Category Archives: Music et al

John Johnny Dawson Winter III

John Johnny Dawson Winter III

February 23, 1944 — July 16, 2014

John Johnny Dawson Winter III was born in Beaumont, Texas. He and his brother, Edgar, both got into music early in their lives and after seeing  artists such Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland, they fell in love with the blues.

John Johnny Dawson Winter III

In 1968, Sonobeat Recording Company released Johnny Winter’s first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment. The small label’s limited distribution gave the album limited success. In December 1968, while at an Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield concert at the Fillmore East, Bloomfield  invited Winter on stage. His performance attracted the attention of Columbia Records executives in the audience and they soon signed him to “largest solo artist deal of it’s time.” (from Winter site)

Johnny Winter released his first Columbia record in 1969. He toured and performed at festival after festival, including…

Oh yea. He played at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, the festival that turned out to be THE festival of 1969 and, in the eyes of many still today, THE festival of all time.

Johnny Winter came on around midnight (Monday 18 August) after The Band and before Blood, Sweat and Tears. He played about an hour. His set-list was:

  1. Mama, Talk to Your Daughter
  2. Leland Mississippi Blues
  3. Mean Town Blues
  4. You Done LostYour Good Thing Now > Mean Mistreater
  5. I Can’t Stand It (with Edgar)
  6. Tobacco Road (with Edgar)
  7. Tell the Truth (with Edgar)
  8. Johnny B. Goode

Here’s a YouTube of that performance (not a film).

John Johnny Dawson Winter III
Johnny Winter

Most know of Alvin Lee and his Ten Years After performance of “Goin’ Home” from the 1970 movie or album. Johnny Winter did not get the Woodstock golden touch from either because he was not in or on either.

That did not stop his career. He successfully buffeted his way through rock and roll’s many Scylla and Charybdis with a long career.

He kept on making albums (Winter discography) and fulfilled a dream by playing with and producing Muddy Waters. Winter produced Waters’ , Hard Again (1977). He again worked with Waters on I’m Ready (1978). It was another Grammy winner.

Here’s a great video from a movie on Johnny Winter. It’s called Down and Dirty and was directed by Greg Olliver.

John Johnny Dawson Winter III

Johnny Winter

John Johnny Dawson Winter III

Johnny Winter died in Zurich, Switzerland on July 16, 2014. Writing in Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #63 of the 100 greatest guitarists. The review said: Out of all the hopped-up Caucasians who turbocharged the blues in the late Sixties, Texas albino Johnny Winter was both the whitest and the fastest. Songs like his 1969 cover of “Highway 61 Revisited” are astonishing showpieces of his lightningfast thumb-picked electric slide playing. Jimi Hendrix sought him out as a sideman, and Muddy Watersrecognized his talent at first glance, becoming a friend and collaborator: “That guy up there onstage – I got to see him up close,” Waters later said. “He plays eight notes to my one!”

John Johnny Dawson Winter III
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Beatles Back in the UK

Beatles Back in the UK

February 22, 1964

The Beatles Back in the UK

The Beatles flew from sunny warm Miami, to wintry New York, and then to dreary London. Their Beatlemaniac fans swarmed the airport (a time in history when swarming the tarmac was possible) to greet their returning heroes, the conquerors of America.

I’d love to know what albums they’re carrying!

An interview was conducted and during it they refer to meeting Cassius (three syllables) Clay and Sonny Liston. It had been on February 18 that they visited Ali at his training facility. As famous as the Beatles had become, Ali was not that yet. He soon would be. Ali was 22. Ringo and John 23. Paul and George 21. Yikes!

Here’s the transcript from that part of David Colman’s interview.

DC: We’d like to hear what you thought about Mr [Cassius] Clay.

John: Very tall.

Ringo: Oh, he’s a big lad.

Paul: He’s a great laugh, more than anything.  He’s a big lad.

George: He’s gonna get Sonny Liston in three.

John: He said.

Ringo: So he said.

Paul: That’s what he said. I don’t think he will, though.

Beatles back in the UK
AP photo of Beatle visit to Cassius Clay’s training facility.

