Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Skynyrd's First and... Last" by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1978)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl.

Filed between: Loretta Lynn and Madonna.

Key Tracks:
Preacher's Daughter, Was I Right or Wrong, Comin' Home

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
Wino sounds like Black Sabbath doing a parody of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  The Seasons - unless you're Genesis, don't ever let your drummer sing lead vocal.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Recommended Listening (3/4 stars)

Lynyrd Skynyrd will never die.  At this point, they are just as much an American institution as Chevrolet, Lee Greenwood or breast implants.  However, I'm gonna call this a posthumous release.  It came on the heels of them losing their voice and their soul and was their "last" studio release before a decade-long hiatus.

And posthumous releases are tricky things for both fans and record companies.  Fans want to pay respects and mourn, but they also want to hear whatever's left in the archive - hoping to find one last secret gem, but that almost never happens.  Record companies want to cash in without blatently looking like they're cashing in or selling out.  And besides, what do you release: b-sides, half-finished studio tracks, live stuff?

Fans and MCA both got lucky with this one.  "Skynyrd's First and... Last" was actually an early studio album recorded by the band before they wisely scrapped it.  I find it odd that I'm saying it was wise to scrap a record I just called recommended listening.  But the truth is, it's nowhere near the juggernaut REQUIRED LISTENING of "Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd."  However, this version of Was I Right or Wrong gives me deeper chills than Tuesday's Gone.  On the flipside, Things Goin' On got greatly improved on "Pronounced" - not to mention Simple Man and Freebird.

Even so, as far as posthumous releases go, "Skynyrd's First and... Last" is about as close to a last secret gem as you can get, except for maybe Johnny Cash's "American VI" and that Nirvana record nobody will ever hear but Courtney Love.

So, is it an album?  Yes.  And it's pure Lynyrd Skynyrd to boot - uneven as it may be.

Up next, "Homecoming" by America.

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