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Brothers Johnny and Edgar Winter were born in Texas and encouraged by their parents from an early age to pursue musical interests. They performed together as children. The elder, guitarist Johnny, was the first to break out with a recording contract with Columbia Records in the late 60s.
Edgar (keyboards and sax) played in Johnny’s bands but struck out on his own in 1970 when he received his own recording contract and formed Edgar Winter’s White Trash. In 1972 he formed a different group, The Edgar Winter Group, that included guitar hero Ronnie Montrose and singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Dan Hartman. The album they released, They Only Come Out At Night, reached #3 on the Billboard Album charts and spawned two hit singles – “Frankenstein” (#1) and “Free Ride” (#14).
For the follow up album, Shock Treatment, Winter recruited Rick Derringer who had the hit “Hang on Sloopy” as a teenager with the McCoys to replace the departed Montrose. This album has gone down in rock history as a disappointment. But that’s really unfair! Not only is it a very good album all the way through, it actually reached #13 and had a top 40 single (“River’s Risin’”).
My favorite song on Shock Treatment is “Easy Street”, today’s SotW.
“Easy Street” was written by Hartman but includes one of Winter’s best performances, both vocally and on alto sax. The sax solo perfectly embodies the sleazy, swagger of the bluesy rhythm (in 6/8 time) and nighthawk lyrics. Hartman’s bass is solid too.
Enjoy… until next week.