Johnny Winter: Live at The Fillmore 10/3/70, CD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 6/15/2010 by J. Blake

(New York, NY)

Until recently 1971’s LIVE JOHNNY WINTER AND has been considered the definitive officially released live document of the albino blues-rocker in his prime. With material taken from two 1970 performances (Fillmore East, NY & Pirate’s World, FL), LIVE JOHNNY WINTER AND unfortunately clocks in at a mere forty minutes and focuses heavily on the rock side of Winter’s 1970 repertoire. Luckily over the past decade, fans have been sporadically treated to previously-unreleased live recordings featuring Winter during the early stages of his now 40+ year career. Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield’s FILLMORE EAST: THE LOST CONCERT TAPES 12/13/68, The Allman Brothers’ LIVE AT THE ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL: JULY 3 & 5, 1970, JOHNNY WINTER: THE WOODSTOCK EXPERIENCE and Winter’s LIVE BOOTLEG SERIES, VOL. 1 all help paint a much more detailed picture of the guitar-slinger as an artist and collaborator during the late-60s and early-70s.

Now, thanks to Sony and Collectors’ Choice Music, fans can revel in a Johnny Winter live experience that arguably surpasses all of his other previously released early live recordings. Released in May of 2010, LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST 10/3/1970 captures the “Johnny Winter And” group (featuring Rick Derringer) live, just weeks before the performances that would eventually make up LIVE JOHNNY WINTER AND. Though the two live collections highlight different performances of some of the same material, as a whole, the October 3rd Fillmore East recording focuses slightly more on the blues than its predecessor and miraculously runs a whopping twenty-seven minutes longer; while only upping the track count from six to seven. With LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST 10/3/1970, Winter classics like “It’s My Own Fault” (22:25) and “Mean Town Blues” (18:08) run significantly longer than the versions featured on LIVE JOHNNY WINTER AND and surpass those previous versions with not only length, but energy and musicianship.

That is not to say that the 1971 live album is flawed. On the contrary, LIVE JOHNNY WINTER AND is a wonderful collection of performances, but with this newly released Fillmore show, the bar for live Winter recordings has been set higher than ever before. The interplay between Winter and Derringer is what really sets this recording apart. The two guitar-titans push each other to a new standard of six-string blues excellence and in the process, drag the rhythm section along with them; making for an incredibly energetic blues-fueled performance.

In addition to “It’s My Own Fault” and “Mean Town Blues”, “Good Morning Little School Girl” pulses with the “head cutting” energy of Winter and Derringer’s dueling guitars, while renditions of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” and Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” showcase Winter’s classic “throw caution to the wind” slide playing-style. Blistering versions of Winter’s original blues-rock composition “Guess I’ll Go Away” and the Derringer penned “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo” round out the performance’s set list; making for a thoroughly satisfying blues-rock listening experience.

LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST 10/3/1970, is easily one of the best blues oriented releases of 2010 so far. 1970 was an exciting time for rock and blues music and that excitement is captured in spades on this recording. LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST 10/3/1970 is a treasure from the annals of blues-rock history. Like all live recordings, it captures a specific moment in time and luckily for us, that moment was captured beautifully. This live album is an absolute “must have” for all Johnny Winter fans and any fan of blues guitar…or guitar in general.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: Johnny Winter-A Bluer Shade of Pale
You may also like to read American Blues News' interview with Johnny.

Thanks and keep reading American Blues News!!!

NYC blues fans, make sure you check out Albert Lee live at B.B. King's Blues Club and Grill on June 19th and Johnny Winter on June 23rd!!!

Copyright © 2010 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

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