Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (1973)

FrontCover1.jpg(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,” which launched the band to national stardom.

Bassist Leon Wilkeson left the band early in the album’s recording sessions after playing on only two tracks. Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King was asked to fill in for Wilkeson on bass during the remaining sessions, as Wilkeson had already written 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 was made a member of the band so it could replicate the triple-guitar lead during live performances. Wilkeson returned to the band toward the end of the recording sessions. The album was certified gold on December 18, 1974, platinum and double platinum on July 21, 1987, by the RIAA. The album also peaked at 27 in the Billboard 200 in 1975.

The album was re-released in 2001 as an expanded version with bonus tracks, including demos of many of the songs on the album. Sales through 2014 were an estimated 2 million units internationally.

The cover photograph was taken on Main Street in Jonesboro, Georgia and shows, from left to right, Leon Wilkeson (seated), Billy Powell (seated), Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington (seated), Bob Burns, Allen Collins and Ed King. With Ed King’s death of lung cancer on August 22, 2018, guitarist Gary Rossington (seated third from left) is the only one currently alive from that famous picture.

Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd immediately put the band on the rock-and-roll map. In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 403 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (by wikipedia)

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The Allman Brothers came first, but Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomized Southern rock. The Allmans were exceptionally gifted musicians, as much bluesmen as rockers. 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 — in a way that sounded more like the South than even the Allmans. And a large portion of that derives from their hard, lean edge, which was nowhere more apparent than on their debut album, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd. Produced by Al Kooper, there are few records that sound this raw and uncompromising, especially records by debut bands. Then again, few bands sound this confident and fully formed with their first record. Perhaps the record is stronger because it’s only eight songs, so there isn’t a wasted moment, but that doesn’t discount the sheer strength of each song. Consider the opening juxtaposition of the rollicking “I Ain’t the One” with the heartbreaking “Tuesday’s Gone.”

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Two songs couldn’t be more opposed, yet Skynyrd sounds equally convincing on both. If that’s all the record did, it would still be fondly regarded, but it wouldn’t have been influential. The genius of Skynyrd is that they un-self-consciously blended album-oriented hard rock, blues, country, and garage rock, turning it all into a distinctive sound that sounds familiar but thoroughly unique. On top of that, there’s the highly individual voice of Ronnie Van Zant, a songwriter who isn’t afraid to be nakedly sentimental, spin tales of the South, or to twist macho conventions with humor. And, lest we forget, while he does this, the band rocks like a motherf*cker. It’s the birth of a great band that birthed an entire genre with this album. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Bob Burns (drums)
Allen Collins (guitar)
Ed King (bass, guitar on 06.)
Billy Powell (keyboards)
Gary Rossington (guitar, slide-guitar)
Ronnie van Zant (vocals)
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Bobbye Hall (percussion on 03. + 05.)
Steve Katz (harmonica on 06.)
Al Kooper (Roosevelt Gook) – bass, mellotron and background vocals on 02.,  mandolin, bass drum on 06.,  “Mississippi Kid,” organ on 04., 07. + 08., mellotron on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. I Ain’t The One (Rossington/v.Zant) 3.53
02. Tuesday’s Gone (Collins/v.Zant) 7.30
03. Gimme Three Steps (Collins/v.Zant) 4.28
04. Simple Man (Rossington/v.Zant) 5.56
05. Things Goin’ On (Rossington/v.Zant)t 4.58
06. Mississippi Kid (Burns/Kooper/v.Zant) 3.55
07. Poison Whiskey (King(v.Zant) 3.13
08. Free Bird (Collins/v.Zant) 9.07

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Ed King (September 14, 1949 – August 22, 2018)

Ed King, the Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist who joined the band in 1972 to give the Southern rock group its iconic three-guitar sound, died Wednesday in Nashville. He was 68. A cause of death was not specified, though King had been battling lung cancer and had recently been hospitalized for the disease.

A message on King’s Facebook confirmed his death: “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career.”

A California native, King was a founding member of the psychedelic Sixties band Strawberry Alarm Clock, known for their hit “Incense and Peppermints.” He offered to join Skynyrd when, opening for the band at the Jacksonville, Florida, bar the Comic Book Club in 1968, he heard them rehearsing the song “Need All My Friends.” It wasn’t until 1972, however, when King would sign on with Skynyrd, temporarily replacing bassist Leon Wilkeson and then becoming a full-fledged member as third guitarist.

King played on the band’s first three albums: 1973’s (Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd), 1974’s Second Helping and 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy. He most famously co-wrote Second Helping‘s “Sweet Home Alabama” – that’s him counting off “1, 2, 3” in the song’s intro – which, along with “Free Bird,” has become synonymous with the group.

After a dust-up with singer Ronnie Van Zant, King, tired of the Skynyrd drama and propensity for fighting, exited the band in 1975, detailing the incident in the superb new documentary If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“I’m the hippie from Southern California. I’m not digging the violence part,” King said, recounting how a broken string at a show in Pittsburgh earned him the wrath of the mercurial Van Zant. “Ronnie and my guitar roadie who changed my strings were thrown in jail in Ann Arbor. They didn’t arrive … until 10 minutes before we went on. I had to Ed King02.jpgplay on old strings and I broke two strings during ‘Free Bird.’ After, Ronnie was riding me, and a lightbulb went off and I said, ‘That’s it.’ I went back to my room, packed up my stuff and left.”

