And its roots could easily be traced right back to the birth of rock’n’roll itself. Almost all of Skynyrd’s pre-plane crash output could be regarded as essential, but it was their debut album that defined not only the band but in many ways the genre itself. They also had frontman Jim ‘Dandy’ Mangrum, the hillbilly hot rod who was David Lee Roth before the Van Halen man had worked his way into spandex. It is they who stand as the godfathers of what we know as Southern rock today. .38 Special - Wild-Eyed Southern Boys (A&M, 1981). It stretches towards true country music through The Charlie Daniels Band and The Marshall Tucker Band – hell, Willie Nelson is a patron saint of this irresistible force. The Charlie Daniels Band. They came close to matching the record on 1983’s No Guts… No Glory, but this is still their standout. 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Recorded during a series of shows at the famed Fillmore East club in March 1971, it’s not really a showcase for their songs; more an opportunity for them to let loose and interact, combining blue-collar energy with some outrageously confident musicianship. This is a stunning testament to the fluidity and diversity of the Allmans. Rather like the classic western movie, there’s something anachronistic yet charming about Southern rock. However, for our purposes, it really began in the late 1960s, thanks to groups such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Allman Brothers Band, reaching a maturity of which Jack Daniel’s would have been proud with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Southern rock, perhaps more than any other genre in the whole Classic Rock sphere, has remained resolutely unaltered by the passage of time. Wherever you look in modern rock and metal, the hand of the South reaches out and provides an abiding influence. Afforded little respect outside of the States, Black Oak Arkansas were a joyous fusion of fleshpot feeding frenzy and hedonistically driven music, providing the soundtrack to much bra-strap fumbling in the back of daddy’s Cadillac. Blackfoot - Highway Song – Live (Atco, 1982). It has survived and flourished in its own environment for nearly 40 years, throwing up some of the greatest music and finest myths of our time. It’s still dominated by a testosterone-fuelled ambivalence to modern mores, and the wail of guitars looking for some fighting room. The Georgia Satellites - Georgia Satellites (Elektra, 1986). 8. The Allman Brothers Band - At Fillmore East (Polydor, 1971). And the unmistakable Frank Frazetta artwork also helped to get the band attention. It has all the trademarks of classic Southern rock, with Last Ride and Southern Man making their presence felt like moonshine at the back of the throat. Although led off by a genuine one-hit-wonder in the swaggering Keep Your Hands To Yourself (a song more responsible than most for Nashville’s later use of loud guitars, and only kept off the top of the US chart by Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer), the album was no one-trick pony. They're not "new" but certainly newer than the big names and still regularly producing new material. A magnificent record. It’s Rhett Butler driving to a bar in a pickup truck. Are Blackberry Smoke The New Lynyrd Skynyrd? Interestingly, this was produced by Bill Szymczyk, who had worked extensively with The Eagles; that experience enabled him to develop The Outlaws’ vocal harmonies, a key part of their approach. Neatly straddling AOR and Southern rock, the record was the artistic pinnacle of the band’s career. There are some who’d regard 1983’s Eliminator as the trio’s most important record, but Tres Hombres is the one that saw their unique vision of blues, Cajun music, funk and hard rock – not to forget that humorous sense of the absurd – take root on a grand scale. They also had three guitars, put to good use on Gunsmoke, while Hugh Thomasson brought out his banjo for So Afraid. It’s easier to catch raindrops in a leaky sieve. The core of Southern rock takes in a romantic notion of the American Civil War, and draws in bands such as Black Oak Arkansas, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, .38 Special and The Outlaws. This is a list of Southern rock bands that fall into one of the following four categories, with a sign denoting them as such following the description. It is an American phenomenon. Dismissed by some as being a bit too commercial, .38 Special certainly had a smoother style than many in the genre, which might explain their comparative chart success. There may have been a few British bands who’ve turned their hand to this sort of music, but they’ve been about as convincing as Ted Nugent attending a PETA rally. All rights reserved. They started in the mid-60s, but found their niche with this album, boasting a standout cover of the LaVern Baker classic Jim Dandy, plus the Funkadelic-inspired Swimmin’ In Quicksand and the nifty instrumental Moonshine Sonata.