Beatles Back in the UK

The whole interview is wonderful.  Part of the Beatle charm was their charisma: a delightful sandwich that included some respect, humor, and sarcasm. Among other highlights of the Coleman interview are:

  • an inopportune reference to John’s wife. It was still supposed to be a “secret” that he was married. Such an image fit in better.
  • Coleman asks Paul about “the tastes of fans over there” and John responds “He never bit any.”
  • the difficulty of their concert in Washington, DC
  • Ringo’s use of his “Ringo-ism” Tomorrow never knows. In two years, it will, of course, become the closing title on the Revolver album.


Beatles Back in the UK

Beatles Back in the UK

Beatles Back in the UK

Beatles Back in the UK

Beatles Back in the UK

Beatles Back in the UK

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Blood Sweat Tears Child Father Man

Blood Sweat Tears Child Father Man

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Child Is Father to the Man album
Released February 21, 1968
Blood Sweat Tears Child Father Man

That crazy and wondrous overture!

The Beatles and Dylan kept changing the equation. In 1967 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band said, Do what you want. Segue songs together. Put lyrics on the album. Add sounds. Add more instrumentation. Or not.

Al Kooper was there when Dylan went electric. Kooper accidentally added the iconic organ on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”  It was Kooper and Steve Katz’s underground masterpiece Projections with the Blues Project that got people searching for more when they left the Project. Where had they gone?

Blood, Sweat and Tears was where they’d gone and had given birth to…

Blood Sweat Tears Child Father Man

Child Is Father to the Man

Rolling Stone magazine’s review said “This album is unique. More precisely, it is the first of its kind — a music that takes elements of rock, jazz, straight blues, R&B, classical music and almost anything else you could mention and combines them into a sound of its own that is “popular” without being the least bit watered down.”

The All Music review states: “This is one of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late ’60s, a time when you could borrow styles from Greenwich Village contemporary folk to San Francisco acid rock and mix them into what seemed to have the potential to become a new American musical form.”

Blood Sweat Tears Child Father Man
back cover

The whole band was…

  • Randy Brecker – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Bobby Colomby – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Jim Fielder – bass guitar, fretless bass guitar
  • Dick Halligan – trombone
  • Steve Katz – guitar, lute, vocals
  • Al Kooper – organ, piano, ondioline, vocals
  • Fred Lipsius – piano, alto saxophone
  • Jerry Weiss – trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals

And though Al Kooper wrote most of the songs, he had a great ear from whom to cover. My quick thoughts are in blue following each title.

  1. “Overture” (Kooper) – 1:32…I don’t know about you, but even the Beatles hadn’t done something as crazy sounding (to that point) as that loony laughing during the Overture. 

  2. “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” (Kooper) – 5:57…How sweet this was. To this adolescent’s innocent ears (I’ll admit it), the passion behind Kooper’s voice was so cool. And those horns! “I could be President of General Motors!”

  3. “Morning Glory” (Larry Beckett, Tim Buckley) – 4:16...a nice segue into this song. “I lit my purest candle…”  And oh yea, recognize that organ sound? Like a Rolling Stone???

  4. My Days Are Numbered” (Kooper) – 3:19…more of those horns. I’d never heard (remember those innocent ears) horns used with such strength.

  5. “Without Her” (Harry Nilsson) – 2:41…This was the first time I heard Nilsson and “Without Her.” I’d come to love his version more, but at that moment, such a cool beat. 

  6. Just One Smile” (Randy Newman) – 4:38…Didn’t realize that a Randy Newman song could have such strength! And side one ends after over 22 minutes. About how long some entire albums were. Getting my money’s worth.

  7. “I Can’t Quit Her” (Kooper, Irwin Levine) – guitar, bumping bass, and more cool horns. I could get used to this.

  8. “Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes” (Steve Katz) – 3:24…I loved the Blues Project’s “Flute Thing” and this had that same feel for me. Gurgling vocals. Neat.  Mee-gan, not Meg-an.

  9. Somethin’ Goin’ On” (Kooper) – 8:00…Eight minutes. Very nice. This is not American Bandstand.

  10. “House in the Country” (Kooper) – 3:04…I was a straight suburban kid who loved the country (part of Woodstock’s appeal) and this song with all its sound effects was another reason that I knew I was headed in the right direction. Who was that kid? 

  11. “The Modern Adventures of Plato, Diogenes and Freud” (Kooper) – 4:12…Taking a break.

  12. “So Much Love”/”Underture” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 4:47...I’d heard of the term Overture. Never Underture. One hell of a way to split after over 49 minutes of amazing music.

Blood Sweat Tears Child Father Man
Happy anniversary Child Is Father To the Man

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