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Lynyrd Skynyrd: God And Guns (Special Edition) - Lynyrd Skynyrd

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Genre: Rock - Classic Rock / Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd / Deluxe Edition / Audio CD released 2009-09-28 at Roadrunner

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    3 Reviews
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      08.04.2010 20:18
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      A disappointing new album by veteran southern rockers

      Those of you who know a little about music will know that Lynyrd Skynyrd broke up after the tragic death of three of their principle founding members. Their aeroplane crashed after running out of fuel in 1977 - Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact. In 1987 they got back together, albeit with some help from friends and family. Amazingly enough Lynyrd Skynyrd are still going strong today after several years of making new music. The band is now fronted by Johnny Van Zant, brother of original singer Ronnie and contains only one original member - Garry Rossington. So what do the current line-up sound like in relation to the old band? Not a huge amount different to be honest. The modern production values are all here, but unfortunately although the sound is good, the songwriting is pretty rudimentary. The band sound more like a Skynyrd tribute (essentially what the reformed group started out to be in the first place) as opposed to a group producing new classics. But then I'm sure you weren't expecting more classics like Freebird and Sweet Home Alabama from the new group, here they seem to be stealing from themselves more than anything. It doesn't help either that nearly every song sounds a lot like 'Gimme Back My Bullets' either. There is almost no originality on the album whatsoever, every song sounds like the next and the lyrics are without doubt some of the worst on any Skynyrd album. There's the screaming guitars and funky southern rock beats, but we've heard it all before. It all gets a little ludicrous with the thoroughly irresponsible 'Gods and Guns' which seems to ask for no rules over the use of handguns whatsoever. 'God and Guns (God and Guns) / Keep us strong /That's what this country, lord was founded on /Well we might as well give up and run / If we let 'em take our God and guns / Yeah we might as well give up and run / If we let 'em take our God and guns! - I mean what?! C'mon - Columbine? Past glories aside, Skynyrd have made a new album which might excite Southern rockers everywhere, but it just doesn't cut the mustard with the casual listener. I certainly preferred 2003's 'Vicious Cycle' which had some much better songs on it. There really is only so many songs you can write about how great the South is and how much you want to enjoy guns. It's an incredibly disappointing album after the pretty good 'Vicious Cycle', maybe I'm being a little harsh, but if you want to hear a great Skynyrd album you may as well stick to 1975's 'Nuthin' Fancy' or the classic '73 album Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd. Disappointing really as I was expecting much better from Skynyrd this time around. I'm sure they are a great live band and I am yet to catch their live act, its just in my opinion this album doesn't really cut the mustard. tracks: 1. Still Unbroken 2. Simple Life 3. Little Thing Called You 4. Southern Ways 5. Skynyrd Nation 6. Unwrite That Song 7. Floyd 8. That Ain't My America 9. Comin' Back For More 10. God & Guns 11. Storm 12. Gifted Hands

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        06.10.2009 23:46
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        Buy God & Guns. You'll not regret it.

