One of the finest of the Southern rock bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd's 1974 album follows the success of "Free Bird" and "Gimme Three Steps" from their 1973 debut and features their biggest hit single, "Sweet Home Alabama", an answer song to Neil Young's "Southern Man" and "Alabama". The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August 1974. Second Helping also featured "Don't Ask Me No Questions," "Workin' for MCA," and "Call Me the Breeze," the latter of which includes an acclaimed piano solo…
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.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD Sounds Of The South/MCA Years 1973-1988 (Limited edition 2007 promotional Japanese box set) contains Lynyrd Skynyrd's original MCA albums digitally remastered and expanded and housed in miniature LP sleeves [One More For The Road is a double CD], all of whichare promo-stamped. Five of the albums include bonus tracks and each includes replica liner notes or picture inserts. Not least there are two booklets: an extensive 80-page booklet with English lyrics and specific notes onthe bonus tracks + a 28-page booklet about the boxand album reissues themselves.
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.
Crosscut Saw reissues Albert King's 1983 album San Francisco '83 (a studio album, not a live one), adding two previously unreleased cuts. His first new release in five years, it wasn't one of King's better records – but it did represent a return to a basic five-piece sound, an improvement upon his over-produced outings of the late '70s.