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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

Johnny Winter

Live Through the ‘70s DVD

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve read a couple reviews of this where they rave about the picture and sound quality saying it’s “top notch.” Well, either the people who said that are using some seriously strong drugs or they have a different DVD than I do. Don’t get me wrong, this is good considering the time period, but come on! It’s nothing near the kind of quality we’re used to in today’s era of high tech video. At times the sound is distorted and distant. Much of the video looks as if it was shot in the dark. The thing is, none of that is really all that important with a product like this.

You expect quality problems from old video. It was just the limitations of the equipment at the time. What makes this such an incredible work is the breadth of material presented and the fact that this archival footage exists. Johnny Winter is really a blues great and this is a serious collection of live performances and interview bits that is a real treasure. Imagine if we had something like this from Robert Johnson.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that several of the clips here feature Winter’s brother Edgar joining him. And they even do a smoking version of “Frankenstein” which was a trademark of Edgar’s band. So, the truth is, a lot of this looks dated – both in terms of video quality and some of things said in interviews. What’s never in question is the quality of the music. Johnny Winter is the real deal and he rocks it with the best of them while still playing real blues. This is a “must have” for all fans of the blues and certainly for fans of Johnny Winter.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at

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