Together with 1970's JOHNNY WINTER AND one of the definitive albums of Johnny Winter's '70s tenure on Columbia Records, 1974's SAINTS AND SINNERS is an unpretentious slab of good old-fashioned guitar boogie. Winter's first release after a self-induced drying-out session brought on by his well-publicized addiction problems, SAINTS AND SINNERS seems almost deliberately low-key.
With only two compositions of his own--plus another, "Rollin' Cross the Country," co-written with Dan Hartman, who plays bass, drums, and guitar on the track--Winter runs through a loose collection of rock & roll and blues covers. "Boney Maronie," the Stones' slinky "Stray Cat Blues," the Coasters' "Riot in Cell Block #9," and Allan Toussaint's "Blinded By Love" are fun romps, but Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days" and his own "Bad Luck Situation" seem to allude to Winter's personal life with an unflinching eye. The guitar-and-voice session outtake "Dirty" is added, and it's one of the most harrowing things Winter has ever done.