For speed, cogency, and sheer emotional fire, few blues guitarists have been the equal of Johnny Winter. His long and productive recording career took him from his traditional roots into hard rock and back again. The Best of Johnny Winter distills his most seminal work from 1969 through 1971, highlighting his strengths both as soloist and band leader. Tracks from Winter’s self-titled Columbia debut like the hard-rocking “I’m Yours and I’m Hers” and the gospel-tinged “I’ll Drown in My Tears” have a brash confidence that remains riveting. Scorching takes on Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” bristle with energy and attitude, while his treatment of Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” and B.B. King’s “Be Careful with a Fool” affirm his effortless command of classic blues material. The rollicking “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” shows Winter’s ability to bid for mainstream success without sacrificing his integrity. From blazing boogie tunes like “Hustled Down in Texas” through acoustic showcases like “Dallas,” Johnny affirms his legendary status on this well-chosen 16-track collection.