King is a highlight of If I Leave Here Tomorrow, offering keen firsthand insight into the Southern band as an outsider from California. On the album cover for Pronounced, King is pictured far right, a bit detached from the group.

Guitarist Gary Rossington, the lone original member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd that tours today, quipped on King’s aloof, business-minded nature in the documentary. “He’d stop and buy $100 worth of Slim Jims and have him in a briefcase and, driving an hour or two, you get hungry, he’d sell them to us and triple the price,” he said.

Following King’s death, Rossington released a statement. “I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened,” he said. “Ed was our brother, and a great songwriter and guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” (by Joseph Hudak/Rolling Stone, August 23, 2018)

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again (2000)

LynyrdSkynyrdChristmasTimeAgain FCIt’s a long way from Jacksonville, Florida, to the North Pole, but first generation Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd put antifreeze in the old touring van and set a course for Santa’s workshop with this seasonal outing. The band, which now consists of three founders and a handful of later recruits, mix Yule warhorses (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Greensleeves”) and more recent fare (“Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’,” “Run Run Rudolph,” Eddie C. Campbell´s customized-for-Christmas take on “Messin’ with the Kid”) with a smattering of originals. Guests Charlie Daniels and 38 Special check in with one song apiece, giving the whole project a kind of TV variety-show feel–that is, if you can picture a bearded Perry Como with a stack of Marshall amps at his back. (by Steven Stolder)

LynyrdSkynyrdChristmasTimeAgain CoverIllustrationPersonnel:
Kenny Aronoff (drums)
Rick Medlocke (guitar, vocals)
Billy Powell (keyboards)
Gary Rossington (guitar)
Dale Krantz-Rossington (vocals)
Hughie Thompson (guitar, background vocals)
Leon Wilkeson (bass)
Johnny van Zant (vocals)
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Carol Chase (background vocals)
Charlie Daniels (fiddle, vocals on 05.)
38 Special (on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Santa´s Messin´ With The Kid (Campbell) 3.15
02. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 2.31
03. Christmas Time Again (Medlocke/Rossington/Rossington/Thomasson/v.Zant) 4.34
04. Greensleeves (Traditional) 2.18
05. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.08
06. Run Run Rudolph (Bridue/Marks/Medlocke) 3.34
07. Classical Christmas (Medlocke/Rossington/Rossington/Thomasson/v.Zant) 2.09
08. Hallelujah, It´s Christmas (Barnes/Chauncey/v.Zant) 4.01
09. Skynyrd Family (Medlocke/Rossingtgon/Thomasson/v.Zant) 3.00

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More From The Road (2001)

FrontCover1In the following days I will present some of my brother´s most important albums … Now his chemotherapy starts and I hope …

I will start with southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd:

Double live albums were commonplace during the ’70s, even for bands that weren’t particularly good in concert. As a travelin’ band, Lynyrd Skynyrd made their fame and fortune by being good in concert, so it made sense that they released a double-live, entitled One More from the Road, in 1976, months after the release of their fourth album, Gimme Back My Bullets. That might have been rather quick for a live album — only three years separated this record from the group’s debut — but it was Live01enthusiastically embraced, entering the Top Ten (it would become one of their best-selling albums, as well). It’s easy to see why it was welcomed, since this album demonstrates what a phenomenal catalog of songs Skynyrd accumulated. Street Survivors, which appeared the following year, added “That Smell” and “You Got That Right” to the canon, but this pretty much has everything else, sometimes extended into jams as long as those of the Allmans, but always much rawer, nearly dangerous. That catalog, as much as the strong performances, makes One More from the Road worth hearing. Heard here, on one record, the consistency of Skynyrd’s work falls into relief, and they not only clearly tower above their peers based on what’s here; the cover of “T for Texas” illustrates that they’re carrying on the Southern tradition, not starting a new one. Like most live albums, this is not necessarily essential, but if you’re a fan, it’s damn hard to take this album off after it starts. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Allen Collins (guitar)
Steve Gaines (guitar, background vocals)
Billy Powell (piano)
Artimus Pyle (drums)
Gary Rossington (guitar, keyboards)
Ronnie Van Zant – vocals
Leon Wilkeson (bass)
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Cassie Gaines (background vocals)
Leslie Hawkins (background vocals)
Sam McPherson (harmonica, background vocals)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Introduction / Workin’ For MCA (King/v.Zant) 5.32
02. I Ain’t The One (Rossington/v.Zant) 3.47
03. Saturday Night Special (King/v.Zant) 5.39
04. Searching (Collins/v.Zant) 4.00
05. Travellin’ Man (Wilkeson/v.Zant) 4.37
06. Simple Man (Rossington/v.Zant) 6.56
07. Whiskey Rock-A-Roller (Powell/King/v.Zant) 4.48
08. The Needle And The Spoon (Collins/v.Zant) 4.35
09. Gimme Back My Bullets (Rossington/v.Zant) 4.01
10. Tuesday’s Gone (Collins/v.Zant) 8.25
11. Gimme Three Steps (Collins/v.Zant) 5.10
12. Call Me The Breeze (Cale) 5.50
13. T For Texas (Rodgers) 9.14

