: Tomorrow Club , Youngstown, OH

Johnny Winter, .38 Special

25 August 1977: Hara Arena, Dayton, OH

Rolling Stone, Thursday, 25 August 1977, Issue 246

Review: Nothin' But the Blues

27 August 1977: Masonic Auditorium , Detroit, MI

Guitar Player 1977, Japanese Edition

Guitar Player 1977, Japanese Edition

 

Johnny Winter in September 1977

 

3 September 1977 : Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA

 

4 September 1977 Boardwalk at Convention Hall, Ashbury Park, New Jersey: Johnny WInter

Wednesday, 7 September 1977 - Johnny Winter at Cape Cod Coliseum

Wednesday, 7 September 1977 - Johnny Winter at Cape Cod Coliseum

 

Circus Magazine, Thursday, 15 September 1977

Cover: Fonsy Article: Johnny Winter Brings back the Basics

30 September 1977 : The Palladium, New York, NY

Foghat Tribute to the Blues / and Sound Archive- The Foghat Tribute to the Blues was held Sep 30, 1977, at the Palladium in New York City to raise funds for the purchase of blues records by the New York library. Artists included Foghat, Johnny Winter, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Honeyboy Edwards, Eddie Kirkland and Otis Blackwell. – Source: Village Voice (Oct 03, 1977)

Review of the concert: Foghat Tribute for Sound Archive

Johnny Winter appeared with the Muddy Waters band and did two lengthy medium-tempo blues. He is perhaps the only white bluesman whose singing is more authentic-sounding than his guitar playing, because while he is a gritty and idiomatic vocalist, his guitar solos almost invariably degenerate into rococo noodling. The Waters band did restrain many of his more self-indulgent tendencies, but it was only when Mr. Waters himself came on stage that the performance shifted into high gear.

Though he is old enough to rest on his laurels and has taken to performing an almost unvarying set of favorites. Mr. Waters always manages to create a special sort of intensity. The combination of his powerful voice, repetitive one-chord songs and starkly repetetive instrumental patterns makes for a mood that'. is the essence of the blues.

Predictably, Mr. Waters's "Mannish Boy," done in an unusually deliberate and assertive manner, was the high point of the concert. His last two numbers brought most of the guest performers on stage, and when Foghat's musicians joined them, the Palladium seemed about to explode from the sound of electric guitars and screaming fans. Predictions that the blues is coming back have seemed fanciful before, but after a concert like the. Foghat Blues Tribute, one was almost inclined to believe them.
Robert PALMER

 

King Biscuit Flower Hour

Johnny Winter with Muddy Waters and James Cotton

New Musical Express (Germany), Saturday, 24 December 1977

Extended interview with Johnny Winter, about being a producer for Muddy Waters .

Another interview for NME

Interview with NME

 

 

 

 

28 October 1977 - Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY

31 December 1977 - West Palm Beach Auditorium, West Palm Beach, FL

Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter

 

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