Writings about Music

Winter Tale

Johnny Winter, Floyd Radford, Randy Hobbs

A girlfriend from Texas once told me a colorful story about double dating with a girlfriend of hers in the seventies. Her friend was dating guitar legend, Johnny Winter, also from Texas, and one Manhattan night in the dead of winter they were all driving through Central Park in a limousine. Johnny, who had had a drink or two, as had everyone else, implored his date, garbed in an ultra mini skirt without even a coat, to get out of the limo, and walk on ahead, the reason being Winter had a shotgun (!), and wanted to play hero in the event some unfortunate person attempted to bother her, scaring the life out of such person. She actually did as Johnny suggested, even with the frigid temperature, but thankfully no one appeared, and after a period this most reckless and inadvisable idea was discarded.

 

Ever since being introduced to the music of Johnny Winter by future chef Peter Graziano, himself a gifted player, who had future Emerson Quartet violist, Lawrence Dutton, in his band playing electric violin, I've believed Johnny to be the finest rock guitarist ever when he was in his prime. I even expressed this opinion to George Harrison, while he held out for Jimi Hendrix.

Part of the musical evidence for my opinion of Johnny Winter is contained in the two videos embedded here. There was never anyone like Johnny before, and there will never be again.

I'll never forget how Peter, one of my best teenage friends, wanted me to play keyboards in his band, somehow believing I had a special talent. However, at the time I couldn't afford to buy an electric keyboard or organ, and that opportunity passed.

After moving to California, I became friends with someone who actually played electric keyboards in a band.

- Michael Robinson, August 2021, Los Angeles

 

© 2021 Michael Robinson All rights reserved

 

Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and musicologist who has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University. His 155 albums include 148 albums for Meruvina and 7 albums of piano improvisations.