Release Date: Sep 2, 2014
Record label: Megaforce
Genre(s): Blues, Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, Album Rock, Electric Blues, Modern Electric Blues, Hard Rock, Regional Blues, Boogie Rock, Slide Guitar Blues, Modern Electric Texas Blues, Electric Texas Blues
Stepping into the role of a whirlwind albino electric blues guitar player from Texas with a brilliant slide style and a roaring voice was the very role Johnny Winter was born to fill. He released nearly 30 albums of blues and blues-rock in his 40-plus-decade career, and delivered countless memorable concerts as well. His death in the summer of 2014 at the age of 70 left an unfillable void in the international blues community.
The sudden death of 70-year-old blues guitarist Johnny Winter makes this re-run of 2011’s all-star Roots a likely best seller. His guests include Eric Clapton, Brian Setzer, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Joe Perry and Mac Rebennack… Mark Knopfler and Buddy Guy were on the wishlist but didn’t make it, suggesting a volume three might just have been in the pipeline. Like Sinatra’s Duets and similar projects in the autumn of an artist’s career, you have to applaud the fact they can still make music that’s far from an embarrassment.
Johnny Winter was a 24-year-old legally blind albino kid from Texas when in 1968 Mike Bloomfield introduced him onstage as "the baddest motherfucker." Winter proved he was just that, bringing his high-voltage blues everywhere from the Fillmore West to Woodstock – often going on ragged, technically astounding tangents. Sadly, it took Winter's death, at 70 in July, to get casual fans listening again. Winter's final album, Step Back, doesn't always match his early grit – The Johnny Winter Story box set, released earlier this year, is much richer.
Johnny Winter Step Back (Megaforce) Sadly fitting that the high point of Johnny Winter's final studio album finds him alone with a steel guitar and slide, rasping out Son House's haunted "Death Letter." The seminal electric bluesman from Beaumont died in July at the age of 70, Step Back scheduled as more deliverance from addiction and bad business decisions. Now, it's a star-studded epitaph of hits and misses. Early grit comes from a steely rendition with Eric Clapton on Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Don't Want No Woman" as well as a take of Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's "Okie Dokie Stomp" with Brian Setzer that swings.