JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business - 12" Vinyl LP Album

"Serious Business" gives you more of what made "Guitar Slinger" one of the best sellers in Alligator Records history - searing blues guitar, raw vocals, and the rampaging Winter attack. No horns, no background vocals, no strings, no synthesizers. Just Winter all the way! Includes "Master Mechanic", "Route 90". Nominated for a Grammy. This web page has photos of album covers, inner sleeves, record labels together with production details, musicians and track-listing.

Album Front Cover Photo of JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business
Album Front Cover Photo of JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business."
Album Description:

In 1985, blues legend Johnny Winter unleashed "Serious Business", a powerful 12" vinyl LP album that solidified his position as one of the most influential guitarists and vocalists in the blues genre. Released by Alligator Records, the album continued Winter's winning streak, offering a relentless display of searing blues guitar, impassioned vocals, and a fearless approach that showcased his unmatched talent. "Serious Business" remains a timeless testament to Winter's virtuosity and dedication to delivering unadulterated blues, devoid of embellishments.

Back to Basics

One of the defining features of "Serious Business" is its back-to-basics approach. Winter and his band stripped away any unnecessary frills, presenting an unapologetically raw and genuine blues experience. There were no horns, background vocals, strings, or synthesizers to divert the listener's attention. Instead, the focus was on the heart and soul of the music, with Johnny Winter leading the charge.

The Tracks

1. "Master Mechanic":
Kicking off the album, "Master Mechanic" serves as a blazing testament to Winter's exceptional guitar prowess. His fingers dance across the fretboard, effortlessly delivering scorching blues licks that draw the listener into his world of electrifying soundscapes. With a rhythm section that grooves in perfect harmony, this track sets the tone for the entire album.

2. "Route 90":
"Route 90" continues the relentless blues assault, with Winter's vocals dripping with emotion and grit. The track's title is a nod to the iconic U.S. Highway 90, known for its historical significance in American music history. Johnny Winter takes the listener on a journey down this musical highway, painting vivid images with his words and guitar.

The Lineup

- Johnny Winter (Guitar, Vocals): As the driving force behind the album, Johnny Winter's guitar skills are unparalleled. His signature slide guitar techniques and soulful vocals create a dynamic synergy that captures the essence of the blues.

- Ken Saydak (Piano): Ken Saydak's piano playing adds depth and texture to the album's sound, complementing Winter's guitar work with tasteful fills and captivating solos.

- Johnny B. Gayden (Bass): Providing a solid foundation for the band, Johnny B. Gayden's basslines anchor the music and create a cohesive rhythm section.

- Casey Jones (Drums): With a name as legendary as his drumming, Casey Jones drives the beat with impeccable timing, providing the backbone of each track.

- Jon Paris (Harmonica): Jon Paris' harmonica adds a touch of blues authenticity, enriching the overall sound and contributing to the album's captivating atmosphere.

Recognition and Impact

"Serious Business" earned Johnny Winter a well-deserved Grammy nomination, cementing his status as a blues icon. The album's critical acclaim and commercial success further solidified Winter's position as a leading figure in the blues genre, earning him a place among the pantheon of blues legends.

Essential Album Information For: JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business

Music Genre:


Label & Catalognr:

Alligator Records SNTF 948/Sonet (1985)

Media Format:

Record Format: 12" Vinyl Stereo Gramophone Record
Total Album (Cover+Record) weight: 230 gram  

Year & Country:

1985 Made in USA

JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business Production & Recording Information


Johnny Winter - producer

Bruce Iglauer - producer

Dick Shurman - producer

Dick Shurman was an American music producer who worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Doors, The Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane. He was known for his innovative production techniques and his ability to capture the unique sound of each band.

Shurman was born in New York City in 1943. He began his career as a record store clerk, where he met many of the musicians who would later become his clients. In 1966, he co-founded the record label Elektra/Asylum Records, where he produced some of the label's most successful albums, including The Doors' "Waiting for the Sun" and Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow".

Shurman's production style was characterized by his use of innovative studio techniques, such as multi-tracking and overdubbing. He also had a keen ear for detail, and he was always looking for ways to create a unique sound for each band.


In addition to his work with The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, Shurman also produced albums for a wide range of other artists, including The Grateful Dead, The Band, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He was also a co-founder of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in 1969.

