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2011 album from the legendary guitarist. Roots returns Johnny to his roots by paying homage to the iconic Blues heroes whose pioneering music influenced Winter's own signature sound. Roots is the follow up to his Grammy-nominated I'm A Blues Man, and includes a host of special guests join Winter trading licks in honoring his idols.
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Personally, I love the recent trend of Blues and R&B artists in all star collaborations. The opening track."T-Bone Shuffle" features the incredible talents of slide master Sonny Landreth. "Farther On Up the Road" shows what a fine guitarist Jimmy Vivino is. He has a talent for making good material great, and his ability to elevate the star of the show is second to none (check out his contributions to Shemekia Copeland's first recording, "Turn the Heat Up"). On the Elmore James chestnut "Done Somebody Wrong", Warren Haynes invokes the great Duane Allman in the intro, then steps back while Johnny takes the first solo. The respect these two have for each other is apparent; neither one getting in the others way.
For the harmonica freaks, back to back tracks feature two very accomplished-and very different players. "Got My Mojo Workin'" has been done to death, but Frank Torre of the King Bees blows new life into the well worn standard. John Popper plays what may be his finest recorded solo on "Last Night". Johnny's solo on this cut is sublime.
The album's lone instrumental is Bill Dogett's "Honky Tonk", featuring brother Edgar on sax. They play the melody together and swap solos-nice to hear them work together again. Mike DiMeo adds classic R&B organ while Nelson supports the band with a strong, loping rhythm.
It's hard to pick a favorite track on this CD, but I have to lean toward "Come Back Baby". John Medeski plays a jazzy organ solo in the style of Jimmy Smith, and DiMeo adds an after hours style of Blues piano (think Ray Charles' "A Fool For You"). Johnny is supported here by a full horn section- something atypical for him. His solo alone will make you want to repeat the track many times. For those worried about his voice, he has never sounded better than he does here.
Hopefully, Johnny's older fans will appreciate this most recent effort. As for new fans, there isn't any reason you can't start right here.
This CD also demonstrates another of Winter's assets: Letting the guests and back up players shine. Winter has long been known as being generous in sharing the stage with other players. You can hear the joy in his voice as he sings the songs that influenced him.
If anyone has earned the ability to sing the blues, It's Johnny Winter. Born Albino, legally blind and crosseyed, he managed to make quite a career for himself. He has often times been his own worst enemy:Long bouts with drugs, alcohol allowed a former manager to steal from him. It also gained him the reputation of being unreliable. He's had bouts with major depression, broken his hip and managed to survive it all. He plays over a hundred shows a year and they are mostly sell outs. When the world ends it will be Johnny Winter and the cockroaches. I put my money on Winter.