        Gods And Guns 2 CD set. Released on Roadrunner, RR7859-5. £8.89 from play.com Lynyrd Skynyrd. Now there's a name to conjure with. Whisper it into the ear of a Yankee Liberal and stand back and watch as he turns puce with rage. Regarded in equal measure as either the greatest of all the southern bands, or ridiculed as just a bunch of gunwavinghictownredneck dinosaurs, Skynyrd are up there with the Springsteens of this world as the creators of one of the most misunderstood songs ever written. In fact a song that is so misunderstood even one of our very own extreme right wing politicians has it as his ringtone (I'm afraid Sweet Home Alabama isn't the song y'all think it is boys). And they've gone and done it again on God & Guns. Skynyrd were apparently never going to regain the former glories of the band that produced Street Survivors. Accordingly, they've spent a long time, post-plane crash, touring the nostalgia circuit playing gigs that have pandered to the good ol' boy's need of a fix of Freebird and putting out occasional albums that have been disappointing to say the least. In short, things had got just a little flat. Then they go and release God & Guns. The best damn album Skynyrd have done in years. If you're expecting the classic sound of pre-plane crash Skynyrd, forget it. This is tougher, being more akin to Marauder era Blackfoot. However, the album's still a fine southern platter, still recognisably Skynyrd, being infused with their classic piano and slide guitar. The bluegrass, blues, country and gospel influences still stick out a mile, and it's all wrapped up in a big fat heavy guitar sound that would have no trouble weighing in at a ton. As you'd expect from a band of such collective experience, it's all good singin', good playin'. Van Zant's voice doesn't have the raw country quality of his late bruv, and to be fair, the album is better for it. And they still have the lovely Honkettes too. My life is complete. The song writing still passionately illuminates the concerns of the southern working man and it's that passion that makes this album great. The events of the past year have obviously added a bit of bite and bile to the Skynyrd quill. If you think, however, that this is a paean to the old southern KKK traditions and values, you'll be mistaken. God & Guns is more a howl of rage for the working class man, a cry against the erosion of family life and the deconstruction of good old fashioned values of common decency and honesty. There's nothing new or original here (I had great fun trying to put a finger on where some songs got their influences from). Unwrite That Song has Seeger all over it. Simple Life would fit comfortably on any Kid Rock album and God & Guns isn't that far removed from Nickelback's Photograph and it's all soaked through with the old Skynyrd like the wood from old, well used whiskey kegs. It's not a record that could be described as genre defining, but then, that's the point, surely? What it is, though, is passionate and honest. So what if they have southern hic town accents and uncomplicated attitudes, the themes and stories could just as easily apply to Cornwall. At least one song on here will raise an eyebrow, namely God & Guns. That's the contender for the most misunderstood song and has already been described as "pandering to the redneck (im)moral majority" (they read the lyric then, eh?). At over 78 minutes, the double disc edition of God & Guns offers exceptional value. Better still, apart from the three live tracks, the stuff on the bonus disc would've fit perfectly on the main album. Cracking stuff. The packaging is top order too. I have just two incy wincy little niggles. The first is to do with material on the bonus disc. I would've preferred to have had 3 new studio tracks instead of the live tracks offered. I'm sure there would have been a shed load of stuff left out of the final mix to pick from. The live stuff, good as it is, could've done as b-sides. The other niggle is to do with the title track, God & Guns. I can't help but feel that if it could've been done with just a lead vocal and acoustic slide picker, like Four Walls of Raiford, it would've been even better. If I could pick country blues slide myself I would give it a try at my local bar's open mike night. I reckon it would go down a storm. In fact, I might just do that. To sum up. Skynyrd were never going to match any of their early stuff, but if I were to recommend a Skynyrd album to anyone, I would have to tell them to get Pronounced..., but God & Guns should go with it. They'll then get the best of the first and last of Skynyrd. Even as a simple English man I sympathise with a lot of the sentiments aired on this album. I too wish people would leave me and my kin alone. Buy God & Guns. You'll not regret it. Those good ol' wild eyed southern boys are back. And how! I love it!

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        • More +
          02.10.2009 17:42
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          Read review.

