Johnny Winter – Step Back

johnny winter step backA legally blind albino does not seem like your typical rock guitarist. Then again if you think about it Johnny Winter is exactly the type who would probably sit around in his basement as a youngster whiling away the hours practicing guitar. From the age of twenty-four until he died last summer at seventy he became one of the biggest and most talented blues guitarists around. The great thing about Johnny Winter is that he brings non-blues fans to the blues because of his stupendous talent. On this posthumous album he is joined by other respected guitarists Eric Clapton, Joe Perry (of Aerosmith) and Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top). The focus of the material on Step Away is electric blues music from the fifties. Some songs are more known that others like Ray Charles’ “Unchain My Heart” and “Long Tall Sally” while others are lesser known like “Killing Floor” and “Death Letter”.  It was an interesting and sad experience to listen to this album knowing it is going to be his last.  Interesting in that you hear the evolution that he has undergone from the songs he chooses to the change of his voice as he aged. Some of the songs like “Unchain My Heart” suffer from overproduction. That is not his fault though rather the producers who should have just left well enough alone. Johnny and his guitar are enough. All in all though a strong last album.

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