Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Nuthin' Fancy (1975 us, classic 3rd album, japan extra tracks issue)

With three full-time electric guitarists, a piano player and a fireplug of a lead singer who looks like Robert Blake's Baretta in a hippie disguise, Georgia's Lynyrd Skynyrd presents an unusually broad front line. And the band's live grand finale ("Our tribute to Du-ane"), the relentlessly ascending "Free Bird," is rock & roll at its most classically enveloping — a must see. On record, Skynyrd, with the aid of producer Al Kooper, approximates its hot live sound by limiting overdubbed extras (with three guitars and a keyboard, overdubbed parts are hardly necessary) and — partly through extensive room miking — by enclosing the band in a natural ambience.

Nuthin' Fancy maintains the feel, sonically and stylistically, of the first two albums but much of it seems stiff next to its direct predecessor, the tough but neighborly Second Helping. Singer Ronnie Van Zant's lyrics, so lucid and sly on the last album (especially in "Workin' for MCA" and "Sweet Home Alabama") are now sometimes hackneyed ("Railroad Song") or heavy-handed ("Saturday Night Special"). And the playing on a good half of the album sounds studiedly awkward compared to live renditions of the same songs. In particular, new drummer Artimus Pyle comes across much stronger onstage than on the record.

But there are some specific grabbers to make up for the problem areas. "On the Hunt," dominated by Gary Rossington's whip-snap guitar work, crackles with the dark eroticism of Free (Kooper cites that band as a favorite of Skynyrd's) and is as good as anything the group has put on record; "Cheatin' Woman" works, if not as a serious angry song, at least as an accurate Gregg Allman sendup, with Van Zant doing the vocal slurs and Kooper supplying the organ line; Rossington and Ed King give the second half of "Saturday Night Special" an exciting power assist; and "Am I Losin'" features Van Zant's most personal writing and singing (Van Zant's lyric writing may be erratic but his vocals are always on target).
by Bud Scoppa, “Rolling Stone” June 19, 1975
1. Saturday Night Special (E. King, R. Van Zant) - 5:08
2. Cheatin' Woman (R. Van Zant, G. Rossington, A. Kooper) - 4:38
3. Railroad Song (E. King, R. Van Zant) - 4:14
4. I'm A Country Boy (A. Collins, R. Van Zant) - 4:24
5. On The Hunt (A. Collins, R. Van Zant) - 5:25
6. Am I Losin' (G. Rossington, R. Van Zant) - 4:32
7. Made In The Shade (R. Van Zant) - 4:40
8. Whiskey Rock-A-Roller (E. King, R. Van Zant, B. Powell) - 4:33
9. Railroad Song (Live) (E. King, R. Van Zant) - 5:27
10.On The Hunt (Live) (A. Collins, R. Van Zant) - 6:10

Lynyrd Skynyrd
*Ronnie Van Zant - Lead Vocals
*Allen Collins - Gibson Firebird Guitar
*Ed King - Fender Stratocaster And Gibson Sg Guitar
*Gary Rossington - Gibson Les Paul Guitar
*Billy Powell - Keyboards
*Leon Wilkeson - Bass Guitar
*Artimus Pyle - Drums, Percussion
Additional Musicians
*Barry Harwood - Dobro, Mandolin
*Jimmy Hall - Harmonica
*David Foster - Piano
*Bobbye Hall - Percussion

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  1. Well 1975 proved to be a year of drastic change for Lynyrd Skynyrd. In January, drummer Bob Burns left the band because of the stress brought on by heavy touring. Ronnie VanZant would later pen the song "Am I Losin'?" about Bob's departure. Artimus Pyle quickly filled the drummer's slot and Skynyrd proceeded to record their third album, Nuthin' Fancy. Lynyrd Skynyrd confirming their place as the southern rock darlings of the 70s. Not without its flaws, but the tracks that rock well make it a must have.

    The album title for Lynyrd Skynyrd's third album is humble. Nuthin' Fancy may not be "high fallutin'" by nature, but the implication that this is a simple record is deceiving. To be sure there seems to be some filler songs in here where Van Zant may have been stretching for well crafted material, however the meat on the bones of this record are slow cooked and savory in unmatched southern rock style. Falling off the bone is "Cheatin' Woman" perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of fine Billy Powell keyboard and rich swampy blues. "Country Boy", which could easily come off as cliche, renders cleanly as a heart felt gritty, soulful proclamation of a proud station.

    But it is side 2 of this record that really shifts into third gear starting with "On The Hunt" reminding us that Lynyrd Skynyrd is a force to be reckoned with. Sink your teeth in riffs backed with scorching stratospheric guitar lines position you as Van Zant's wing man as he hunts for pussy (for him at the time though I am sure it was less of a hunt and more of like "taking his pick". Taking the anomaly award though for side 2 is "am I losin'", that sounds as though it were produced by James Taylor. But the clutch reengages confidently with the Kink-esque "Made in the Shade" and the deep seated hickory smoked "Whiskey Rock-A-Roller" making this album a finger lickin' good keeper. Play it loudly!

    Thanks so much, Marios!

  2. Possible to have another upload? Seems broken... Regards,