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'Cornbread'By Cornbread

The Groundhogs: Live At The Astoria

{Eagle | October 28, 2008}

It was on October 20, 1977, after four years of national success where the band gained a reputation for being one of the best live bands in America, that their chartered airplane developed mechanical difficulties near the end of a flight from South Carolina to Louisiana, ultimately crash-landing in Mississippi. The crash killed band founder/leader Van Zant, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, back-up singer Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and both pilots. Survivors included drummer Artimus Pyle, guitarist Allen Collins (1952-1990), bassist Leon Wilkeson (1952-2001) and guitarist Gary Rossington.

The 14-song concert from June 23, 1996 at Rockpalast’s Loreley Festival (St. Goarshousen, Germany) features the band in top form led by Johnny Van Zant (Ronnie’s younger brother).

The songs are:
1) Working For MCA
2) I Ain’t The One
3) Down South Junkin’
4) Double Trouble
5) I Know A Little
6) Saturday Night Special
7) Swamp Music
8) What’s Your Name
9) That Smell
10) Simple Man
11) Gimme Three Steps
12) Call Me The Breeze
13) Sweet Home Alabama
14) Free Bird

This DVD features never-before-released concert from 1996. As a special bonus we get three songs “Working For MCA,” “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” from 1974 at The Hamburg Musikhalle in Germany featuring original Skynyrd singer/songwriter/guitarist, the late Ronnie Van Zant, as well as Bob Burns on drums. Today, Skynard consists of Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Ean Evans, Rickey Medlocke, Michael Cartellone and Mark Matejka. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into The Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006.

This is good ol’ southern rock. I know all the songs, they are great. For me the highlight was the three bonus tracks with original Skynard - that alone is worth the price of the DVD. You get up close, you can see the ciggy smokin’, the frequent hat changes, and the long exchange of guitar licks. This is music we’ve all grown up with, how can you not love it? This DVD gets a 4.0 on the STLBluesometer.

Peace and Love
Peter 'Cornbread' Cohen, CBP
~ Cornbread@STLBlues.net

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