Johnny Winter, the older brother of Edgar "Frankenstein" Winter, died this past Wednesday. In the '70s, this gaunt, albino guitarist was a heavy. Like, he was an ordained GODHEAD of rock 'n' roll. Now, however, he's prolly best known for his hit, the sweaty, classic rock standard "Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo."
Winter grew up in Beaumont, Texas, and was performing by the time he was 10 years old; by 15 his band, Johnny and the Jammers, had recorded a 45: "School Day Blues." Post-the Jammers, Winter got real busy. In fact, if he'd only left a trail of 45s (I think he recorded something like 15 singles in eight years), he'd still be considered an incredibly important and prolific Texan. Oh, he also played on some Roy Head sides, too. DAMN!! It was one of his first albums tho', The Progressive Blues Experiment, which defined his career. The LP wasn't, in fact, that progressive, but his playing style on the LP became his standard: sweaty, long-haired, rockin' urban blues rock. Um, sometimes there'd be heavy riffs or perhaps he'd get a bit "out there," but mostly he stuck true to the blues-rock form. In 1969 he was signed to Columbia after he was invited on stage to play with Mike Bloomfield. Also, later in'69, he turned in a stellar performance at at Woodstock. He continued on through the '70s playing blues rock and in 1977, he achieved his dream of making an album with Muddy Waters: Hard Again. Winter would record two more albums with Waters, I'm Ready and Muddy "Mississippi" Waters – Live. All three Waters records earned Winter Grammys. After his success with Waters, and up till his death, Johnny Winter had continued recording and touring; he'd just played on Monday night at the Cahors Blues Festival in France.