Johnny Winter - Roots
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The 18th solo studio album from one of the last remaining true legends of blues, Johnny Winter, does what it says on the cover. It's a collection of new reworkings of songs by pioneering blues artists Johnny attributes his own style to. The most important thing about this record is that Johnny hasn't played the songs exactly the way they were recorded originally, he's played them in his style, with his trademark searing blues solos all over every track. Songs by T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Chucky Berry, Bobby Bland and of course Robert Johnson are made to sound like Johnny Winter's own, and most remarkably of all there's none of the physical frailty he's now plagued with in the sound at all. Vocally and musically he sounds like he's still at the top of his game. In actual fact, every track has a guest on it. And not just any guest. Each one is a bona fide reverred artist in blues themselves. The thing is, apart from Susan Tedeschi's unnecessary vocal contribution to Jimmy Reed's Bright Lights, Big City, and John Medeski adding some keyboards to Come Back Baby, none of them make a noticeable mark on the songs. Winter does all of the rest of the singing, and most of the electric solos are so unmistakeably Johnny Winter that it's actually a bit of a mystery what people like Warren Haynes, Johnny's brother Edgar, Derek Trucks, Sonny Landreth and John Popper are doing here. It doesn't really matter since Winter has compiled a remarkably coherent album of his influences, brought them up to date production wise and stamped his own sound on them. Fans of any era of his work cannot fail to enjoy this.
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