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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Van Zant, Johnny (Band) - 1982 Last Of The Wild Ones
 
Van Zant, Johnny (Band) - 1982 Last Of The Wild Ones



ARTIST: Van Zant, Johnny (Band)
ALBUM: Last Of The Wild Ones
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: PD-1-6355
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2012, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY139

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Johnny Van Zant vocals * Erik Lundgren - guitars * Robbie Gay - guitars * Danny Clausman - bass * Robbie Morris - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Good Girls Turnin' Bad * 02 It's You * 03 Last Of The Wild Ones * 04 Still Hold On * 05 Can't Live Without Your Love * 06 Danger Zone * 07 Together Forever * 08 Inside Looking Out * 09 The One And Only

WEBLINKS: www.thevanzants.com


Background
As enjoyable as 1985's 'Van Zant' was, there were three albums worth of material for AORsters to get their teeth into. The Johnny Van Zant Band released three super albums between 1980 and 1982, all compulsory additions to your CD collection should you be able to obtain them (thank you Rock Candy Records). Signed to Polydor, JVZB weren't as tough as Blackfoot nor as wimpy as Wet Willie, both southern rock institutions at either end of that genre's spectrum. They probably had similarities to 38 Special, who themselves were eeking out a radio oriented direction that seemed to be delivering results. JVZB's 1981 album 'Round Two' is reviewed here at GDM by Alun and though he was a bit undecided about it all, I've decided to venture a bit deeper into the band that delivered the venerable 1985 classic. That we are both agreed on.


The Songs
'Good Girls Turnin' Bad' gives us a peek into the sound that would turn heads three years later. Surely that 38 Special influence has rubbed off here? I think so! It continues unabatedly with second-up track 'It's You', a true bar-room classic from Jacksonville all the way down to Tampa Bay! There's some slinky two-person guitar parts on the title track 'Last Of The Wild Ones', though the track isn't as rabid as you'd hope, given the song-title. JVZB decide about now it's time for a ballad. 'Still Hold On', which is laden with piano for the first part, and nice guitars and synths for the middle section. It's quite good actually, but I will admit to having heard better. JVZB get back into the rockin' groove with 'Can't Live Without Your Love'; there's some granite like guitar riffs amid the big splashes of vocal harmonies, giving this a bit of appeal. Alun will appreciate the song 'Danger Zone' (just how many melodic tunes have been graced with this song-title? lol!). it's a bit generic, but likeable enough. As soon as I saw the song-title 'Together Forever' show up as a preview in my mp3 player, I just knew we were heading to ballad avenue! And so it proved! It's OK, without setting the house on fire (thank god!). 'Inside Looking Out' displays the rough-house side of the band, and I think I prefer this aspect of the band at this stage of their career. JVZB finish up with the variable 'The One And Only', it has a foot in several camps, and unless you're an Octopus, your feet could be spread widely!


In Summary
Definitely the seeds for 1985's 'Van Zant' were laid here, but I believe no one really knew that a classic was just around the corner. The band would leave Polydor and turn up at the door of Geffen. Just how and why 1985's 'Van Zant' failed to go supernova remains a mystery to me and many others. However, I am pleased to know that just about everyone who is anyone in the melodic rock/AOR scene considers that 1985 album to be a bonafide classic. Still, there is much to like about Van Zant's earlier material. Thankfully they are all available in the CD realm thanks to Rock Candy Records, so there is no excuse. Get in before they disappear.


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Comments
#1 | jeffduran on October 03 2014 02:09:47
1990's 'Brickyard Road' had a couple AOR moments, but nothing like the self titled cover album. Good review!
#2 | jeffrey343 on October 03 2014 03:21:01
There's a 1994 release called "The Johnny Van Zant Collection" that has several of these songs. I didn't discover it until this review a couple of days ago, but I checked it out on Rhapsody. The songs from this album are very enjoyable. Not quite as polished as what was to come in 1985, but similar to .38 Special from the same timeframe (no surprise). I may have to invest in that Rock Candy release...
 
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