Youngest of the Van Zant family, Johnny follows an enormous legacy in Ronnie (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and Donnie (38 Special). These solo albums (sometimes credited to The Johnny Van Zant Band) are his second and third, from 1981 and1982 respectively.
Round Two kicks off in surprisingly hard rock fashion with (Who’s)Right Or Wrong, with more than a Southern nod, uptempo crunchy guitar and easily recognisable vocals, a sound respectful of the Van Zant background.There is some fantastic guitar work on the album, even on the lighter (more Americana and AOR than ballad tinged). Yesterday’s Gone is one of those, which is still very melodic, while Let There Be Music is lighter bar room Southern rock, very smooth and a touch of Thin Lizzy too.
There’s plenty of input from Journey producer Kevin Elson (who was once front of house sound for Skynyrd) who, along with two members of Journey,guests on the album. The string arrangements are a little too soft for my liking, JVZ and band sounding much stronger when they rock out more.
The following album is a real corker. With co-production from Al Kooper and some songs co written with Donnie Van Zant, Good Girls Turned Bad, It’s You kick the album off in fine fashion, a mix of Southern, hard rock and a bit of polish and it’s already more consistent; something that Van Zant admits to in the sleeve notes. Even the slower piano led numbers are big and powerful in sound.
Both albums come remastered and comments from Johnny Van Zant in the sleeve notes – the albums look and sound fantastic.
Round Two 7/10
The Last Of The Wild Ones 8/10