Johnny Winter: ‘Captured Live’

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Albino musician Johnny Winter was one of the most exciting guitar players of his generation.  His performances were legendary and nobody moved around the stage as much as Johnny and his band.  He had the respect of all his peers and some of his covers of classic songs were even better than the originals and he made them his own.  He was also ripped off by every manager he ever worked with.

“Captured Live” does exactly what it says on the tin, capturing Johnny Winter and his band at the height of their powers.  Recorded in 1975 and released a year later it contains 6 packages of pure excitement.

The band members are so tight after virtually playing every night that year that there are no cracks or let up in their game.  But soaring above them is Johnny Winter’s guitar and his gravelly vocals.

From the moment the band are introduced the four musicians head onwards and upwards.  First out the traps to warm the audience up is “Bony Moronie”, the Larry Williams classic, following which the band, now fully primed, rip straight into the Rick Derringer number “Roll with Me”.

Then, as a major coup, Johnny Winter has a John Lennon song “Rock’n’Roll People” that Lennon never officially released during his lifetime.  So Winter takes this song to his heart and really lets fly.  After this we get Womack and Womack’s “It’s All Over Now”, which leaves the Rolling Stones version in tatters.  These four songs made up side one of the vinyl release and then on side two you get two tracks that make up the ‘meat and veg’ of this ensemble.

Clocking in at 10 minutes and 32 seconds is Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Re-Visited”, where Winter really gets the chance to shine on slide guitar and the air around the music almost catches fire.  It’s an example of a great musician at the height of his powers.  To finish things off there’s 12 minutes of Johnny Winter’s own signature song, “Sweet Papa John”  This has everything that is sweet and pure about rock’n’roll all wrapped into one long song.  The crowd’s response when it finally comes to its conclusion speaks for itself.

Between 1968 and his death in 2014, Johnny Winter released 19 official studio albums and 8 official live albums.  Sadly there were countless cash-in and rip-off affairs released under Winter’s banner, but without his knowledge or consent.  This very album has been released in different formats under different names, so be careful whilst out shopping for the good stuff.

Johnny Winter performs at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1969. (Photo/John Kadvany)
Johnny Winter performs at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1969. (Photo/John Kadvany)

Johnny Winter’s band:

Johnny Winter – lead guitar and vocals

Randy Jo Hobbs – bass guitar and backing vocals

Richard Hughes – drums

Floyd Radford – guitar

Album Tracks:

Bony Moronie

Roll With Me

Rock’n’Roll People

It’s All Over Now

Highway 61 Re-Visited

Sweet Papa John

Note: Written By Mott The Dog who can be found sitting in the corner of Jameson’s The Irish Pub Soi AR, North Pattaya.