"Live at Knebworth '76" (Eagle Rock; 2021)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

You may have seen the legendary performance of Lynyrd Skynyrd at Knebworth in Knebworth, England before. However, if you did, you probably saw it in the 1996 film, "Freebird." There, the live performance was interspersed in pieces throughout with interviews and other clips that chopped up the concert experience.

Now, thanks to Eagle Rock, you can see (and hear) the entire performance in its entirety.

Lynyrd Skynyrd played Knebworth back in August of 1976 during a festival that also featured Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, 10cc, and The Rolling Stones. It was one of their greatest performances. It's been said that an audience gets back the energy it gives to a band, and this performance is a classic example of that. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people made up the audience that day. You can hear them roaring throughout the entire concert. In return, Lynyrd Skynyrd gave them a truly memorable show.

Throughout the eleven tracks and well over an hour of music captured herein, the band delivers some of their biggest hits, including "Workin' for MCA," "Saturday Night Special," "Gimme Three Steps," "Sweet Home Alabama" and, of course, a thirteen-and-a-half minute version of "Freebird." And they do so with high energy and amazing musicianship. The band is dead-on throughout.

"Live at Knebworth '76" almost sounds like a studio-recorded album, the performance and the quality are so good. Too good, in fact, at times. The massive audience screams, whistles and cheers clearly throughout much of the recording, sounding like they're either on a roller coaster or at a Beatles concert.

Lynyrd Skynyrd fans will love having the complete, uncut '76 concert to enjoy in full. And the Blu-Ray edition also includes the 2018 documentary, "If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd," as an added bonus.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Ronnie Van Zant – lead vocals; Gary Rossington – guitars; Allen Collins - guitars; Steve Gaines - guitar/backing vocals; Artimus Pyle - drums/percussion; Leon Wilkeson - bass/backing vocals; Billy Powell - keyboards/piano.

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"Last of a Dyin' Breed" (Roadrunner; 2012)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Play some Skynyrd! Yeah, you've heard it said before -- well, there's a reason. Skynyrd has been around for a long time and they've got plenty of hits to keep them in heavy rotation on the classic rock stations but these Southern boys aren't ones to rest on their laurels. This is their thirteenth disc and they've updated their sound to meet the current Southern rock fans request. Its still Skynyrd and this disc might sound a little more countrified because it's slowed down in a few parts but the music is still great and the songs tell a story, just like you'd expect 'em to.

Familiar names such as Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington and Michael Cartellone still help to round out the band. John 5 even helped out on this disc and it's good to see them embrace guitar playing outside of their normal circle. The solos are solid and anybody wanting to learn some gritty guitar should grab the tablature to a few of these songs.

Most of the time you can tell how a song is going to play out. If it starts with a tough riff expect a grooving song. It's how Skynyrd has keep their sound traditional while continuing to update from then till now. Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn't get too political, but you can tell their Southern hospitality extends to those who need help because they've earned it. This disc has bonus tracks beyond the eleven that are offered.

It's Skynyrd. Grab the extra Southern fried guitar and a 24-pack of your favorite brew and invite the kin over. This is the reason the South was invented.

Download these tracks: "Last of a Dyin' Breed," "Homegrown," "Ready To Fly," "Good Teacher," "Nothing Comes Easy," "Honey Hole," and "Poor Man's Dream."

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Johnny Van Zant – lead vocals, Gary Rossington – guitars, Rickey Medlocke – guitars, Michael Cartellone – drums, Johnny Colt – bass, Mark Matejka – guitars, Peter Keys – keyboards, John Lowery (aka "John 5") – additional guitar.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2012 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.