Last Of Dyin' Breed (2012)


Johnny Van Zant; Vocals
Gary Rossington: Guitars
Rickey Medlocke: Guitars
Michael Cartellone: Drums
Mark Matejka: Guitars
Johnny Colt: Bass
Peter Keys: Keyboards


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"
It's very needless for me to say that the notice of a new Skynyrd album always sets me in a rather particular impatience (not to say an excitement !), and during the months before the release, I poke my nose every day during hours in every nook and cranny that Internet proposes in order to get hold of the little news, not to say the possible sound leak escaped from the Blackbird Studio. Well, OK, I'm a bit dreaming... Even though... Those leaks still existed in the past, like for example at the time of Last Rebel's recording in 1993... But today with the digital it would surely be much more difficult to catch that kind of demo take ! Shortly, that said… We had the luck to be able to listen to this new album, so why couldn't we talk a little about that ?

Well first I have to say that when I learned that Skynyrd opted again for recording takes where all the musicians play together live in studio (that wasn't often what they did for the former albums ! ), I had a lot of expectations... I already felt the same thrills reappearring, those that the "Smokestack Lightning'' or "Pure And Simple" in Skynyrd 1991, or the "Good Lovin's Hard To Find" or "Outta Hell In My Dodge" in Last Rebel 1993, or, yet closer, the "Never Too Late" or "Home Is Where The Heart Is" in "Twenty" in 1997 gave to me... And as besides Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington announced that Skynyrd was musically coming back to more established in Country Blues Rock roots, I was really more than impatient to listen to this "Last Of Dyin Breed" ! That was done as soon as possible and of course without any waste of time !

The first chords of "Last of Dyin Breed" (the first tune and also title of the album) reassure me and even let me sweat a little, a good rock'n roll with a very good rhythm, but in which however the first thing that catches the ears is nethertheless that we are musically closer to the Van Zant Brothers than to Lynyrd Skynyrd... At least to the Lynyrd Skynyrd I'm thinking of, because it's still very subjective ! Let's go on with "One Day At The Time", superb tune with an intro riff that let you stomp your feet, a classic chorus from «  Monsieur Rossington  », well polished arrangements and a very nice orchestration on the side of the backing vocals that makes of it (according to me) one of the best titles of the album. Anyhow I think clearly that if Skynyrd make this choice (?), those two first tunes could without any problem be integrated into the live set-list ! We go on with "Homegrow", and here I'm not really taken, we completely swing into today's music ! Of course we can't question the quality, but from my point of view, if I probably would find it nice coming from another good american band, here I have difficulty to hear the Lynyrd Skynyrd I love in that kind of expression... Just a question of tastes and sensibilities ! Through those observations (surely a bit raw), I remember that during an interview Johnny Van Zant gave to Bands of Dixie some years ago, he let us notice (quite rightly for that matter) that the Skynyrd's fans were often much too staunch, asking each time for more !... I think that if Johnny was completely right, it's also a proof that Lynyrd Skynyrd still fascinates a lot and doesn't let anybody cold, after all that's I'm deeply feeling !

We go on with the exploration of the album with "Ready to Fly", a magnificent ballad in a flavor ''present Skynyrd'', but they are so good in that field that I haven't a lot to add, except the term "superb" !... ''Mississipi Blood" don't astound me but isn't unpleasant for all that, the delta blues spirit with a banjo in the intro pleases me, but then I don't feel really the atmosphere I could think of ! Well you can understand that I'm a bit half in jest, half in ernest about my appréciation of this new Skynyrd album, so I'd like to avoid sifting through the other tunes of the album. So I skip my feeling about "Good Teacher", "Honey Hole" and "Nothing Comes Easy" to select more particularly the magnificent "Something To Live For" (again a wonderful ballad) and the surprising but very poignant bluesy "Start Livin' Life Again". So here is my global appréciation of the new Skynyrd album, even if I'm hoping for a good balancing with the four bonus tracks planned for the original album.

Then of course I imagine that, for some people, the things I write may perhaps carry an interrogative connotation, but it absolutely doesn't challenge my passion for this band that I still consider again and again as one of the greatest in the history of Rock, and undoubtedly this album will be present in my Skynyrd discography !
Long live Skynyrd Nation !
John Molet
Translation : Y. Philippot-Degand

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