George Starostin's Reviews



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Anthony Walters <> (07.01.2000)

I love the page but I think Skynyrds first is the best. But I think that essential Lynyrd Skynyrd is the best bet for fans to hear them at their best.

<> (12.01.2000)

I agree, for the most part, with your assessment of the Skynyrd albums. But you absolutely need to review Street Survivors, the last album before the fatal plane crash that claimed Ronnie Van Zant, and new guitarist Steve Gaines, and his sister, backup vocalist, Cassie Gaines. This album is tough, but has some polish to it, and even the critics asgreed that it gave a breath of life to a dying genre. The fact that this new life ended before it had a chance to get rolling is one of rocks great tragedies, IMO.

<> (27.01.2000)

I really support your views on skynyrd. Sometimes i dont think that people, or critics give skynyrd enough credit. In my own oppinion, there sound is one of the most unique. Bass player Leon Wilkinson is among one of the best at what he does. Gary Rossington and the other two guitar players play very well together too. ~Skynyrd forever

<> (28.01.2000)

how can you rate skynyrd as a 1 and yet say 3 of the albums are above average? and what's with your idea that one duane allman could beat 3 skynyrd guitarists. duane is great, but he is not better that 3 skynyrd guitarists combined. you ever heard 'free bird'? enough said.

[Special author note: I say Second Helping is average, the other two are above average; the rating of 1 fully permits that. A rating of -1 would mean that a certain band never goes beyond average. As for the guitarists, yeah, I've heard 'Freebird', but I also heard the Allmans' At The Fillmore East, and I know what I'm talking about.]

Glenn Wiener <> (04.02.2000)

I really was intrigued by these guys as a teenager. That 'Sweet Home Alabama' will always be a favorite tune of mine with edgy vocals, honkey tonk piano, and searing guitar riffs. The songs while simple in structure, come accross powerful in delivery. Its shame Ronnie, Steve, and Cassie perished in the plane crash, as the Street Survivors album was potentially the recording that was going to lift them to new heights. Whereas, the band reunited about a decade later with Johnny Van Zant and some additional band members, the spirit of the old Skynyrd was badly missing. The 1991 release shows that the bands style actually stagnated as one song sounds nearly identical in tone as the next. None the less, Ronnie Van Zant era Skynyrd is quality music with an attitude that was never quite repeated.

<> (02.03.2000)

im pleased how you rated the albums but i dont know how you could give them an overall rating of a little tiny 1...... and i agree with Jspiers316, doesn't "free bird" say enough?

<> (04.04.2000)

I think 1 is a little low. Listen to the guitars George. They have 3 lead guitarists going at the same time. Its amazing. Steve Gaines does a number on that Strat of his, Allen Collins shows his brilliance in "Free Bird" but GARY ROSSINGTON could give more than a few people lessons on how to USE (more like manipulate) a Gibson Les Paul. The guy is amazing. Listen to "Gimme 3 Steps". Thats guitar. Something else i really like about Lynyrd Skynyrd is Ronnie Van Zant. He was actually a very nice guy, and his presence on stage was killer. He didnt jump around or anything, he just sang and took care of business. Thats the way its supposed to be. You didnt see any of the guitarists acting crazy during solos or anything.. they just played.. I like that. I cant forget Billy Powell on piano. His bridges on "Tuesday's Gone" and "Free Bird" are beautiful. Leon Wilkenson always came across to me as a lunatic though... whats with the hats? I dunno. Artimus Pyle, who looks like a cross between Charles Manson and Christ may not be the best drummer in the world, but his beard is cool... right?.... Anyway, you really do need to listen to One More From the Road in my opinion, it is one of the best live albums ever put together. You also said that they werent that great of a live band. Obviously they werent bad.... '76 at Knebworth Fair in Herfordshire, England they blew the Rolling Stones (thats right, your 5 star band.......) off the stage. Thats not my personal opinion, thats a fact, stated in MANY concert reviews from that time period. So, lets give the boys from Florida what they deserve, huh?

[Special author note: hey, they sure were a very good live band, but it's unfair to take the Knebworth comparison - the Stones weren't on a roll in that epoch. And besides, it's not the playing, it's the way too often unimaginative songwriting I'm against. I actually put the lads on the site BECAUSE the best thing I like about them is the triple guitar attack. Fascinating stuff.]

