Johnny Winter With Dr John: Live In Sweden 1987 (MVD Entertainment)

Veteran bluesmen on peak form for Euro-TV session’s first release.

TODO alt text

Johnny Winter: captured in ’87.

Johnny Winter: captured in ’87.

This CD comes in the most effort-free package possible, so if you’re after more info you’ll need to head online, where the concert is available on YouTube – rendering the CD pointless. Technology, eh? Still, it’s a chance to witness Johnny Winter exchanging riffs with Dr John, who supplies piano. Both men share vocals, and the rhythm section – a funked-up partnership of bassist Jon Paris and drummer Tom Compton – drive the beat like madmen.

With only seven songs in the set, picking highlights is unnecessary: the whole shebang powers along seamlessly, kicking off with Sound The Bell and Don’t Take Advantage, both workouts for Winter’s astoundingly speedy guitar solos. Viewers of the accompanying DVD release may find his definitively 80s headless-and-bodiless guitar a slight distraction from the authentic blues vibes, but you’d never know from Mojo Boogie, as traditional an electric blues as they come. Dr John comes on stage for the last four tunes, the honky-tonk of You Lie Too Much and a country hoedown in the form of Sugar Sweet among them.

The set winds up with an excellent slow blues, Love Life & Money, and a blast through Jumpin’ Jack Flash. The throat-shredding vocal harmonies aren’t perfect, and an audio remaster would have been useful, but the energy comes through perfectly.