Red, White & Blue (live) was recorded in Georgia back in 2006 and marks the sole record of the only tour from brothers Johnny and Donnie Van Zant. The recording was always supposed to be released, but as time passed it just got forgotten about until recently, when it was rediscovered by Donnie's long time 38 Special bassist Larry Junstrom. Inspired by their late brother Ronnie's ambition to make a country record, the brothers finally put their heads together to come up with the songs for the show.
The 14 song set also includes their 2005 hit Help Somebody along with 38 Special track Wide Eyed Southern Boys and of course a faithful cover of classic Lynyrd Skynyrd tracks Sweet Home Alabama and Call Me The Breeze. Whilst the brothers may have fulfilled Ronnie's wishes, this is typically more akin to the country and western genre. Musically it's very country rock, but lyrically it harks back to good old country clichés. It's filled with bags of patriotic flag-waving songs about the hometown, the girl, mama, Jesus, the military, yes they even mention the dog. One thing is evident from the show is that the audience and the band are clearly having a terrific time and really enjoying what they are doing. Unsurprisingly the band have created a real stadium sound with some strong harmonies and backing vocals to match.
The riff from I Know My History, is pulled straight from Sweet Home Alabama and rocks things up as a result. Some of the rhymes is a bit hoakey in places, yet it's wholesome all-American fun. Die hard country and western fans will probably love the line dancing feel of tracks like Sweet Mama and the Rolling Stones influenced country rock sound of Plain Jane. Sadly, most modern country music has largely spent the last 20 years trying to get away from this style. If only they had recorded this in the decade after Ronnie died and not waited nearly 30 years, it may have had more of a wider reaching appeal. At least they have done their brother proud.