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

Van Zant – Red White & Blue (Live) 
Loud and Proud Records

Rating B

The name “Van Zant” is synonymous with Southern Rock.  Ronnie Van Zant was the leader of the genre, and the leader of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  His death in the infamous plane crash took his status from hero to legend.

When Skynyrd reformed, his younger brother Johnny took over lead vocals for the band.  Truth be told, Lynyrd Skynyrd without a Van Zant behind the mic would never have worked.  Only Johnny could fill Ronnie’s shoes.  Well, I suppose middle brother Donnie Van Zant could have filled them, but he was then the vocalist of 38 Special.  He learned a lot from his older brother, and with 38 Special he had huge commercial success.

In 1998, the two men joined up and released an album featuring two Van Zant’s titled Brother to Brother which was released to great commercial and critical success.  The duo returned in 2001 for Van Zant II, carrying the Southern Rock tradition with them.  Now, in 2016, Loud & Proud Records will release a real treasure, the Van Zant brothers live in concert from a 2006 gig at Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, Georgia.  It is the only known live in-concert recording by the band. 

In addition to the two aforementioned albums, the brothers had also dipped their toes in the country market.  They had some success with one of the songs featured on this recording, the Top 10 Country single “Help Somebody.”  They also looked back at the past and trotted out a couple of Skynyrd classics and a 38 number.  “Wild Eyed Southern Boys” sounds just like 38 Special, while “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Call me the Breeze” do justice to the original Skynyrd classics.

This ‘lost’ live album was discovered by Donnie’s 38 Special bandmate Larry Jungstron.  It was Larry who had bought recording equipment and recorded the show, with the brothers’ permission.  The plan had been to release these tracks shortly after the show was recorded, but plans fell through and it remained on the shelf.  “The plan was always to enjoy ourselves and have fun,” says Donnie, “and this recording captures a moment when we had a great night.”

This album is a mixture of Van Zant’s rocking roots, as well as their love of country music.  Donnie and Johnny knew their brother had always wanted to do a country record.  He died before that dream could come true.

They did it for Ronnie, but now, Loud & Proud has given the music to all of us!

Red White & Blue (Live) Track Listing:

1. Takin’ Up Space
2. Ain’t Nobody Gonna Tell Me What To Do
3. Sweet Mama
4. Wild Eyed Southern Boys (originally performed by 38 Special)
5. Things I Miss The Most
6. I Know My History
7. Help Somebody
8. Plain Jane
9. I Can’t Help Myself
10. I’m Doin’ Alright
11. Red White & Blue
12. My Kind Of Country
13. Call Me The Breeze (originally performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd)
14. Sweet Home Alabama (originally performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd)

By Jeb “I Can’t Help Myself” Wright