RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Johnny Van Zant – Round Two & The Last of the Wild Ones
Rock Candy Records

Round Two: C
Last of the Wild Ones: B-

Current vocalist for Lynyrd Skynrd, Johnny Van Zant, had a solo career before replacing his brother Ronnie in the band.  Rock Candy Records has re-released two of Johnny’s solo efforts, Round Two and The Last of the Wild Ones.  While Van Zant never had the success on his own that his brothers, Ronnie and Donnie (38 Special) had, these albums are a trip back in time to Johnny’s roots.  One can hear his big brothers influences, yet his quest was not solely a Southern Rock vibe as Van Zant mixed in modern rock of the day, as well.

Round Two:
On this release, Johnny was attempting to break into the Top 40 pop rock charts.  Produced by Kevin Elson, the album attempts, but fails, to catapult Van Zant to the world stage.  Opening track, “(Who’s) Right or Wrong” is the best tune on the disc.  A remake of the Beatles “Drive My Car” does not come off feeling, or sounding, quite right.  Even guest artists Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry of Journey could not take this one into the spotlight.  All in all, it is a fair effort but Johnny would have been better off sticking to his roots.

Last of the Wild Ones
Johnny Van Zant enlisted veteran producer Al Kooper to produce this album and together they went back to the Southern Rock sound – for the most part.  “Good Girls Turning Bad,” “Danger Zone” and “Last of the Wild Ones” really showcased Johnny’s potential.  Still, the album didn’t take the world by storm.  This one, however, features several songs co-written by brother Donnie of 38 Special that give the album a more authentic Van Zant feel. 

By Jeb Wright