Lynyrd Skynyrd

Turn It Up!

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It's easy to think of the latter-day Lynyrd Skynyrd as what it started out being, a tribute to the original Lynyrd Skynyrd. But while the band still plays "Free Bird" at every concert, it also released a series of five new studio albums during the 1990s, and all five sold well enough to reach the Billboard album charts, so there is an audience out there interested in hearing what the current lineup has to say for itself. Turn It Up! is a compilation drawn from those five '90s albums, Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991, The Last Rebel, Endangered Species, Twenty, and Edge of Forever. It reveals that the group hasn't always been original in its song titles ("Born to Run," "Smokestack Lightning," and "Travelin' Man" are all newly written songs). And even when performing those songs, Lynyrd Skynyrd is careful to hew to its familiar sound, heavy on multiple slide guitars. But this traditionalism works in the band's favor. All of the music features good ensemble playing and is worthy of the name Lynyrd Skynyrd. That said, the one irreplaceable element the '90s band lacks is what the original band lost in 1977 -- Ronnie VanZant. Brother Johnny VanZant has a similar voice, but nobody writes songs like Ronnie VanZant, and it's the absence of that singular viewpoint that keeps this new music from comparing favorably to the old.

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