ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND/LYNYRD SKYNYRD
The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd share a bluesy twin guitar attack that once dominated the rock landscape, and a mythic past defined by sudden death. If the Allmans were jazzier, swinging with an authority beyond British blues contemporaries like Jeff Beck, Skynyrd simply didn’t give a fuck, relying on a rockin’ Dixie swagger. But while the Allmans contain a core of their original membership — percussionists Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson and singer Gregg Allman — the Skynyrd crew only has axeman Gary Rossington. The reconstituted quality is crippling to Skynyrd, because the instrumental dynamic is virtually gone, and singer Johnny Van Zant could never measure up to his late brother Ronnie. Lacking the founding frontman’s heart and lurking sense of self-doubt, the younger Van Zant skirts the Tea Party cartoonishness of Ted Nugent. Membership attrition proves less damaging to the still inventive Allmans. But while they’ve avoided becoming a tribute band, the Allmans are still shades of their former selves. Nowadays they hold the fort like the current Rolling Stones: quality musicians carrying on a rich legacy — but lacking the danger and fire of yore.