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For those of us who came of age in the pre-disco ‘70s, Edgar Winter’s "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride" still ignite fond memories. People born after the classic-rock era will recognize Winter as the exceedingly white dude who plays George Hamilton’s unlikely twin brother in that goofy Miller Lite TV ad. Though Winter released two underhyped albums earlier this decade, Winter Blues is his first major-label release in years. Winter has never strayed far from the blues, so it’s no surprise that this latest is marketed as a blues album.
Winter Blues finds the multitalented artist reuniting with some of his longtime cronies, including his older brother Johnny, whose slide guitar helps to energize one rowdy tune here, "On the Tip of My Tongue." Also appearing are the legendary guitarist Rick Derringer (on four tracks), Leon Russell (on "Old Shoe," a country-blues tribute to the Winter family dog that the artist wrote for the movie Wag The Dog ), classic-rocker Eddie Money (on "It’s Only Money"), the powerful horn section from Winter’s early ‘70s band White Trash, and the ubiquitous Dr. John.
Winter Blues is a likable collection that consists mostly of muscular blues-rock tunes. Winter plays keys, sax and percussion, and his singing is as lively as ever. The standout track is a catchy tribute to New Orleans entitled "Nu’Orlins," which features a second-line rhythm and some fine performances by Dr. John and a Dixieland horn section. Also enjoyable is "White Man’s Blues," wherein Winter drolly recounts the unique problems he encounters as an albino while also he pokes fun at his brother’s tattoos. Derringer plays a jazzy guitar solo on "White Man’s Blues" and the Legendary White Trash Horns offer some fiery backing throughout the album. (One of the three horns is Winter’s baritone sax).
While Winter Blues doesn’t break any new ground, it’s a spirited collection of blues-based rock from a veteran artist who hasn’t lost his touch.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.