This is a professionally recorded live set from 1987 cut in Stockholm’s Sonet recording studio before an audience of about 100 people. Though Dr. John doesn’t play on the whole set, the recording has plenty of Louisiana and Mississippi roots.
Following an interview section that accompanies the band’s entrance into the studio, Winter starts off with a blazing version of “Sound the Bell,” by Louisiana-born Cajun guitarist Clarence Garlow, whose 1950 hit “Bon Ton Roula” helped introduce zydeco to the mainstream. Winter’s version is classic JW, lightning-fast ostinatos backed by the powerful bass playing of John Paris and sturdy drumming from Tom Compton.
The next song, “Don’t Take Advantage of Me,” is a funky blues from Lonnie Brooks, who was born Lee Baker, Jr. in Dubuisson, Louisiana. Winter lets his rock ’n’ roll side emerge here, quoting from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” in the turnarounds to both of his solos. Of course with Winter you’re basically listening to a nonstop series of solos broken up by the occasional verse. It’s a testament to the uniqueness and inventiveness of his playing that he never sounds like he’s overdoing it.
Winter whips out his slide for J.B. Lenoir’s “Mojo Boogie.” Mississippi-born Lenoir played in New Orleans in the early 1940s before moving to Chicago in 1949, where he established himself with the minor hit on Chess Records, “Korea Blues,” as J.B. and His Bayou Boys. Winter draws a line from Lenoir through Elmore James, J.B. Hutto and Hound Dog Taylor with his greasy slide work.
Dr. John joins in on keyboards and vocals to sing his own “You Lie Too Much.” Mac is in fine voice and takes a really good piano solo while the band backs him with gusto on this straightforward blues. Mac sticks around on keys while sharing vocal duties with Winter on a spirited version of Muddy Waters’ “Sugar Sweet,” which features another good piano solo and more guitar moves from Johnny. Mac really shines during his vocal part on Willie Dixon’s slow blues “Love, Life and Money.” Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, of course, were two more Mississippi musicians who moved to Chicago to make their reputation recording for Chess.
The set closes with the only song without Deep South roots, Winter’s raucous cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” It’s a great finale for Winter’s guitar pyrotechnics.
The DVD includes a bonus track of Winter playing “Prodigal Son” in 1972 with Johnny Winter and featuring guitarist Rick Derringer, a nice piece of lagniappe.