Sunday, November 18, 2012

Johnny Winter Seen and Heard Live From Japan

Johnny Winter has probably been performing for fifty years and its been nearly 45 years since his signing with Columbia. In the ensuing years he has recorded and toured extensively. It was not until April of 2011 though that he appeared in Japan with is current band of Paul Nelson on guitar, Scott Spray on bass and Vito Liuzzi on drums. A performance at the Zepp Tokyo Musical Hall was captured and now MVD Visual has issued Live From Japan, capturing one night’s performance of the blues and rock legend.

Being seated throughout his performance does not affect the fire of Winter’s performances which is heavily tilted towards blues on this evening which opens with some sizzling blues-rock before his trio before he comes on for a rendition of Hideaway. The video is quite well done although the tone of Johnny’s guitar seems a bit distorted. There are also a couple of interview segments interspersed in this hour and a half concert video.

While I would not say Winter has been my favorite blues vocalist, I have grown to appreciate his singing and immediately recognizable musical approach and admire the wide range of songs that he tears into on including Frankie Lee Sim’s She Likes To Boogie Real Low, Lazy Lester’s Sugar Coated Love, and Sonny Boy Williamson I’s Good Morning Little School Girl. An interview remembrance of Muddy Waters’ is followed by a rousing Got My Mojo Working, and the rock and roll side of Winter is displayed on Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode, and Larry Williams’ Bony Maronie

Other highlights include Winter's cover of Ray Charles' Blackjack, as well as reprising Winter's Alligator recording of Don’t Take Advantage of Me that morphs into his interpretation of the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter. Guitarist Nelson takes a solo on It’s All Over Now, originally recorded by the Valentinos and covered by the Stones. After a short break, Winter and band return with Johnny now playing his Firebird guitar and slide for a rollicking medley of Elmore James’ Dust My Broom and Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61. It closes a well produced concert video and Live From Japan, will certainly be of interest to fans of Johnny Winter and the blues.

I received a review copy from MVD Entertainment. From a 2012 performance, here is Johnny Winer performing Blackjack.

No comments: