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Johnny Winter: A Blues Legend's Texas 'Roots'

In the late 1960s, Columbia Records won a bidding war to sign a young blues-rocker. More than 40 years and countless recording sessions later, Johnny Winter is still playing the blues.

Winter's latest album, just out, pays homage to the origins of that musical form: It's called Roots. Winter tells Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon that he fell in love with the blues early on, when he and his brother — rocker Edgar Winter — were growing up in Beaumont, Texas.

"Not many white people in Beaumont cared about the blues," he says. "I just liked the emotion and the feeling in the music. It was the most emotional music I'd ever heard."

Winter caught a break at age 17, when he went to see his idol B.B. King at a Beaumont club called The Raven.

"I went with my band, and I really wanted B.B. to hear me play, because I loved B.B.'s music and I wanted to show him what I could do. So I sent some of my friends over to ask him if it'd be okay," Winter says. "He was having tax problems at the time, and he thought, us being the only white people in there, that we'd come from the IRS to bust him for his taxes."

After some prodding, though, King relented — and invited Winter onstage to perform.

"He didn't know whether I could play or not," Winter says, chuckling. "I think he was just so glad that we didn't come to mess with him about his taxes, he didn't care."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Is It All Greek To You? Thank Medieval Monks, And The Bard, For The Phrase

Ben Zimmer, language columnist at The Wall Street Journal, explains the origin of the phrase "it's all Greek to me" — and shares a few variants from other languages.
NPR

Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
WAMU 88.5

Cutting Local Taxes in The District

The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.

NPR

Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

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