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Mark Your Calendar: .38 Special
Donnie Van Zant (second from left) and Don Barnes (in the middle): Still Special.

I’ve been known to rail against bands from the old, old days that have no (or few) original members, yet continue to go out and play all the vintage hits under the original name. “You get what you pay for,” I’ve sniped on more than one occasion, when various creaky–kneed Motown, Britpop or southern rock bands have passed through, with some faceless new guy singing all the leads.

Finally, something to crow about. The post–Skynyrd pride of Jacksonville, Fla., .38 Special, has a date at Richmond Hill’s J.F. Gregory Park Oct. 15, and while every single member of the original band isn’t there, two extremely key components are in place: Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes.

Van Zant, of course, is part of the most famous rock ‘n’ roll family in Duval County (his older brother, Ronnie, was the visionary frontman for Skynyrd, when it was still Skynyrd – but you knew that already). He and younger sibling Johnny Van Zant have an ongoing project, the Van Zants.

The lynchpin to .38 Special, however, is Don Barnes. Think of all those still–vibrant .38 Special hits – “Caught Up In You,” “Rockin’ Into the Night,” “Hold On Loosely,” “If I’d Been the One.” That’s Barnes – he wrote them and he sang them, and he is almost entirely responsible for .38 Special’s distinctive signature sound.

The band is booked to play the 2011 Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival. We’ll have more on the event as the information becomes available.

 This, that, the other

• Another cancellation at the Johnny Mercer Theatre: Jerry Butler and the “Hitmakers of Soul” revue, scheduled for Sept. 17.

• Deep Cuts, the Magic Rocks & Cecilia Arango will perform Sept. 17 at the Southeast Georgia Combat Firefighter Challenge, a free event in the parking lot of the Savannah Mall. The 9 a.m.–5 p.m. event consists of firefighter–training exercises, with a festive public component – EMS and firefighter trucks and demos, public safety information, kids’ stuff like face painting, and grownup stuff like Bikini Nation Girls, Hooters Girls and loads of food. You can register to compete in the drills at

• Broadway singing star Audra McDonald will perform at the Lucas Theatre Nov. 9.

• How about this: There’s a Dec. 9 date on the calendar for Paul Revere & the Raiders at Magnolia Hall in Bluffton. And I checked – Mark Lindsay is no longer singing with the band. You’re welcome.