Picks and Pans Review: Let Me in

updated 09/23/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/23/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Johnny Winter

When it comes to bluesmen, the word legend is used so often that it has the credibility of a polygamist's "I do." But any other description of this old Texan just won't fit.

At 47, Winter is still playing some of the meanest, leanest blues rock around, and while he's probably best seen live in some low-ceilinged, sweaty beer joint in Waco, this rip-snorter of a record will do just fine.

Winter starts off with "Illustrated Man," dedicated to that tattooed someone we all know and are scared to death of. The pace rarely slackens.

We didn't need another version of Robert Parker's "Barefootin'," but Winter revives even that tune, picking up the tempo in high-stepping fashion.

For someone whose heated guitar playing evokes images of a scorchingly hot beach at midday, Winter uses a cool, contained group of supporting musicians, including Billy Branch on harmonica. Branch is a factor on such songs as "If You Got a Good Woman," even while Winter's nasty slide guitar is lighting up the scoreboard.

Throw in the white-haired guitar wizard's getting-down-to-business vocal rumble, and it's clear: Some people play the blues; others, like Winter, live and breath the music. (Pointblank/ Charisma)

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