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Winters brothers honored with Blues Trail marker

LELAND — Blues-rock guitarist Johnny Winter and singer-keyboardist brother Edgar Winter were honored yesterday with the placing of a Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Leland.

The dedication site is the address where the Winter brothers’ father and grandfather once operated a cotton brokerage firm. The dedication ceremony followed yesterday’s Highway 61 Blues Festival, where Johnny Winter appears as the headliner.

The Winter family was prominent in local social, civic and business circles and was also well known for its musical endeavors.

Johnny and Edgar’s father, John Dawson Winter Jr., played and sang at churches, weddings, Kiwanis and Rotary Club gatherings and other events, including neighborhood front porch concerts with his family at the Winter home. He served as mayor of Leland until he left to serve in the U.S. Army in World War II.

Winter Sr., a native of Coffeeville, had been a partner in the Winter-Mann Co., which later became J.D. Winter & Son. The company sold locally produced cotton to other markets.

Johnny Winter was born in 1944 while his father was away in the service. His mother, Edwina Holland Winter, chose to go to a hospital in her hometown of Beaumont, Texas, for his birth, as well as that of Edgar in 1946. The Winters then moved permanently to Beaumont.

With encouragement from their parents, the Winter brothers began performing as youngsters and were already recording while still in their teens. The self-titled album, “Johnny Winter,” created a sensation upon its release in 1969, establishing Winter as a premier figure in high-energy, blues-rock circles. Multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter appeared on the following album, “Second Winter,” and began recording with his own groups.

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