10 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The third and final album Johnny Winter made for the Chicago blues label Alligator, 3rd Degree was the best record the guitarist made in the '80s. From Tommy Castro to Stevie Ray Vaughan, there were dozens of guys competing in the electric blues game during that decade. But Winter’s versions of “Mojo Boogie,” “Love, Life and Money," and “Third Degree” show that there was no substitution for the authentic soul of a boy from Beaumont, Texas. It speaks to Winter’s talent that his acoustic performances here are arguably more hair-raising than his electric work. “Evil on My Mind” and “Bad Girl Blues” are two of this set's most intense songs. It's not until you hear Winter on his own—with no embellishment or added instrumentation—that you really understand that no one else can do what he does the way he does it. For “Shake Your Moneymaker,” “See See Baby," and “Broke and Lonely,” Winter reunites with his '60s rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Abel Ji McKnight. Their chemistry is unmistakable. Where the other performances here have the snap of a new leather belt, those songs have the worn-in perfection of old cowboy boots.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The third and final album Johnny Winter made for the Chicago blues label Alligator, 3rd Degree was the best record the guitarist made in the '80s. From Tommy Castro to Stevie Ray Vaughan, there were dozens of guys competing in the electric blues game during that decade. But Winter’s versions of “Mojo Boogie,” “Love, Life and Money," and “Third Degree” show that there was no substitution for the authentic soul of a boy from Beaumont, Texas. It speaks to Winter’s talent that his acoustic performances here are arguably more hair-raising than his electric work. “Evil on My Mind” and “Bad Girl Blues” are two of this set's most intense songs. It's not until you hear Winter on his own—with no embellishment or added instrumentation—that you really understand that no one else can do what he does the way he does it. For “Shake Your Moneymaker,” “See See Baby," and “Broke and Lonely,” Winter reunites with his '60s rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Abel Ji McKnight. Their chemistry is unmistakable. Where the other performances here have the snap of a new leather belt, those songs have the worn-in perfection of old cowboy boots.

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