Friday, March 9, 2007

Lost Album Gem: --> "Still Alive And Well" - Johnny Winter (1973)

"...I'm standing up tall
with my back flat on the ground"
Johnny Winter ~

Watching Johnny Winter...this brutally thin cat with long wispy blonde hair walk on the stage carrying a guitar that looked much too large for him to control...would have been head-raising.

That Johnny was cross-eyed, near blind and had the skin pigment of a can of latex ceiling paint might've also gave audiences reason to pause.

Now add the fact that starting out, Johnny was playing at roadhouses buried deep in the South with crowds that would make the Apollo sound like a Catholic mass...and you have yourself a "bluesman" who's about to find out deathly quick whether he has the truck to deliver the goods.  He does.

In ‘72, JW had to check into a hospital due to a full blown day-tripping heroin habit and was rehabbed for several months.

During his confinement, John Lennon dropped well as Mick and Keith who brought Johnny a song they had written for him.  Nearly a year later in 1973, he went back into the studio to record what is commonly referred to as his "comeback" album.

The album, aptly entitled “Still Alive and Well”, was the closest he ever came to making a grit and grime rock album.  Rockin’ enough to make your car engine shake and your hands dirty just listening.

“Still Alive And Well” great stuff and must own.

Opening up with the killer track “Rock Me Baby”, Johnny leaves no doubt how exhilarated he feels getting back into the studio and you can almost see him smiling like a Cheshire cat as he wails away on his axe.

In the foot-stomping, “Can’t You Feel It”, tasty licks bleed your speakers as he sings in his trademark growl, “If I can’t make you happy I’ll jump into the river and drown”.

"Can't You Feel It"

“Silver Train”, the gift written by Mick and Keith, has a solid Stones sound and would later be released by the Stones themselves on “Goats Head Soup” later that same year.

“Ain’t Nothing To Me” is the greatest country song never heard. This should have been a hit. Perfectly recorded and would fit comfortably on any redneck jukebox.

"Ain't Nothing To Me"

On the title track, he sings “Everyone I thought was cool is six feet under ground / I'm still alive and well”.  Yes indeedy!

With Rick Derringer’s spot-on production, plus the two added bonus tracks… you have a tasty bowl of Yancy's Red Devil Chili.

Lost Gem:--> “All Tore Down”...brings the string-burn with some serious guitar skin-remover...strutting around his axe like feathers on a showgirl .

"All Tore Down"

Slow down!!
You know I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down, yeah
I'm standing up tall
With my back flat on the ground
You know I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down, yeah
Somebody tell the world to stop
Or just slow down

You know I never had nobody
Don't fool around with me
And now here come the whole world's army
Kicking me in the teeth
Good God!
You know I went out to buy me a bottle
And try to soothe the pain
Before I left the cashier
He was hassling me about the change
I went home to sip my supper
And have me a peaceful night
But there at home with her rollers on
Was my rantin' ravin' wife

That's why I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down
I'm standing up tall
With my back flat on the ground
Wooh, I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down
Somebody tell the world to stop
Or just slow down
Do it!
Good God!

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers

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