by Robert Bell
Back in '74 or so, a gang of Florida boys, including Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant — brother of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Van Zants — started a little boogie rock outfit called 38 Special and signed to A&M a couple years later.
Those first few albums were fairly well received, but it wasn't until 1981's "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys," when the band began weaving some arena-rock polish into its sound, that the group started really blowing up. Like the pistol from which the band derives its name, 38 Special proved to be a classic and deadly machine.
Maybe it's been a while since you listened to "Rockin' Into The Night" or "Rough Housin' " or "Hold on Loosely." But these songs sound just as good coming through your iPod earbuds here in 2011 as they did back in high school, rattling out of the speakers of your dusty '81 Silverado as you made out with Carla in the Sonic parking lot, the both of you lit off cheap weed and a quart of Wild Irish Rose. Well, maybe not quite that good.