Title - Lynyrd Skynyrd: Nothing Comes Easy 1991-2012 [5CD]
Artist - Lynyrd Skynyrd
For those not in the know, with roots going back to 1964 when this fledgling bunch of Southern Rockers from Jacksonville, Florida were playing colleges before graduating to local bars, Lynyrd Skynyrd were primed for international success with their debut record in 1973.
Tragically, their career was cut short in October 1977 when their plane crashed at the outset of their Street Survivors tour. The surviving members regrouped in 1987 for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour.
This brand new 5CD collection box-set contains digitally remastered and expanded editions of the Southern Rock band's albums: Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991, The Last Rebel (1993), God And Guns (2009), the bonus God And Guns EP, and Last Of A Dyin' Breed (2012).
CD 1: Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 (1991)
1. 'SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING'
2. 'KEEPING THE FAITH'
3. 'SOUTHERN WOMEN'
4. 'PURE & SIMPLE'
5. 'I’VE SEEN ENOUGH'
6. 'GOOD THING'
7. 'MONEY MAN'
8. 'BACKSTREET CRAWLER'
9. 'IT’S A KILLER'
10. 'MAMA (AFRAID TO SAY GOODBYE)'
11. 'END OF THE ROAD'
12. 'KEEPING THE FAITH' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
For my money, and a lover of all-things southern rock, 1991 is a great release that, sure, features a lot of the bands surviving members along with new recruits, but each and every person brings their all as they play some good solid southern rock music.
There are plenty of sick leads, grooving rhythms and heavy beats and the album, as a whole, is consistently good and really says a lot of the musicians in the band that they could retain that level of quality; after all those years of injuries and solo projects.
Of course, 1991 does not sound like old school '70s Lynyrd Skynyrd and there I think lies the main issue with this record (for a lot of "fans"). People want that kick of nostalgia and an album like this does not do that.
This was a band moving on from the past instead of reliving it and is the main reason why I enjoyed it as much as I did, in truth. Johnny's lyrics aren't quite as good as his brothers for he seems to lack the subtlety that made Ronnie so popular, but he does know how to write a good catchy chorus and can sing just as good, that's for darn sure.
Fronted by Johnny Van Zandt, younger brother of inimitable Skynyrd singer and front man Ronnie Van Zandt, he was joined by original band members Gary Rossington on guitar, Ed King on guitar, Leon Wilkeson on bass, Billy Powell on keyboards and Artimus Pyle on drums for Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991.
CD 2: The Last Rebel (1993)
1. 'GOOD LOVIN’S HARD TO FIND'
2. 'ONE THING'
3. 'CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY'
4. 'BEST THING’S IN LIFE'
5. 'THE LAST REBEL'
6. 'OUTTA HELL IN MY DODGE'
7. 'KISS YOUR FREEDOM GOODBYE'
8. 'SOUTH OF HEAVEN'
9. 'LOVE DON’T ALWAYS COME EASY'
10. 'BORN TO RUN'
11. 'THE LAST REBEL' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
12. 'THE LAST REBEL' (ACOUSTIC) - Bonus Track
13. 'BORN TO RUN' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
The sophomore studio album by the reformed Skynyrd Band (their seventh album, and second for Atlantic, and included the singles ‘Good Lovin’s Hard To Find’ and ‘Born To Run’ and which now features three bonus tracks) came two years later, and it was also the first to feature Johnny Van Zant's now familiar growl in his voice.
Oh, and The Last Rebel, by their own admission, is Gary Rossington, the lone survivor of the groups original nucleus, as Allen Collins had recently died.
The album has a country music feel to it, if you gave country music a kick in the ass and all in all is a mighty fine follow up to 1991, for my liking.
Indeed, both thus far were mighty worthy of the Skynyrd legacy. So try to judge this on its own merits, because the original band was all but gone, and these guys were never trying to "copy" them. They were just doing their own thing and they're doing it bloody well!
