John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014) was an American singer and guitarist. Winter was known for his high-energy blues rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s. He also produced three Grammy Award–winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Johnny Winter was born in Beaumont, Texas, on February 23, 1944. He and younger brother Edgar (born 1946) were nurtured at an early age by their parents in musical pursuits. Their father, Leland, Mississippi native John Dawson Winter Jr. (1909–2001), was also a musician who played saxophone and guitar and sang at churches, weddings, Kiwanis and Rotary Club gatherings. Johnny and his brother, both of whom were born with albinism, began performing at an early age. When he was ten years old, the brothers appeared on a local children’s show with Johnny playing ukulele.
His recording career began at the age of 15, when his band Johnny and the Jammers released “School Day Blues” on a Houston record label. During this same period, he was able to see performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland. In the early days, Winter would sometimes sit in with Roy Head and the Traits when they performed in the Beaumont area, and in 1967, Winter recorded a single with the Traits: “Tramp” backed with “Parchman Farm” (Universal Records 30496). In 1968, he released his first album The Progressive Blues Experiment, on Austin’s Sonobeat Records.
Beginning in 1969, the first of numerous Johnny Winter albums was released which were cobbled together from approximately fifteen singles (about 30 “sides”) he recorded before signing with Columbia in 1969. Many were produced by Roy Ames, owner of Home Cooking Records/Clarity Music Publishing, who had briefly managed Winter. According to an article from the Houston Press, Winter left town for the express purpose of getting away from him. Ames died on August 14, 2003, of natural causes at age 66. As Ames left no obvious heirs, the ownership rights of the Ames master recordings remains unclear. As Winter stated in an interview when the subject of Roy Ames came up, “This guy has screwed so many people it makes me mad to even talk about him.” (wikipedia)
And here´s a very early Johnny Winter bootleg … listen and enjoy the power of the blues as Johny Winter plays it
Recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl, August 1, 1969
excellent mono audience recording
Tommy Shannon (bass)
John Turner (drums)
Edgar Winter (keyboards)
Johnny Winter (guitar, vocals)
01. Help Me (Williamson) 4.19
02. Leland Mississippi Blues (Winter) 4.22
03. Mean Town Blues (Winter) 8.42
04. It´s My Own Fault (King/Taub) 11.25
05. I Hate Everybody (Winter) 4.50
06. Tell The Truth (Winter) 7.10
07. What’d I Say (Charles) 4.28