Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Flashback: Best of
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
This band of "Wild Eyed Southern Boys" (to quote one of their album titles) was led by Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother, Donnie. They released their first album in 1977, the year the elder Van Zant die... more »
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This band of "Wild Eyed Southern Boys" (to quote one of their album titles) was led by Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother, Donnie. They released their first album in 1977, the year the elder Van Zant died in a plane crash, and while their early work centered on swaggering boogie-rocker Van Zant trying to carry his fallen brother's torch, it was co-lead guitarist and chief songwriter Don Barnes who slowly emerged as the group's motivating force through such power-pop hits such as 1981's "Hang On Loosely," '82's "Caught Up in You," and '83's "If I'd Been the One"--all of which made .38 Special one of the era's more interesting hard rock bands. --Billy Altman
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Despite notable flaws, their best single-disc collection.
oldschooler1981 | San Jose, CA | 11/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"38 Special rose from the ashes of 70's classic rockers Lynyrd Skynard - leader Donnie Van Zant's brother, Ronnie's band (who, sadly died with many other members in a 1977 plane crash).
At first, Donnie's band started out with a soundalike, southern boogie rock sound. As they hit the mainstream, they became southern/hard arena rock, then slowly transitioned into a more pop/rock band as the 80's progressed (peaking with their biggest hit--1988's lite pop/power ballad "Second Chance", which came out after this was released in 1987). All three areas are covered on this collection, though it focuses most heavily on the 2nd one.
1979's ROCKIN' INTO THE NIGHT only features the title track, which has traces of their early pure-southern rock sound, but clearly shows their beginnings as a pop band.
1981's WILD-EYED SOUTHERN BOYS:
-Hold On Loosely
This was their breakout. These two were the biggest hits from the album, (and, the first, of their career) so I can't complain about their inclusion at all. Though there were other worthwhile songs, like "First Time Around" or "Hittin' and Runnin'."
1982's SPECIAL FORCES:
-Caught Up in You
This was their first of the more slightly power ballad-laden pop hits that would turn them even more into the mainstream. Though this is a great song, "Back On the Track" and especially the lost hit "You Keep Runnin' Away" should've made the cut!
1983's TOUR DE FORCE:
-If I'd Been the One
-Back Where You Belong
I'll definitely say these two songs - which aren't unlike "Caught Up" in sound - are the best from the album, but it had alot more to offer too, especially the southern-sounding ballad "One Time for Old Times," another hit.
1986's STRENGTH IN NUMBERS:
-Like No Other Night
Okay, this was a GREAT album - further going into 80's style arena rock. The best of the ones featured. I can't believe it only got one track. This one is also a mid tempo (slightly) southern pop/rocker, but it sounds a little too like the previous hits. The high-energy, charged "Someone Like You" or the nice ballad "One in A Million" would've been way better choices.
-Stone Cold Believer (1979, ROCKIN INTO THE NIGHT)
-Wild-Eyed Southern Boys (1981, same album)
-Rough-Housin' (1982, SPECIAL FORCES)
-20th Century Fox (1983, TOUR DE FORCE)
Okay, these certainly aren't bad renditions, but this really bugs me about collections sometimes. These were great choices as studio songs that would've represented their correspinding albums, and improved the quality of the collection quite a bit. Why did they have to use live versions instead!? That's what "Live" albums are for. Oh well, that's life.
-Teacher Teacher (1984, TEACHERS)
-Back to Paradise (1987, REVENGE OF THE NERDS II)
This (almost) makes up for the songs not included. The former is a sillier, energetic pop/rock number. The latter is especially good - a happy rocker, that's sound is almost a mix of the previous year's STRENGTH IN NUMBERS and the following year's even more poppish ROCK & ROLL STRATEGY albums.
-Same Old Feeling
This is another reason to pick this up, as it's the only place I know of to get this song. Again taking the SIN album's general sound, they give us another winner with this mid paced, Journey-esque lite arena rock love song.
Overall, this is still the best single disc collection of theirs. I would still recommend all their 80's studio albums, though, to get a better idea of their sound. I can't stress SIN and R&R STRATEGY enough (even though many people hate the latter for its pop sound)."
CLassic music from a classic band....
M. B Evans | Madison, Mississippi United States | 12/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"38 Special is probably the best SOUTHERN ROCK band that came out of the late 70's-80's. Their hard driving vocals and guitars on all their songs is unmistakable. They have a unique sound, unlike other so called Southern Rock Bands, they seem less REDNECK, there, I said it.... Anyway, their songs have been on many movie sountracks. Remember Spring Break, Teachers, and other 80's movies? I highly recommend this recording. Its just good time, feel good music, the way it should be...."
TAKING THEIR BEST SHOTS
Jukebox Dave | RECORD TOWN, USA | 01/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"38 SPECIAL-FLASHBACK: 38 Special was one of the more pop oriented (and most successful) Southern rock outfits, due more to co-lead singer/guitarist Don Barnes' ability to pen and sing righteous hooks than to the contributions of Donnie Van Zant (he of the famed trio of Van Zant brothers, two of which have anchored Lynyrd Skynyrd at opposite ends of that band's career). On early classics ROCKIN' INTO THE NIGHT and WILD EYED SOUTHERN BOYS the two shared vocal duties, but the group soon fared better chartwise (losing some of their edge in the process) when Barnes took over as frontman, leaving Van Zant with little to do but look on. Resulting big hits FANTASY GIRL, CAUGHT UP IN YOU, and HOLD ON LOOSELY, while top notch Top 40 fare, began to all sound alike, and soon enough Barnes dealt the gang a crushing blow by quitting their ranks for a still-born solo career. This necessitated the addition of capable but mellower songwriter/vocalist Max Carl, who played a keyboard instead of an axe (later Carl also "subbed" for the irreplacable Mark Farner in a faux Grand Funk)...38 Special's cheesey prom anthem, the syrupy SECOND CHANCE (thankfully not included here), proved to be their last chance. The inevitable return of Barnes couldn't rescue the group from endless "Flashback" tours and hits repackagings. That said, this original anthology remains far and away their best, even if those Southern Boys ain't quite as wild as they used to be. RATING: FOUR BULLETS"