CD 3: Gods & Guns (2009)
1. 'STILL UNBROKEN'
2. 'SIMPLE LIFE'
3. 'LITTLE THING CALLED YOU'
4. 'SOUTHERN WAYS'
5. 'SKYNYRD NATION'
6. 'UNWRITE THAT SONG'
8. 'THAT AIN’T MY AMERICA'
9. 'COMIN’ BACK FOR MORE'
10. 'GOD & GUNS'
12. 'GIFTED HANDS'
13. 'STILL UNBROKEN' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
On Gods & Guns (which was also their highest charting release since 1977’s Street Survivors, peaking at #18 on the U.S. Billboard chart), and with this restored Skynyrd sound, you get songs like 'Still Unbroken' (as in, they've been through hell and back, but they are still unbroken) and the lyrically poignant 'Skynyrd Nation' (a song about how the Skynyrd tradition has been carried on, even from 1st generation fans, all the way up through 2nd and even now 3rd generation fans).
Then there's the title song, 'God & Guns,' which caused a little controversy due to Ronnie Van Zant having had the song 'Saturday Night Special'. So, just how do you reconcile the two songs? You don't! Simply out, you enjoy them both for what they are.
The album, which was dedicated to Billy Powell, and to bassist Ean Evans who sadly both died during the making of this album, admittedly features a few other tracks similar to prior work from Ronnie, none more so than his 'Railroad Song' and 'That Ain't my America,' but come the end, and taken for what it is, it's still a mighty fine slice of American Southern Pie.
CD 4: God & Guns - Bonus EP
1. 'BANG BANG'
2. 'RAINING IN MY HEARTLAND'
3. 'HOBO KINDA MAN'
4. 'RED WHITE & BLUE' (LIVE)
5. 'CALL ME THE BREEZE' (LIVE)
6. 'SWEET HOME ALABAMA' (LIVE)
The bonus tracks from the special edition of Gods & Guns are included here on the fourth disc, and include the barnstorming 'Bang Bang’, the tender assault of ‘Raining In My Heartland’, the southern hoedown rock of ‘Hobo Kinda Man’, plus three live tracks recorded at the Freedom Hall in Lousiville, Kentucky: ‘Red White & Blue.’ JJ Cale’s ‘Call Me The Breeze,’ and the perennial classic, ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
CD 5: Last Of A Dyin' Breed (2012)
1. 'LAST OF A DYIN’ BREED'
2. 'ONE DAY AT A TIME'
4. 'READY TO FLY'
5. 'MISSISSIPPI BLOOD'
6. 'GOOD TEACHER'
7. 'SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR'
8. 'LIFE’S TWISTED'
9. 'NOTHING COMES EASY'
10. 'HONEY HOLE'
11. 'START LIVIN’ LIFE AGAIN'
12. 'POOR MAN’S DREAM' - Bonus Track
13. 'DO IT UP LIGHT' - Bonus Track
14. 'SAD SONGS' - Bonus Track
15. 'LOW DOWN DIRTY' - Bonus Track
16. 'SKYNYRD NATION (LIVE) - Bonus Track
17. 'GIMME THREE STEPS' (LIVE) - Bonus Track
All the usual themes are here on their fourteenth studio album, Last Of A Dyin' Breed: Defiance ('Last of a Dyin' Breed'), Death ('Ready To Fly'), tales of broken America ('Something To Live For'/'Nothing Comes Easy'), Family ('Good Teacher'), and, of course, the challenges of life within both 'One Day At A Time' and 'Life's Twisted'.
Furthermore, it's an album of many moods, from the hope of 'Poor Mans Dream' to the world weary 'Start Livin Life Again', the good time 'Doin It Up Right'/'Homegrown' and 'Mississippi Blood,' to the downright Lecherous 'Honey Hole'.
It's truly such a magnificently vibrant southern rock album capturing every emotion, of which you can fully envisage them sitting back on the porch, throwing back a few beers while playing the tracks as demos in early 2011.
Again produced by Bob Marlette and released on Roadrunner Records, the title track was released as the lead single. Released in various formats, including a Classic Rock magazine “fanpack”, this version includes six bonus tracks from the album: ‘Poor Man’s Dream’, ‘Do It Up Light’, ‘Sad Songs’, ‘Low Down Dirty’, ‘Skynyrd Nation’ (Live) and fittingly finishing off with a live rendition of a track from their 1973 debut, (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd), the joyously rockin' fun of ‘Gimme Three Steps’.
Official 5CD Purchase Link