Going video-centric with Johnny Winter, The Damned

By Ricky Flake

This video-centric edition of Sound Check features a film about the late, great Johnny Winter and an anniversary look at The Damned before a mention of "one-hit wonders."

'Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty,' A Film by Greg Olliver (Megaforce Records/Secret Weapon Films, HHHHH)

Those of us who are longtime Johnny Winter fans are aware of the late guitar hero's special relationship to the blues, even during his time as a "rock 'n' roll star."

The film kicks off on Johnny's RV a few seconds before he comes up with the "Down & Dirty" title. The film covers the 2012 world tour, but there is plenty of archival footage, interviews (James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Billy Gibbons, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Warren Haynes, Joe Perry, Clive Davis, Tommy Shannon, Edgar Winter, guitar teacher Luther Nallie, Johnny's wife and more). There's over an hour of bonus material, too. The film is mind-blowing, revealing and musically satisfying, even if "Johnny Winter And Live" was Johnny's least-favorite album.

Winter fans and blues-backers will love this film.

'Don't You Wish that We were Dead,' The Damned (MVDvisual, HHHHH)

This May 20 DVD/Blu-Ray release was filmed over three years by "Lemmy" filmmaker Wes Orshoski, and it charts the complex history of the first U.K. punk band to release a record and cross the Atlantic. The Damned celebrated their 35th anniversary while some former members did their own anniversary tour and others battled cancer.

Your reviewer was following the Ramones, rather than English punk rockers; but The Damned was one of the most musically adept, fun bands to emerge from that scene. I didn't keep up with their many break-ups and personnel changes. Deep divisions between original drummer Rat Scabies and guitarist/clown prince Captain Sensible (originally the bassist before early guitarist Brian James left) are revealed. The Damned remains a UK band that didn't get its full due. This film tells the whole story.

One-hit wonders

Which insanely catchy one-hit songs are your favorites? The Seeds' "Pushin' Too Hard" and Question Mark & The Mysterians' "96 Tears" are two favorites, along with Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime" and The Bubble Puppy's "Hot Smoke & Sassafras." Some of these bands released other cool tunes, but many just cracked the Top 100 once for a variety of reasons.

Email me with your favorite one-hit wonder songs/artists, and I will mention them in an upcoming column.

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