Shurman's work had a profound impact on the sound of rock music in the 1960s and 1970s. He was one of the first producers to use studio techniques to create a truly psychedelic sound, and his work with The Doors helped to define the sound of the San Francisco psychedelic scene. Shurman's production techniques were also influential on the development of country rock and folk rock.

Shurman died in 2010 at the age of 66. He was a true pioneer of rock music production, and his work continues to inspire musicians today.

Shurman's work has been praised by many musicians and critics. In a 2010 article for Rolling Stone, David Fricke wrote that Shurman was "one of the most innovative and influential producers in rock history". He also noted that Shurman's "production techniques helped to define the sound of some of the most important albums of the 1960s and 1970s".

Shurman's legacy continues to inspire musicians today. In a 2019 interview, The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach said that Shurman was "one of his biggest influences". He also noted that Shurman's "production techniques helped to shape the sound of modern rock music".

Dick Shurman was a true pioneer of rock music production. His work helped to define the sound of some of the most important albums of the 1960s and 1970s, and his legacy continues to inspire musicians today.


Sound & Recording Engineers:

Justin Niebank - sound Engineer

Fred Breitberg – sound engineering for "Murdering Blues", "Unseen Eye"

Greg Calbi - mastering engineer

Recording Location:

Recorded at Streeterville Studios in Chicago, Illinois and at Red Label Studios in Winnetka, Illinois

Album Cover Design & Artwork:

Chris Garland – design


Ebet Roberts - photographer

Terrence Bert - photographer

Musicians on: JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business

Band-members, Musicians:

Johnny Winter – guitar, vocals

Ken Saydak – piano

Johnny B. Gayden – bass

Casey Jones – drums

Jon Paris – harmonica on "Murdering Blues", "Good Time Woman", "Unseen Eye", "Give It Back"

Track-listing of: JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business

  1. "Master Mechanic" (A.D. Prestage, Joe Shamwell, Walter Godbold) – 3:37
  2. "Sound the Bell" (Clarence Garlow, Eddie Shuler) – 3:23
  3. "Murdering Blues" (Doctor Clayton) – 5:02
  4. "It Ain't Your Business" (James Moore) – 3:50
  5. "Good Time Woman" (Johnny Winter) – 6:03
  6. "Unseen Eye" (Sonny Boy Williamson II) – 4:18
  7. "My Time After Awhile" (Bob Geddins) 6:13
  8. "Serious as a Heart Attack" (Johnny Winter) – 3:31
  9. "Give It Back" (Sonny Thompson) – 3:48
  10. "Route 90" (Clarence Garlow, Leon René) – 4:07

Front Cover Photo Of JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business


JOHNNY WINTER - Serious Business front cover photo
front cover photo

 Note: The photos on this page are taken from albums in my personal collection. Slight differences in color may exist due to the use of the camera's flash. Images can be zoomed in/out ( eg pinch with your fingers on a tablet or smartphone ).

Information for Johnny Winter Fans and record collectors

Review of Serious Business by Willie Gschwendner Part One

Nach mehr als drei Jahren Aufnahme-Abstinenz wieder zurück auf Rillen: Texas-Mann Johnny Winter, der seinen Blues in Beaumont bei Clarence Garlow von der Pike auf lernte, u. a. bei Muddy Waters' letzten vier Alben mitwirkte und auch zusammen mit Big Walter Norton, James Cotton und Willie Dixon Platten einspielte.

Abgesehen von Roy Buchanan ist er unzweifelhaft der beste weiße Bluesgitarrist im urbanen Stil, den es heute gibt, (bei Winter kann sich z. 8. Eric Clapton gewaltige Scheiben abschneiden, wenn er Blues spielt). Abgesehen von Ausflügen in die Rock-Szene wie mit Bruder Edgar (wobei er auch dort immer äußerst bluesig aber größer musizierte) blieb Johnny immer in die Blues-Szene integriert.

Er hat den Blues nie verlassen. Im Teenager-Alter kam er nach den Lehrjahren bei Garlow nach Chicago. Ende der sechziger Jahre war er dann wieder in Houston, Texas, zu finden, und in den Clubs im Süden sowie in den Platten-studios machte er sich nochmal einen Namen unter dem Pseudonym Texas Guitar Slim.

