Johnny Winter, Dr. John and a must-see PBS series

By Ricky Flake

This week's Sound Check opens up with my review of a 1987 Swedish concert from Johnny Winter that also features New Orleans' Dr. John. The next review concerns a new release from quadriplegic CML survivor Gooch Nelson and his band. The closing paragraphs are your reviewer's attempt to alert readers about a PBS series some may be unfamiliar with.

'Live In Sweden 1987,' Johnny Winter & Dr. John (MVDvisual, HHHH)

This April 22 DVD package (also available on CD minus the 1972 bonus song) presents guitarist/vocalist Johnny Winter and his band (bassist/harmonicat Jon Paris and drummer Tom Compton) aided and abetted by Dr. John on piano and vocals.

Dr. John's "You Lie Too Much" and Johnny's "Mojo Boogie," "Don't Take Advantage of Me" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" are my favorites. This is a good program for Johnny Winter fans. Now I'm waiting to see if any live footage with the best line-up of "Johnny Winter And" can be found and restored.

'Comin' Home,' Gooch & The Motion (Blacbird/Universal Records, HHHH)

Ryan "Gooch" Nelson is a quadriplegic cancer survivor, and he is the first artist on the roster of the new Blacbird/Universal label. The February album was produced by nine-time Grammy winner Joe Nicolo. There are numerous musical supporters onboard, including bassist Kenny Aaronson, drummers Butch Serriani, David Uosikkinen and Andy "Funky Drummer" Kravits and more.

Gooch has a deep but appealing singing voice while playing slide guitar on his lap using a special slide and adds harmonica. My favorite tunes are the boogie-powered "Jersey Mudd," a new "Ramble On" adorned by Adam Monaco's mandolin, "Diamonds On My Windshield" (with a familiar bass line) and new versions of two blues standards: "Shake 'Em On Down" and "Sitting On Top Of The World."

Blues fans will love both of these presentations.

Doc Martin

This excellent series airs on Mississippi Public Broadcasting on Thursday nights, with the same episode repeating on Saturday evenings. The show stars Martin Clunes as Dr. Martin Ellingham, a London surgeon who relocates to Portwenn, a picturesque seaside village. He becomes the town's GP and is a final diagnostician with virtually no bedside manner or social skills. He eventually becomes romantically involved with pretty schoolmistress Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz), but his social inability proves problematic there, as well.

The villagers eventually learn to respect his medical abilities, even as they wish he was less formal and folksier. Martin encounters several interesting, eccentric villagers per episode.

MPB currently is airing Season Three of the show, which is alternately funny, frustrating and wonderful.

Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at flakericky@gmail.com.