Johnny Winter anthology spans entire career of Texas guitar legend

He's never been widely acknowledged as being in the same league as the Big Three–Clapton, Beck, Page–but anyone who's followed the career of Johnny Winter knows that he totally deserves to be included among the world's greatest living rock guitarists.

The Shout! Factory label has just released The Johnny Winter Anthology, a two-disc, 35-track compilation that is the first-ever to include highlights from Winter's entire career, from his self-titled debut album of 1969 to his latest, 2004's I'm a Bluesman. So you get to hear him and his trusty Gibson Explorer ripping it up on rock tunes written by Rick Derringer, Chuck Berry, and the Rolling Stones, as well as getting lowdown and dirty on blues standards by Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Big Bill Broonzy.

Winter lost something after his 1992 album, Hey, Where's Your Brother?, so the final two tracks from '97 and 2004 are not up to snuff, but everything before that is pure gold. In his prime, Winter's guitarwork flowed as effortlessly and magically as that of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He will get the credit he deserves one day.

Here's a cool video from 1971, in which Winter casually shows his former bassist, Randy Jo Hobbs, how to play the Big Bill Broonzy classic, "Key to the Highway".

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