CD 2:
01. Sweet Home Alabama (King/Rossington/v.Zant) 7.28
02. Crossroads (Johnson) 4.16
03. Free Bird (Collins/v.Zant) 14.18
04. Introduction / Workin’ For MCA (alternate take) (King/v.Zant) 5.37
05. I Ain’t The One (alternate take) (Rossington/v.Zant) 3.52
06. Searching (alternate take) (Collins/v.Zant) 4.13
07. Gimme Three Steps (alternate take) (Collins/v.Zant) 4.42
08. Call Me The Breeze (alternate take) (Cale) 5.43
09. Sweet Home Alabama (alternate take) (King/Rossington/v.Zant) 7.25
10. Crossroads (alternate take) (Johnson) 4.46
11. Free Bird (alternate take) (Collins/v.Zant) 14.55

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Winterland (1976)

LynyrdSkynrdWinterland1976FCAfter years of life on the road and with their role models, the Allman Brothers Band, struggling to survive the deaths of two of its most distinctively talented members, today Lynyrd Skynyrd has become the quintessential Southern Rock band. Under the leadership of frontman and primary songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, the group’s melodic lyric driven ballads and power driven hard rockers would catapult the group into one of the most popular touring bands in the world. The group’s distinctive guitar attack, combined with an overtly defiant and rebellious attitude, gave them a cultural identity that would help make songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird” into anthems of American rock music and staples of FM radio right up to the present day.

Headlining a bill that also featured the Outlaws, this Winterland recording captures Lynyrd Skynyrd following the release of their fourth album, Gimme Back My Bullets. This was during a transitional phase for the band, following the departure of guitarist Ed King, but prior to his replacement, Steve Gaines, coming on board. The band was carrying on as a six-piece unit, augmented by the Honkettes on backing vocals.

This is an interesting time to hear the band live, as their trademark three-guitar attack was reduced by one guitar, leaving more room for keyboardist Billy Powell. On the ballads, like “Tuesdays Gone” and the pre-jam verses of “Freebird,” Powell displays great creativity and expands the keyboard’s role in these songs.

Otherwise, the band rocks as hard as ever, with a good selection of their most popular songs, sampling a bit from all four of their studio albums. The group’s defiant Southern swagger, combined with an infectious guitar and piano driven groove, creates an irresistible combination that resonated far beyond the Southern states. Two of the standouts on this show are both well chosen covers, which the band redefines as their own; J.J. Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze” and Jimmy Rogers’ “T For Texas.” Both of these are rearranged in classic Skynyrd style, with the latter closing the set and clearly displaying the root sound of the band at its best.

The audience demands an encore and the band obliges with a monumental “Free Bird.” It begins as a plaintive slow ballad, with Van Zant’s distinctively sad vocals over the melodic keyboard playing of Powell and delicate slide guitar ornamentation from Rossington. However, it is the second section, which becomes an up-tempo guitar boogie, that really hits home. Here the guitarists cut loose to create one of the most distinctive solos of all time. Rossington and Collins turn this section into a soaring jam that also features impressive melodic bass playing from Wilkeson and furious keyboards from Powell. Following a brief reprise of the song, they turn on a dime back into the groove of the jam before bringing it to a climactic close.

“Free Bird,” more often than not, sarcastically, would become the most requested song of all time. For musicians, this inevitable request has become so tiresome, that the act of requesting it has become universally known as “the mantra of the moron.” Still, this only goes to prove just how deeply this song has permeated American culture and is a testament to its enduring popularity, making it one of the true landmark rock songs of twentieth century music.

LynyrdSkynrdWinterland1976Personnel:
Allen Collins ( guitar)
Billy Powell (keyboards)
Artimus Pyle (drums)
Gary Rossington (guitar)
Leon Wilkinson (bass)
Ronnie Van Zant (vocals)
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JoJo Billingsley (background vocals)
Cassie Gaines (background vocals)
Leslie Hawkins (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Cry For The Bad Man (Rossington/Collins/v.Zant) 5.36
02. Saturday Night Special (King/v.Zant) 5.35
03. Searchin´ (Collins/v.Zant9 3.53
04. I Got The Same Old Blues (Cale) 4.28
05. Gimme Back My Bullets (Rossington/v.Zant) 4.22
06. Tuesday´s Gone (Rossington/Collins/v.Zant) 7.46
07. The Needle And The Spoon (Collins/v.Zant) 4.49
08. Gimme Three Steps/Call Me The Breeze (Collins/v.Zant/Cale) 10.07
09. Sweet Home Alabama (King/Rossington/v.Zant) 6.27
10. T. For Texas (Rodgers) 11.23
11. Free Bird (Collins/v.Zant) 12.58

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