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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Geffen*

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Stereophile: Record To Die For
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." 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. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

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Rock - Released August 21, 2012 | Roadrunner Records - Loud & Proud

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Defiance runs deep in Lynyrd Skynyrd's DNA but 2012's Last of a Dyin' Breed finds the veteran Southern rockers hunkering down, emphasizing their old-fashioned outlaw ways. All the recognizable redneck rebel sentiments are here -- it's all god, guns, Southern girls, and sweet tea -- but Skynyrd's signature sound is absent. In this, their third act, the kings of Southern rock have cut out the country and boogie, leaving behind a heavy-booted blues grind and churning hard rock -- sounds that signify the modern South even if they're not classically Southern rock. And that fits for this incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd. They may flirt with fleeting references to their past -- the first verse of "Good Teacher" recalling "The Ballad of Curtis Loew," the soaring soul-speckled ballad "Ready to Fly" a distant cousin of "Freebird" -- but Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington, and Rickey Medlocke aren't in this game just to revive past glories; they're engaging with the modern world, co-opting the leaden stripper rock of Nickelback for "Homegrown," once again bringing back former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 for a cameo, and writing a Tea Party anthem in "Nothing Comes Easy." Certainly, Skynyrd are making sturdy, old-time rock & roll for an audience that's likely peppered with Tea Partiers, the kind of Middle American worried that the world they knew is slipping away, and Last of a Dyin' Breed provides a bit of a rallying point for them: it's true to their roots but living in the moment. If Skynyrd sound a little less nimble than they used to, chalk it up not to age but to the conscious decision to play everything heavier than before; without elements of the backwoods, they're dogged rockers, happy to carry the torch they lit nearly four decades ago even if it doesn't burn as bright as it once did. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 21, 2012 | Roadrunner Records - Loud & Proud

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

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Rock - Released August 25, 1998 | Geffen

Putting together the definitive Lynyrd Skynyrd retrospective would be a daunting prospect to all but the most callous of critics who still deny the group their place at the table of rock & roll heroes and innovators. This two-disc, 25-track anthology makes the perfect introductory set to this Southern rock institution, and one great career overview for longtime fans. All the hits like "Sweet Home Alabama," "Gimme Three Steps," "Saturday Night Special," and "That Smell" are aboard, along with "What's Your Name," "Workin' for MCA," "I Know a Little," and "Free Bird" in both live and original studio versions. Other highlights include great album tracks like "The Ballad of Curtis Loew," "Call Me the Breeze," and "You Got That Right," an acoustic version of "All I Can Do Is Write About It," and early demo versions of "Four Walls of Raiford" and "Comin' Home." If you're planning on only making one Lynyrd Skynyrd entry into your collection, this is certainly the one to get. © Cub Koda /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Geffen*

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 enthusiastically 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. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 17, 1977 | Geffen

Street Survivors appeared in stores just days before Lynyrd Skynyrd's touring plane crashed, tragically killing many members of the band, including lead singer and songwriter Ronnie Van Zant. Consequently, it's hard to see Street Survivors outside of the tragedy, especially since the best-known song here, "That Smell," reeks of death and foreboding. If the band had lived, however, Street Survivors would have been seen as an unqualified triumph, a record that firmly re-established Skynyrd's status as the great Southern rock band. As it stands, it's a triumph tinged with a hint of sadness, sadness that's projected onto it from listeners aware of what happened to the band after recording. Viewed as merely a record, it's a hell of an album. The band springs back to life with the addition of guitarist Steve Gaines, and Van Zant used the time off the road to write a strong set of songs, highlighted by "That Smell," "You Got That Right," and the relentless boogie "I Know a Little." It's tighter than any record since Second Helping and as raw as Nuthin' Fancy. If the original band was fated to leave after this record, at least they left with a record that serves as a testament to Skynyrd's unique greatness. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 13, 1994 | Volcano

