Since everything from psychedelia to disco has eventually come back to haunt us, it should come as no surprise that one of the more popular genres of the Seventies, Southern rock, seems to be rearing its boogieing little head faster than you can say twin — make that triple — guitar solos. After all, it was partially by having three (count ’em!) lead guitarists all buzz-sawing at the same time that Lynyrd Skynyrd changed the arena rebel yell of choice from “Whipping Post” to “Free Bird” — at least until the 1977 plane crash that took the life of singer-leader Ronnie Van Zant and with him the band’s very spirit.
Several splinter groups (come on — you don’t remember the Rossington-Collins Band or the Artimus Pyle Band?) and tribute tours later, Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 finds most of the old band members reunited, with brother Johnny Van Zant (not to be confused with the other brother, .38 Special’s Donnie) looking to fill Ronnie’s hat — and damned if they don’t just about pull it off.
Fourteen years between studio albums tops even the Grateful Dead’s record, but on many songs — notably, “Keeping the Faith,” “Backstreet Crawler” and the anthem-ready “End of the Road” — Gary Rossington, Ed King and newcomer Randall Hall cook up enough noisy raunch to please most of the noncoms in the invisible guitar army that’s always on red alert out there in the hinterlands. Marshall Tucker — call your office.