By Daniel Watts
Music Reviewer and Segment Producer
Back in 1993 the Southern Rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd released their seventh full-length studio album The Last Rebel. The album was produced by Barry Beckett and released on Atlantic Records.
The Last Rebel features Johnny Van Zant on vocals, Gary Rossington, Randall Hall and Ed King on guitars, Billy Powell on piano and synthesizer, Leon Wilkeson on bass, Kurt Custer on drums and percussion and Dale Krantz-Rossington on backing vocals.
The main reason I chose to review The Last Rebel is because February marks the album’s 23rd year in existence. To some, 23 years doesn’t seem that long ago. When you’re comparing ‘93 Skynyrd to current day Skynyrd, 1993 seems quite some time ago.
I think The Last Rebel is a very good attempt at keeping the band’s overall sound within in the boundaries of that unique Southern Rock style crafted by the late Ronnie Van Zant. Now, I’m not saying the Johnny Van Zant led version is the original band but they were then and still are now the closest to the original band we will ever be able to experience. Personally, I think the Johnny Van Zant era Skynyrd has done a great job not only paying tribute to the band’s history but also releasing some positive new music. Case in point, The Last Rebel.
The Last Rebel is an often overlooked and underappreciated Skynyrd album, unfortunately. The album is often overshadowed by the 70’s hit albums like Pronounced and Second Helping. This is truly a shame because what lies within The Last Rebel is some great writing, playing and singing. The signature Skynyrd experience of a three guitar attack, honkey tonk beats, America, freedom and simple living - the exact things fans have loved and appreciated over the decades, is branded all across the album’s ten tracks. The Last Rebel in my opinion contains zero filler and has a great amount of consistency as well.
I'm a fan of each song but my favorites are “One Thing”, “The Last Rebel”, “Outta Hell In My Dodge” and “Born To Run”. Each of these songs capture the true essence of Skynyrd. You’ve got straight forward rocking riffs, blue collar centered lyrics, Southern flare, freedom, beer drinkin’ and hell raisin’. How does it get any better than that?