Okay, it's the latter-day band with lots of replacement members, but this is a great record, and this time out there are no repertory problems. This is Skynyrd's "unplugged" album, with the band performing most of its best-known songs without amplification, on an array of instruments that includes mandolin. The songs come off very strong and surprisingly natural in this setting, and it's all good enough and different enough to make Endangered Species a necessary addition to the collection of any fan of the original band. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Geffen*

This may be the greatest unissued first album ever to surface from a major band. The story behind the 78 minutes of music on this CD, cut two years before Lynyrd Skynyrd's official debut album, could fill a chapter of a book. Cut primarily during late June and late July of 1971, with a quintet of 1972-vintage tracks added, they constitute Skynyrd's complete studio recordings from the period when they were still trying to get signed and were playing lots of small-time local gigs for barely enough money to live on. Seven of the songs were released on the 1978 album Skynyrd's First and...Last, and three others appear on the 1991 box set, while "Comin' Home" turned up on The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd earlier that same year, but this is the first time this potent body of work has been assembled properly, in one place. And, additionally, one previously unissued track by itself justifies the price of this disc -- the original demo version of "Free Bird," on which the soaring harmonies, Billy Powell's beautiful piano, and the Collins-Rossington guitar duo plays with startling fire and lyricism. Several of the tracks do contain overdubs laid on in the mid-'70s (mostly Ed King's bass and some guitar, and even a Mellotron on "White Dove" -- it would be great to hear that song without the electronic string section), but this is still the band at its most raw and unaffected, in terms of what the core members are playing. Ronnie Van Zant's singing was not only powerful, but beautiful at this stage of his career, and the group's playing -- especially the Rossington-Collins double lead guitar attack -- is filled with a fresh spirit of experimentation and adventure that makes these tracks essential listening for anyone who has ever enjoyed this band's work. Evidently, the material and related demos scared the crap out of most record company executives when they were shown around in 1971-1972, and it's easy to see why -- the sound is fierce, the songs not only boldly played but boldly written as well (even the Rick Medlocke-written and sung "The Seasons" is a killer piece of semi-acoustic country-rock), and running anywhere from five to ten minutes apiece. Anyway, most record company executives being inherent cowardly, or stupid, or both, it's easy to see them running from the room over these sounds. Anyone who owns any of Lynyrd Skynyrd's releases should add this magnificent lost chapter in the group's history. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Geffen*

Lynyrd Skynyrd begins to show signs of wear on their fourth album, Gimme Back My Bullets. The band had switched producers, hiring Tom Dowd, the producer who served Atlantic's roster so well during the label's heyday. Unfortunately, he wasn't perfectly suited for Skynyrd, at least at this point in their history. The group had toured regularly since the release of their debut and it showed, not just in their performance, but in the songwriting of Ronnie Van Zant, who had been so consistent through their first three albums. Not to say that he was spent -- the title track was as defiant as "All I Can Do Is Write About It" was affecting, while "Searching" was a good ballad and "Double Trouble" was a good rocker. These songs, however, were surrounded by songs that leaned to the dull side of generic (unlike those on Nuthin' Fancy) and Dowd's production didn't inject energy into the group's performances. This doesn't mean Gimme Back My Bullets is a bad record, since the group was still in fairly good shape and they had some fine songs, but coming after three dynamite albums, it was undoubtedly a disappointment -- so much so that it still sounds like a disappointment years later, even though it's one of only a handful of records by the original band. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 17, 1977 | Geffen

Street Survivors appeared in stores just days before Lynyrd Skynyrd's touring plane crashed, tragically killing many members of the band, including lead singer and songwriter Ronnie Van Zant. Consequently, it's hard to see Street Survivors outside of the tragedy, especially since the best-known song here, "That Smell," reeks of death and foreboding. If the band had lived, however, Street Survivors would have been seen as an unqualified triumph, a record that firmly re-established Skynyrd's status as the great Southern rock band. As it stands, it's a triumph tinged with a hint of sadness, sadness that's projected onto it from listeners aware of what happened to the band after recording. Viewed as merely a record, it's a hell of an album. The band springs back to life with the addition of guitarist Steve Gaines, and Van Zant used the time off the road to write a strong set of songs, highlighted by "That Smell," "You Got That Right," and the relentless boogie "I Know a Little." It's tighter than any record since Second Helping and as raw as Nuthin' Fancy. If the original band was fated to leave after this record, at least they left with a record that serves as a testament to Skynyrd's unique greatness. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 24, 2015 | Loud & Proud Records

