(Pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd) is the debut album from Lynyrd Skynyrd, released in 1973. The album features several of the band’s most well-known songs, including “Gimme Three Steps”, “Simple Man”, “Tuesday’s Gone” and “Free Bird”, the latter of which launched the band to national stardom.
Bassist Leon Wilkeson left the band during the album’s early recording sessions only playing on two tracks. Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King was asked to fill in for Wilkeson on bass during the remaining sessions, as Wilkeson already wrote many of the bass parts. This left Skynyrd with only six official members at the time of the album’s release. Not long after, King remained with the band, and was made a member, so that they could replicate the triple-guitar lead during live performances. Wilkeson returned to the band when it was time to take the photo for the album cover and embark on the tour for the album. It was certified gold on December 18, 1974, platinum and 2x platinum on July 21 1987 by the RIAA.
From the git-go, these shaggy folks from deepest Jacksonville, Florida played hard, lived harder and shot from the hip, all three guitars blazing in music that blew past the Mason-Dixon line to become America’s next top boogie-rock. Discovered and produced by from essential mid-Sixties Dylan sideman Al Kooper, Skynyrd offered taut rockers including “Poison Whiskey” and the perpetual lighter (well, now iPhone) waving anthem “Freebird.” Perhaps the ultimate Southern rock band and this record aged shockingly well; just ask the Drive-By Truckers.
Here’s Lynyrd Skynyrd in their prime, a full set from BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test (youtube playlist):
“Skynyrd was nothing but rockers, and they were Southern rockers to the bone. This didn’t just mean that they were rednecks, but that they brought it all together — the blues, country, garage rock, Southern poetry”
– Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic)
Full Album playlist @ youtube:
0:00 I Ain’t the One
03:52 Tuesday’s Gone
11:25 Gimme Three Steps
15:56 Simple Man
21:54 Things Goin’ On
26:54 Mississippi Kid
30:50 Poison Whiskey
34:05 Free Bird
1. “Mr. Banker” (Demo)
2. “Down South Jukin'” (Demo)
3. “Tuesday’s Gone” (Demo)
4. “Gimme Three Steps” (Demo)
5. “Free Bird” (Demo)
Lacking both hippie roots and virtuosos, post-Allmanites like ZZ Top, Marshall Tucker, and Wet Willie become transcendently boring except when they get off a good song. But in this staunchly untranscendent band, lack of virtuosos is a virtue, because it inspires good songs, songs that often debunk good-old-boy shibboleths. Examples: “Poison Whiskey,” “Mississippi Kid,” and “Gimme Three Steps,” whee Ronnie Van Zant, instead of outwitting the dumb redneck the way onetime Dylan sideman Charlie Daniels does in “Uneasy Rider,” just hightails it out of there. Savvy production from onetime Dylan sideman Al Kooper. A
~Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)
Let’s include another great set. Here’s Lynyrd Skynyrd at 1976 Knebworth Fair Festival, England:
And the Album from Spotify:
What a great album, what a great band!
– Hallgeir & Egil
Sources: Allmusic, Wikipedia, Rolling Stone Magazine