Blues Guitar Legend Johnny Winter Shines Live on Danish TV (1970)

“Out of all the hopped-up Cau­casians who tur­bocharged the blues in the late Six­ties,” writes Rolling Stone, “Texas albi­no John­ny Win­ter was both the whitest and the fastest.” While broth­er Edgar hung a syn­the­siz­er around his neck and explored South­ern rock’s out­er weird­ness, John­ny stuck clos­er to roots music, play­ing with blues greats like Mike Bloom­field, Junior Wells, and Mud­dy Waters (he pro­duced three Gram­my-win­ning Waters albums). Despite, or because of, his blues bona fides, Win­ter was always a stal­wart in the rock scene. He played Wood­stock, often cov­ered Chuck Berry, Dylan, and The Rolling Stones, and released sev­er­al albums with his own band.

Win­ter passed away Wednes­day in his hotel room in Zurich at age 70. In trib­ute, we bring you the full per­for­mance above of Win­ter with his band on Dan­ish TV in 1970. See Winter’s bril­liant thumb-pick­ing style on full dis­play as he and the band rip through “Mama Talk to Your Daugh­ter,” “John­ny B. Goode,” “Be Care­ful With a Fool,” and “Mean Town Blues.” Want to learn some John­ny Win­ter mag­ic? Check out this video gui­tar les­son with the man him­self. And just below, see a trail­er for a new Win­ter doc­u­men­tary, John­ny Win­ter: Down and Dirty, that pre­miered at SXSW this past March.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mud­dy Waters and Friends on the Blues and Gospel Train, 1964

‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Hobo Blues’: Great Per­for­mances by John Lee Hook­er

Ani­mat­ed: Robert Johnson’s Clas­sic Blues Tune Me and the Dev­il Blues

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • AlexO says:

    From his first album; Dal­las, Mean Mis­treater and Be Care­ful with a Fool. Hard to beat. Peo­ple right­ly praise John­ny’s extra­or­di­nary gui­tar play­ing, but we should­n’t for­get what a great singer he was, too. Appeared at Wood­stock but why did he not get in the movie or on the album? My the­o­ry is that he would have made some of the oth­er “greats” look not so great. He nev­er need­ed the gim­mick of smash­ing or burn­ing his gui­tar.

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