On guitar-slinger Johnny Winter's 2004 outing, I'M A BLUESMAN, his spicy style of playing keeps with a legacy dating back to the late 1960s, when he was playing on the club circuit of tiny Beaumont, Texas. Tapping Roy Buchanan/Albert Collins producer Dick Shurman to man the console, Winter wisely brings his touring band into the studio with him.
Although the albino axe-wielder's guitar tone sounds oddly compressed, his still-impressive playing does much to dispel any distractions. Such is the case when the sixtysomething Texan plays the spurned-lover card, be it on the organ-soaked howler "Cheatin' Blues" or the subtler, but no less suspicious, "I Smell Smoke." Despite nearly being eligible for Social Security, the rail-thin Winter still opens it up, as evidenced by the howling and crackling slide guitar adorning "Lone Wolf" and the equally tempestuous stomper "Sweet Little Baby." Winter also tips his Stetson to Lazy Lester and Hop Wilson with the former's "Sugar Coated Love," served up as a snappy, mid-tempo shuffle, and the latter's "That Wouldn't Satisfy," cast as a mournful, acoustic steel-guitar lament.