Die vorliegenden beiden Alben entstanden 1984/85 zusammen mit den Produzenten Bruce Iglauer und Dick Shurman. Johnny Winter mit seiner brettartigen E-Gitarre spielt darauf so viele unglaublich gute Soli, daß man einfach hingerissen ist. Er beherrscht "licks", die ihm viele bereits nachmachen, seine Ziehtöne gehen durch Mark und Bein, und er ist ein Meister der Slide-Spielweise. Auch seine rauhe Stimme, die er stets mit vollem Einsatz zu Gehör bringt, steht seinem Instrument in nichts nach, sein Timing, Feeling sind echt, ursprünglich. Er ist trotz seiner schlohweißen Haare und seiner (tätowierten) Albino-Haut "schwärzer" als so mancher Farbige und etlichen von ihnen gitarristisch uberlegen. Er fühlt und denkt wie sie — er ist unter ihnen aufgewachsen, sofem die Infor-mationen des Rezensenten stimmen.

Review of Serious Business by Willie Gschwendner Part 2

Mit dem weißen Keyboarder Ken Saydak, Bassist Johnny B. Gayden und Drummer Casey Jones (zu denen noch einige Gäste hinzustoßen), hat Johnny Winter auf beiden Alligator-Alben eine Rhythmus-Crew zur Hand, die in der bewährten Güte und Präzision ihres Spiels zum Besten zählt, was der moderne Blues aufbieten kann. Zusammen mit ihnen zieht er alle Register innerhalb urbaner Blues-Stile von Texas bis Chicago, von Soul bis Funk. Beide Platten sind in ihrer Art gleich gut — auf der ersteren gibt es besagte Gäste, bei der zweiten stößt nur Harpspieler Jon Paris hinzu. Zwei Stücke der ersten LP wurden mit der Bläser-Section "The Mellow Fellow Horns" aufgenommen, die Gene Barge arrangierte. Auf "Guitar Slinger" reicht Winters Palette vom Langsamen "I smell trouble" bis zur elementaren, elektrisierenden Wildheit von "Mad dog".

Dazwischen liegen alle anderen Dimensionen seines Spiels von bewundernswerter Vielseitigkeit: In "It's my life ...",,,My soul" und Muddy Waters' "lodine (mit Billy Branchs Harp) bestaunt man die Bandbreite seiner Slide-Gitarre, im lässig-schleppenden "Boot hill" läßt er sein kreischendes Instrument im "screaming Texas shuffle style" dröhnen, "Lights out" (mit Bargers rotzigem Sax) und "Don't take advantage . . ." sind fetzig-rockende Titel, das stürmische "Trick bag" ist aufregend "funky", und beim "Tränendrüsen"-Stück "Kiss tomorrow . . ." legt er seine "southem soul" bloß, wobei er eine romantisch-schöne Gitarren-Exhibition zupft, was in reizvollem Kontrast zu seinem harschen Organ steht (vielleicht ist diese Einspielung nicht so sehr nach dem Geschmack mancher Blues-Puristen).

Ist "Guitar Stinger" musikalisch vielseitiger, so wirkt "Serlous Business" aus der Sicht des Blues "purer": Johnny Winters "wirbelsäulenzerbröselnde" Slide-Techniken und die anpassungs-fähige, heftige Harp von Jon Paris registriert man beim langsamen "Murdering Blues", Winters Komposition "Good time woman", "Unseen eye" und "Give me back", extrem langsam und typisch texanisch geht's zu bei "My time after awhile" (Johnnys Solo, stilistisch an den Texas-Tornado Albert Collins erinnernd, reißt garantiert jeden vom Stuhl!), bei "Master mechanic" funkt es kräftig, über schnellen, rockigen "beats" entfalten sich "Sound the bell" (diese Ziehtöne!) und "Serious . ." (wieder ein irres Gitarrensolo), der Boogie "rollt" in _lt ain't your business", und an Chuck Berry erinnert "Route 90" seines Lehrers Clarence Garlow, Zusammen mit der Sonny-Terry-LP "Whoopin— ist das ohne Zweifel "the best of Winter" — nicht mehr und nicht weniger. Mach' weiter so, fellow!

Willie Gschwendner

JOHNNY WINTER - Vinyl and CD Discography and Album Cover Gallery

Johnny Winter , was an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Best known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time'. He was also known for his collaborations with other musicians, including Muddy Waters and Edgar Winter. Winter's career spanned several decades and he released numerous albums throughout his lifetime. He died on 16 July 2014.