Christmas Time Again (CMC International)
No, this isn't a joke, and yes, most of the original Lynyrd Skynyrd members are still dead. But then not too many folks would notice an album titled Christmas Time Again
by something called the Gary Rossington and Billy Powell Experience (isn't Leon Wilkeson still around?). Talk about diluting a brand name. It's not even entirely a Skynyrd album, whatever that means at this point, as Christmas Time Again
is filled out with performances by the Charlie Daniels Band and .38 Special. In the case of the former, it's a slight reprieve from the slate of forgettable originals like "Mama's Song" and not-quite-traditionals such as "Run Run Rudolph"; in the case of the latter, it's worse than you can imagine. There's even a version of "Greensleeves" here that sounds like it's bucking for a promotion to a Mannheim Steamroller album. About the only redeeming thing here is some nifty picking by Hughie Thomasson on "Skynyrd Family." Otherwise, this thing should be pronounced D.O.A. If I'm Ronnie Van Zandt, I'm kicking these people's asses after they kick the bucket.