Capturing a tribute concert held on November 12, 2014 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, the double-disc One More for the Fans is studded with Southern rock stars, along with a bunch of country acts, bluesmen, Cheap Trick, and John Hiatt. The whole thing culminated with Skynyrd coming out for the close -- the headlines came from Johnny Van Zant duetting with footage of a departed Ronnie on the big screen but the closing "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama" worked better -- but this is best heard as a ragged tribute by acts that either play it straight or enjoy getting a little rowdy with the legacy. Jamey Johnson picks an obscurity in "Four Walls of Raiford" but this pretty much consists of the basic canon, which is by no means a complaint, particularly when Randy Houser tears into "Whiskey Rock-A-Roller," Blackberry Smoke beefs up "Workin' for MCA," and Jason Isbell swings on "I Know a Little." Maybe this isn't a flat-out classic but anybody who's enjoyed Skynyrd over the years will find something to enjoy here. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 14, 2000 | Geffen

Lynyrd Skynyrd's 2000 compilation All Time Greatest Hits suffers from the same ailments that plague many compilations of its time, but there is one problem in particular that hurts it: instead of offering all of the "all time greatest hits" on one disc, the compilers pulled their punches, overlooking a few big songs while occasionally substituting live or acoustic versions for the original studio versions. That means that this is a Skynyrd compilation without the famed original recording of "Free Bird" -- a live version is here instead. It doesn't really matter that it's a good version, taken from 1976's One More from the Road, or that the live version actually charted in the Top 40; nor does it matter that "All I Can Do Is Write About It" is a good acoustic version originally released on the eponymous 1991 box set, because this is a collection made for a general audience. It should, therefore, have the versions that a general audience knows best. Apart from that, and the usual nitpicking over songs that should have been included ("Workin' for MCA," "Don't Ask Me No Questions," etc.), this remains a solid collection, containing most of the Skynyrd material that a casual follower could want. If the double-album Gold & Platinum remains the greater compilation, that's because it captures the essence of the band better. This includes most of the best-known songs on one disc, and that's noteworthy in its own right; it may even be preferable for some listeners. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1997 | Geffen*

Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the book on Southern rock with their first album, so it only made sense that they followed it for their second album, aptly titled Second Helping. Sticking with producer Al Kooper (who, after all, discovered them), the group turned out a record that replicated all the strengths of the original, but was a little tighter and a little more professional. It also revealed that the band, under the direction of songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, was developing a truly original voice. Of course, the band had already developed their own musical voice, but it was enhanced considerably by Van Zant's writing, which was at turns plainly poetic, surprisingly clever, and always revealing. Though Second Helping isn't as hard a rock record as Pronounced, it's the songs that make the record. "Sweet Home Alabama" became ubiquitous, yet it's rivaled by such terrific songs as the snide, punkish "Workin' for MCA," the Southern groove of "Don't Ask Me No Questions," the affecting "The Ballad of Curtis Loew," and "The Needle and the Spoon," a drug tale as affecting as their rival Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done," but much harder rocking. This is the part of Skynyrd that most people forget -- they were a great band, but they were indelible because that was married to great writing. And nowhere was that more evident than on Second Helping. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 31, 2010 | Geffen

This budget-line set is brief but all of the seven tracks -- including "What's Your Name," "Gimme Three Steps," "You Got That Right," and "That Smell" -- are first-rate, making this a good truckstop cassette, the kind to pick up and wear out on a cross-country road trip. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo