Artist: Johnny Winter
Album: Step Back
Label: Megaforce Records
Release Date: 09/02/2014
Sadly, Johnny Winter’s latest album is also his last. Last July, shortly after recording this album, he joined the other great blues musicians in the sky. Back in great voice with guitar licks in moderation like the Johnny Winter I remember back when I first discovered his music in 1969.
The album starts with a song made famous by the late great Ray Charles. “Unchain My Heart” sets the tempo and immediately announces Johnny is back in a nice easy way. “Can’t Hold Out” then comes on to remind us that we can’t think of the blues, especially Texas blues, without thinking Johnny Winter. Quite a few guests joined in on this example of Johnny’s outright love of the blues. Brian Setzer joins in on “Okie Dokie Stomp”, Dr. John appears on “Blue Monday”, Eric Clapton comes in on “Don’t Want No Woman”, and Leslie West performs on “Long Tall Sally”. I’ll let you be surprised with the other guests, but they all fit nicely. Winter alone with just his guitar on “Death Letter” is a great take on the Son House classic that Johnny makes his own.
Step Back is a classic in every way. I am so very glad he stepped back. If you want to hear the blues the way it should be heard, then this album is for you.
– Mark J. Smith