Artimus Pyle

Artimus Venomus

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Usually, when a rock drummer steps out from behind the kit to assume the forefront as a solo artist, it means it's time for fans to run for cover. However, this is certainly not the case with ex-Lynyrd Skynyrd timekeeper Artimus Pyle. It's been a cushy 24 years between Pyle's last solo studio set and the arrival of Artimus Venomus -- but the wait has been worth it. In fact, Pyle's 2007 solo set is arguably the strongest and most Skynyrd-sounding of any of the countless albums that the reunited Skynyrd -- and it's various members' solo albums -- have issued in the wake of Street Survivors. With Pyle having penned or co-penned the majority of the songs (and also handling most of the lead vocals, as well), the album is certainly one of the quirkiest Skynyrd-related releases yet, as evidenced by such tracks as "Blood Sucking Weasel Attorneys" (which begins with brief Frank Zappa-esque dialogue) and "Dead Rock Stars' Widows, Gigolos, Pocket Money." But musically, longtime Skynyrd fans will have plenty to sink their teeth into -- it's all lean, mean Southern boogie throughout, especially the Allman Brothers-esque "Brother Walk On By" and the mean blues of the album-opening title track. If you call yourself a Skynyrd fan, you owe it to yourself to check out this surprisingly strong release by one of the wildest characters to ever pass through the Skynyrd ranks.

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