          **Introduction** On 29th September 2009, Six years after Vicious Cycle, Lynyrd Skynyrd released their twelfth studio album "God and Guns", You may wonder why so long between albums, well a long break in between albums is nothing new for Lynyrd Skynyrd who have experienced more tragedy and heartache In several periods than most bands experience in their whole career. First there was the plane crash in 1977 which wiped out the original vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines Cassie Gaines and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact; It wasn't until 1987 that the Lynyrd Skynyrd name was returned with Johnny Van Zant as lead vocalist, Gary Rossington on guitar, Leon Wilkeson on Bass, Ed King on guitar, Billy Powell on Piano and Keys and Artimus Pyle on drums. They released their comeback album in 1991 simply called "Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991". Since then they have released six more albums and have gone on with a number of line up changes due to deaths. Current members Johnny Van Zant - lead vocals (1987-present) Gary Rossington - guitars (1964-1977, 1987-present) Rickey Medlocke - drums, guitars, backing vocals (1970-1971, 1996-present) Mark Matejka - guitars, backing vocals (2006-present) Robert Kearns - bass, backing vocals (2009-present) Michael Cartellone - drums (1999-present) Peter Keys - keyboards (2009-present) **God and Guns** Gods & Guns CD DISC 1: 1. Still Unbroken 2. Simple Life 3. Little Thing Called You 4. Southern Ways 5. Skynyrd Nation 6. Unwrite That Song 7. Floyd 8. That Ain't My America 9. Comin' Back For More 10. God & Guns 11. Storm 12. Gifted Hands Gods & Guns Songs DISC 2: 1. Bang Bang 2. Raining In My Heartland 3. Hobo Kinda Man 4. Red White & Blue [Live] - (live) 5. Call Me Breeze [Live] - (live) 6. Sweet Home Alabama [Live] - (live) The new Lynyrd Skynyrd album features guest guitar from John 5 who has worked with the likes of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie in the past so this is a turn up for the books considering the different sound of the band compared to those. When I heard about the new album back just before the summer I was really pleased that there would be a new Lynyrd Skynyrd album out as I had never bought a new album from them before as I had come to love their music after the releases. The Lead single of the album is "Still Unbroken" which opens this of in an epic way with a barnstorming performance of up tempo Southern Rock. This track really sums up the band with the subject being managing to stay strong despite all the things that have happened. Given how many deaths and problems there have been in the band you really get the sense of this song. Great Start. Simple Life is the second single from the album and follows on as the second track, on the album. This is a slightly lighter hearted moment from the opening track. On Simple Life Johnny sings about the things in life that everyone wants, Family, friends and being able to kick back now and again and have a relaxed time. This is another great opening track. Little thing called you is up next and this is one of the most impressive tracks on the album, It tells the story of finding out that your partner is cheating on you and your reaction to them and how you feel about them now having found out. This has the trademark Lynyrd Skynyrd flow and some great guitar work from Gary Rossington, Ricky Medlocke and Guest John 5. Southern Ways is typical Southern Rock Skynyrd, It has a real feel good vibe thanks to the love of the Southern Life which really comes through in Johnny Van Zant's vocals. This has a superb flow and has a great piano part around the middle and the feel of the song is very similar to their classic "Sweet Home Alabama" This keeps up the very strong start to the album. Skynyrd Nation is a brilliant track with a tribute to the fans who they see when they arrive at a venue hours before the gig they are due to play. The guitar riffs are exceptionally catchy and the overall track is incredibly catchy. What they are saying is that the fans treat one of their concerts as an event where people get together before hand. Brilliant stuff. Unwrite That Song came about when they were going to the studio to write songs for the album and In response to Johnny, Gary Rossington said "yeah lets go unwrite that song" And they instantly thought wow, that sounds great,. Since I bought the album yesterday this is one track I have been playing so much. It's a brilliant ballad that is one of their best ever tracks. It tells the story of when you hear a song that is the same as what you were feeling but your relationship is over. Jerry Douglas does a great job on pedal steel guitar with this track and God and Guns. Floyd changes the mood significantly with a really dark feel which features guest vocals from Rob Zombie who sings the chorus. This track is about a guy in a small town who everybody knows and knows not to mess with him. This has some great melodies and the bass part at the end of the songs is really interesting and a nice addition. "That Ain't my America" is a patriotic song with a difference, This sees Johnny Van Zant waxing lyrical that even though the band may not agree with a lot of things going on in America they still love their own country, This is a really impressive track and is not the first time they have had a song about their love for their country. A great flowing track. Comin Back for more is an up tempo track with a more Rock feel than their usual Southern Rock, this sounds a lot like the material on their 2003 album Vicious Cycle. This has some great drumming and the guitar melodies are as good as ever. This carries on from the opening "Still Unbroken" about staying strong despite things going wrong in your life. God and Guns is a bluesy ode to god and guns about a man of modest means who swears by God and Guns and with guns not in a blood thirsty way but as a means of protection from intruders to their home. This is another very slice of Lynyrd Skynyrd rock and I really like the Bluesy slide from Jerry Douglas who is part of Alison Krauss' band. Storm is up next and this is within the same subject as The opening "Still Unbroken" and Comin' Back in that it's about staying strong throughout the bad times as the good times will come. This is testament to the ability to get over bad times and stay strong because they sure have had some stuff to deal with in their life's and have stayed strong throughout. Gifted Hands is a great closer to the standard version of the album, It has the trademark guitar work from Gary Rossington and great musical progression. This really shows their class as musicians and the orchestra provides a lovely addition to the track. This is a great closer to the album and one of the top tracks on God And Guns. **Special Edition** If A Special Edition of an album comes out I would much prefer that it was released on the same day as the standard version as then you know which album you want to buy and there's none of this buying the special edition when you have already bought the standard one because the special edition comes out later. With the six tracks on the second disc of the special edition of "God & Guns" you get a mix of tracks that did not make the standard version and live versions of "Red White & Blue" and Sweet Home Alabama" These additions make the album even more impressive and the live tracks really showcase their musical ability. Sweet Home Alabama is over 30 years old but it still sounds so great live and they can still change the song a little. Not one of these additional tracks should not be here as they all have something about them. Bang Bang Raining in My Heartland Hobo Kinda Man Red White and Blue (Live) Sweet Home Alabama (Live) **Overall** Now we come to the end of my review of Lynyrd Skynyrd's twelfth studio album and it's fair to say that had the Plane Crash not happened there would have been more than 12 studio albums in 36 years but despite all the trauma's that they have experienced as a band they still remain all about the music even though there is only one remaining member in Gary Rossington, This music is unmistakably Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Van Zant continues to be a great tribute to his brother. Also posted on ciao as jcneil.

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        • Product Details

          Disc #1 Tracklisting
          1 Still Unbroken
          2 Simple Life
          3 Little Thing Called You
          4 Southern Ways
          5 Skynyrd Nation
          6 Unwrite That Song
          7 Floyd
          8 That Ain't My America
          9 Comin' Back For More
          10 God & Guns
          11 Storm
          12 Gifted Hands

          Disc #2 Tracklisting
          1 Bang Bang
          2 Raining In My Heartland
          3 Hobo Kinda Man
          4 Red White And Blue (live)
          5 Call Me The Breeze (live)
          6 Sweet Home Alabama (live)