38 Special: 38 Special (A&M SP-4638)
John Swenson, Rolling Stone, 11 August 1977
38 SPECIAL IS the second rock band in the Van Zant family, but any similarity between Donnie Van Zant's group and his older brother's Sturm und Drang aggregation, Lynyrd Skynyrd, is purely generic. This band's adaptation of the Southern rock formula is more modest and workmanlike than Skynyrd's approach — in fact, 38 Special is technically a better album than any of Skynyrd's studio recordings. The instrumentation is the standard combo of Stones chord patterns and Claptonesque leads, but the overall playing is much less frenetic than you might expect — part of the arrangement in a very calculated sense.
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