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Step Back

4.7 out of 5 stars 386 customer reviews

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Vinyl, September 2, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Johnny Winter releases perhaps his greatest album on September 2nd, 2014! Step Back features and amazing list of musical guests and takes Johnny back to a more aggressive style of blues... one that helped shape the musical icon.

Produced by Paul Nelson, Step Back showcases classic songs that were inspiring to Johnny Winter. This man, Johnny Winter, remains as vibrant as ever.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (September 2, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Megaforce
  • Run Time: 33.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (386 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,204 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
*Note: this is a review of the vinyl LP.*

I'm a big blues fan, though not terribly fond of the blues-rock subgenre. But Johnny Winter is the exception -- he was one of the first blues-rock guitar slingers, and IMO, the best. Receiving the album in the mail was bittersweet for me. I preordered his new record and a day later I learned he had passed. RIP to the Texas Tornado.

So anyway, how's the music? Overall, I'm impressed. Johnny's voice has aged well. He sounds almost like an entirely different person when compared to his earlier music, but it's not off-putting in the least. He simply sounds older and wiser. His guitar playing, of course, is the classic Johnny we know and love. The album does start off on a relatively weak spot with a rather generic and over-produced version of "Unchain My Heart", but we get into the groove quickly after. "Don't Want No Woman" w/Eric Clapton is quite good. Clapton's contribution is minimal actually, so that may put a few diehard Clapton fans off but I think it works well.

Other highlights for me are "Where Can You Be" w/Billy Gibbons (some fantastic ZZ riffs -- you can tell it's Billy right away), the high-energy guitar dueling w/Brian Setzer on the instrumental "Okie Dokie Stomp" with Setzer's big band as the backdrop, and a wonderful version of the BB King standard "Sweet Sixteen". This last one features some truly fantastic guitar work from Joe Bonamassa, who I regrettably had been rather dismissive towards, but I now have a new respect for the young player.

While Johnny was known primarily for his electric guitar theatrics, I've always liked him best when he brought out the steel-body resonator. Therefore my favorite track on the album is his solo cover of Son House's "Death Letter".
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Format: Audio CD
This posthumous release was already finished and slated for release at the time of Johnny's death, so it's no rush to cash in. Instead, it's about as good as a final tribute even Johnny could have planned it.

On this disc, Johnny "steps back" to old blues songs he enjoys, and invited a list of master musicians to join him, including Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Ben Harper, Dr. John, Billy Gibbons, Leslie West, Joe Perry and many others. But this is not just another CD of the same old blues covers, and it's not just another CD of superstar duets.

This is without a doubt a Johnny Winter album. The guest stars add only instrumental support (with one exception, Ben Harper trades verses on Can't Hold Out). Johnny solos just as much as the guest guitarists, and he more than holds his own.

But what really lifts this above the usual blues cover/superstar turn type of CDs is the joy, passion and professionalism that Johnny brings. He can still play a mean guitar. And yes, his voice is naturally ravaged with age, but his vocals are heartfelt and he puts it all on the line.

Johnny covers more than just the blues, which is no different than he has done during his entire career. There is blues, rock, and blues rock represented here. Especially Johnny's affinity to old time rock and roll, shown the Bo Diddley and Little Richard songs he covers here. And if you don't think Johnny is a true bluesman, listen to his rendition of Son House's Death Letter, just Johnny and his guitar. And really, if you doubt Johnny Winters blues cred, you're just an idiot.

Johnny's band play their fingers off, the production is top notch. This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Wait, did I give it four stars? Hell, make it 5!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
i was a kid when i first heard johnny winter back in the early 70's. he was playing some blistering guitar and there was no mistaking his powerful playing and stage presence in concert. to me back then he was 100 percent rock and roll. songs like 'bony maronie', 'highway 61', 'mean town blues' and 'it's my own fault' are what i remember best and his band was amazing. bobby caldwell, randy jo hobbs, and rick derringer were the cream of the crop and put together, is what legends are made from. over the years johnny evolved through many chapters and some of my favorite later stuff he did was straight up blues with that signature slide guitar;; which is why i enjoy this cd so much. not only do we get some really nice variety here, a fine cross section of many of johnny's favorite sounds, we are also treated to some of johnny's many lifelong friends and fellow musicians. this is a who's who of people he played with over the years and a pleasure for us fans to enjoy now. johnny's voice still sounds pretty darn good and his songs here with eric clapton, billy gibbons, and leslie west are awesome and a fitting testament to johnny's legacy. the real surprises are 'killing floor' with paul nelson [nice blues harp playing by frank 'kingbee' latorre] 'mojo hand' with joe perry, 'okie dokie stomp' with brian setzer, and 'my baby' with jason ricci which feature outstanding guitar playing. the entire cd is a fine sampling of johnny's later day sound, and a cd any fan will want to have and hear. i only hope there will be more of his music coming , and they include some of his work with brother edgar.
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