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Johnny Van Zant Continues His Brother's Legacy In Tribute To Those Shunned By Society

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Lynyrd skynyrd Songs | Johnny Van Zant Continues His Brother's Legacy In Tribute To Those Shunned By Society | Country Music Videos
Photo credit: Tom Hill/Getty Images (Left) ,Mark Von Holden/Getty Images (Right)
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During the summer of '64, a group of teenagers formed what would become one of the most iconic southern rock bands in the world. Just a decade later, lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and bandmate Allen Collins penned a song that they would only get to perform once together before tragedy struck...

Three years after writing "The Ballad Of Curtis Loew" and recording it for their sophomore album, Second HelpingLynyrd Skynyrd got the chance to perform the tune just once...

In October 1977, the band chartered a small plane to take them from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana while they were touring and promoting Street Survivors. Unfortunately, due to an oversight by the crew, the plane ran low on fuel and was forced to attempt an emergency landing on a small airstrip, but crashed in a forest close to Gillsburg, Mississippi. Tragically, three of the band members lost their lives as a result, including Ronnie Van Zant. 

Years later, the band re-formed with Van Zant's younger brother Johnny Van Zant taking the role of lead singer. Of the reunion and the band playing the track, guitarist Ed King said:

"The original version of the band only played 'Curtis Loew' one time on stage. We were playing in a basement in some hotel and thought we'd try it. We never played it again until the Tribute Tour with Johnny."

Their song is a ballad of a young boy waking up and searching for soda bottles to recycle and give the money to a man named Curtis Loew who buys wine and plays the guitar "across his knees" all day for the young lad. The boy looks up to Curtis and keeps returning to him, despite his mother beating him for going back. The song ends on a sad note, lamenting "I wish that you was here so everyone would know". 

Watch this incredible performance by Lynyrd Skynyrd with Johnny Van Zant during their Vicious Cycle Tour in the video below! 

Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd & Second Helping Live' is available now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats - it's the perfect gift for the Lynyrd Skynyrd fan in your life. Buy it here on Amazon!

LYRICS BELOW

Well, I used to wake the mornin'
Before the rooster crowed
Searchin' for soda bottles
To get myself some dough
Brought 'em down to the corner
Down to the country store
Cash 'em in, and give my money
To a man named Curtis Loew

Old Curt was a black man
With white curly hair
When he had a fifth of wine
He did not have a care
He used to own an old Dobro
Used to play it 'cross his knee
I'd give old Curt my money
He'd play all day for me

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinkin' money
Tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
'Cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker
To ever play the blues

He looked to be sixty
And maybe I was ten
Mama used to whoop me
But I'd go see him again
I'd clap my hands, stomp my feet
Try to stay in time
He'd play me a song or two
Then take another drink of wine

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinkin' money
Tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
'Cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker
To ever play the blues

Yes, sir

On the day old Curtis died
Nobody came to pray
Ol' preacher said some words
And they chunked him in the clay
Well, he lived a lifetime
Playin' the black man's blues
And on the day he lost his life
That's all he had to lose

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, hey Curtis Loew
I wish that you was here so
Everyone would know
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
'Cause Curtis you're the finest picker
To ever play the blues

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