Rossington Collins Band - Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere/This Is The Way (BGO Records) 1980/1982/2000
I often have wondered what Skynyrd might have sounded like if it weren't for that tragic plane crash. Would they have gone the same route as .38 Special and Molly Hatchet and tried to update their sound? Well, the Rossington Collins Band releases give us some indication. Honestly the only resemblances of Rossington Collins to Skynyrd are a few guitar leads and the obvious personnel connections. The group featured Skynyrd guitarists Gary Rossington & Allen Collins. Also from Skynyrd, Billy Powell (keys) and Leon Wilkeson (bass) were on board for the ride as well. Female vocalist Dale Krantz wed Gary Rossington and became a back-up singer for the resurrected Lynyrd Skynyrd some years later. Rossington Collins Band were still southern rockers at heart, but the music on these two albums were much more mainstream, although not as mainstream as .38 Special. There are still plenty of meaty riffs and solos, as well as those southern, blues inspired numbers. My problem with this band when I first heard them back in 1980 was the vocals of Dale Krantz. She has a lot of grit to here voice and has some similarities to Janis Joplin. I didn't really appreciate here style so much when these albums were first released. Over the years I have come to really enjoy both these CD and Krantz's vocals.
Both these albums, released on MCA, reached the Top 30 of the U.S. charts. "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" even generated a charting single in "Don't Misunderstand Me", a song that is still heard on many classic rock stations today. It would have seemed in 1980 that the band was set to pick up where Skynyrd had left off. Unfortunately Allen's wife Katy died during childbirth, and thus things began to go downhill for the guitarist and the band. The sleeve to "This Is the Way" had a tearful dedication to Katy in 1982. Unfortunately the band wasn't able to hold it together and the band broke up shortly afterwards. Some years later Allen Collins was left paralyzed from a car accident and died in 1990 from pnuemonia. Fortunately they left us with these two blues based rock albums. In particular, Allen's bluesy "Three Times As Bad" is a standout cut on these albums. I also quite like "Pine Box", which has a Southern gospel sound that is quite different from the rest of the album. Both of the LPs were remastered and released on CD in 1999 with restored artwork and complete liner notes, plus additional sleeve notes.