Then and Now

by: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Most Lynyrd Skynyrd fans would agree that the band reached its creative peak in the 1970s, but that doesn't mean that Skynyrd's 1990s work is without merit. While it's true that the Southern rockers provided their most essential recordings in the 1970s, Skynyrd's 1990s lineups definitely had their moments in the studio, and their live shows continued to please die-hard fans. Released in 2000, Then and Now is an enjoyable, if imperfect, collection of live and studio tracks that draws on Skynyrd's three CMC International releases of the late '90s: Lyve From Steeltown, Edge of Forever, and Twenty. Inspired performances of 1970s favorites like "Sweet Home Alabama," "Free Bird," and "That Smell" (all of which were recorded at a show in Burgettstown, PA, near Pittsburgh on July 15, 1997) demonstrate that in the 1990s, lead singer Johnny Van Zant had no problem handling gems his late brother Ronnie Van Zant once belted out. And the studio tracks (which include "Preacher Man," "Tomorrow's Goodbye," and the swamp blues-influenced "Voodoo Lake") point to the fact that while 1999's Edge of Forever and 1997's Twenty aren't in a class with Gimme Back My Bullets, Second Helping, or Street Survivors, they're decent more often than not. Casual listeners would be better off starting out with a collection of Skynyrd's 1970s classics, but for hardcore fans, Then and Now isn't a bad CD to have in your collection. ~ Alex Henderson

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