Forgotten series: Johnny Winter – Guitar Slinger (1984)

Gas up Johnny Winter’s Guitar Slinger if you’re in the mood for some good old hell-raising Texas blues.

Don’t expect a clean garage here but a oil-stained, parts-thrown-everywhere, Playboy-calendar-hanging, hot-rod factory behind some redneck’s trailer. Winter’s cranked-up, turbo-charged playing will be on the rack, his trademark slide will be in the tool chest, and plenty of those NASCAR speed solos that only he can deliver — and, really, who else can keep up?

The vocals are some of Winter’s best; leaner, meaner and with a little more soul than usual, but remain his usual gravel and sawdust. The cover alone should worry the hell out of you as you stare at a long haired tattooed albino pointing a guitar at you pretty much the same way a hillbilly points a sawed-off shotgun at the revenue man.

You can smell the booze and cigarettes and can see the scabs letting you know which tattoos are the new ones.

The whole album gets it done, but look out for the shut-up girl anthem “It’s My Life, Baby,” or the I’m keeping my eye on you sister “Iodine in My Coffee.” Winter shows his pool hall hustler’s sense of humor on “Trick Bag” and on “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”

Anybody that loves electric blues should enjoy this album and the Beaumont, Texas, native shows that Texas blues guitar doesn’t begin and end with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Get a bottle of cheap whiskey, go out on your front porch and swing with this one.

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Derrick Lord

Derrick Lord

An Alabama-based blues- and roots-music lover, Derrick Lord was an original co-founder, with S. Victor Aaron and Nick DeRiso, of the music site that grew into Something Else! Reviews. One of Nick's all-time favorite meals happened with Derrick, at the legendary Dreamland BBQ. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Derrick Lord