Johnny Winter – Second Winter

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on all three sides!
  • All these sides are cleaner and clearer than most of the typically murky LPs we played, yet full-bodied and balanced with a solid bottom end and plenty of energy
  • The most famous 3 sided double album in rock and roll history – why fill out a fourth side when you only have enough good material for three?
  • Allmusic 1 1/2 Stars: “His reworking of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” is the high spot of the record, a career-defining track that’s still a major component of his modern-day set list.” 

We just finished our first big shootout for Second Winter in years, and let me tell you, it is TOUGH to find Hot Stamper pressings of Second Winter. Most copies were congested, veiled and murky, but this one has the kind of clarity and openness that let you make sense of the music.

If you’re not familiar with the vinyl pressings of this album, you might be surprised when you pick up the second disc. Even though there are two LPs, there are only three sides with music. Side four has no grooves and is completely blank. The liner notes explain that spreading it out to three sides allowed them to get the best possible sound, and (thankfully) they didn’t want to add any filler.

This vintage Columbia 360 pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1969
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on Second Winter

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Memory Pain
I’m Not Sure
The Good Love

Side Two

Slippin’ and Slidin’
Miss Ann
Johnny B. Goode
Highway 61 Revisited

Side Three

I Love Everybody
Hustled Down in Texas
I Hate Everybody
Fast Life Rider

AMG  Review

Johnny’s second Columbia album shows an artist in transition. He’s still obviously a Texas bluesman, recording in the same trio format that he left Dallas with. But his music is moving toward the more rock & roll sounds he would go on to create.

The opener, “Memory Pain,” moves him into psychedelic blues-rock territory, while old-time rockers like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Miss Ann,” and “Slippin’ and Slidin'” provide him with familiar landscapes on which to spray his patented licks.

His reworking of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” is the high spot of the record, a career-defining track that’s still a major component of his modern-day set list. This was originally released back in the day as a three-sided vinyl double album, by the way.

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