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Classic Album Reviews: Johnny Winter | Deluxe Edition / Roy Buchanan | Deluxe Edition

These compilations collect the choicest cuts from the blues guitarists' Alligator discs.


These albums came out back in 2001. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Someone once claimed you could count all the great white blues guitarists on two hands. Well, at least a couple of those fingers would go to Johnny Winter and Roy Buchanan, two hellacious pickers who came up during the late ’60s blues revival and came into their own over the course of lengthy careers.

In the mid-’80s, each recorded a trio of discs for U.S. blues label Alligator. These separate retrospectives — part of an Alligator series — compile the choicest cuts from those releases, along with a couple of extra goodies. Winter’s 14 tracks — mostly blues standards like Lights Out and Don’t Take Advantage of Me, with one original — come loaded with his gruff vocals and patented Texas guitar sound full of fat chords and fast, furious fretwork. Buchanan, who committed suicide in 1988, was more of a player than a vocalist, so his 16-cut retrospective fittingly highlights his scutting, ice-pick style and neck-spanning note runs on familiar fare like Peter Gunn and his own Flash Chordin’. Frankly, neither album is as brashly incendiary as these artists’ earlier, rawer work. But these days, they’re way easier to find — and you know what they say about birds in the hand.