<> (15.06.2000)

i believe that skynyrd is one of the best bands of all time. very unique with the three guitar attack, and also able to add a piano into the mix. together they all mesh brilliantly. definitely one of the best live bands of all time, and ronnie van zant definitely one of the most intriguing rock personalties of all time. no doubt this band belongs in the rock and roll hall of fame, if not for their great music, then for their resilience. just listen to the songs, and the words come home like truth. i also feel that van zant was ahead of his time with many of his lyrics. listen to songs like "all i can do is write about it," or "things goin' on," or "saturday night special" and you will see my point. the things van zant talks about in these songs are at the forefront of political discussion today. i agree with most of your points, but i do believe that the band deserves better than a one overall rating. also, i would love to hear your review of street survivors and lynyrd skynyrd 1991 which is in my opinion the best post ronnie album the band has ever done. keep up the good work!!!!!!!

Michael Mulgrew <> (16.08.2000)

Steve Gaines was ready to give Duane Allman a run for his money. If you talk with anybody in the Skynyrd circles they will tell you that Gaines was a special talent. Listen to his playing on Street Survivors and you will hear a young man just beginning to create a positive energy for a band that had plenty of energy to begin with. His beginning riff on "I Know a Little" blows me away 23 years later. His slide work on "Honky Tonk Night Time Man" definetly rivals Duane Allman. He also could sing.

Vince Corvelli <> (25.08.2000)

Listen closer to the leads. Listen to the work..Skynyrds leads definatly are more flowing, more aranged, and have better sounds than the Allman Bros. Perkier music all around. The Allman Bros has kind of a depression to it. Actually I don't even catorgorize them the same as you do. Yes they were freinds, and yes they shared tragedies, BUT they are totally different. Ronnie and Duanne were freinds..But different. I would never even thought of comparing the two bands this way. They both will live on forever. Why compare? I'm a Skynyrd freak. I love the Allman Bros just as Molly Hatchet and more southern rock. Listen to Randall Hall these days..HE IS AWSOME!!! Why compare them? Vince in MD

Brian Hasinger <> (25.08.2000)

I don't know how you can give Skynyrd a 1.  I may only be 11 and just a kid, but I know skynyrd is just simply the best.  I own every album they put out with Ronnie Van Zant, and own 3 with Johnny Van Zant.  How can you say the Allman Brothers could easily blow Skynyrd off stage?  I have seen Skynyrd once, have all three of their live albums, and have their live video.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Allman Brothers, but Skynyrd puts on a FANTASTIC show.  I agree with Jspiers316, isn't free bird enough for you?  Steve Gaines is obviously one of the best guitar players in my mind.  And Gary Rossington.  I play guitar, and I idolize the guy.  His slide playing could go up against Duane Allman.  I am a dedicated Skynyrd fan, and I don't know how you can say the less Skynyrd fans there are in the world, the better.  That saying is just, well, stupid. I don't even know how you could say something like that about a band that is obviously one of the best bands in history.  I won't express any more of my anger about some of the things you said because I think I will got to my stereo and pop in one of my 12 Lynyrd Skynyrd cds. ~  Skynyrd is the best

Mike Ferguson <> (03.09.2000)

How can you put Lynyrd Skynyrd and the word "mediocre" in the same sentence.

Thats ridiculous!! They were and still are an awesome band. As far as being mediocre how about the Rolling Stones the last 30 years. Actually the last 15-20 years they've been downright BAD and not in the good way. As far as the Allman Brothers blowing Skynyrd off the stage live, I highly doubt it! Nothing against the Allmans- I like them too- but I've seen Skynyrd live 5 times and they're fantastic.

I also think Allen Collins and Steve Gaines are two of the most underrated guitarists of all time. I mean the 'Freebird' solo- thats Allen by himself, dude. Incredible. And Steve on the intro to 'I Know a Little'! That boy could flat out play!

I also disagree with some of reviews of the songs. I mean 'The Needle and the Spoon' was a rockin' song and I think the studio version of 'Call Me the Breeze' is superlative. And Second Helping is one of the great "guitar" albums of all time.  

Kyle <> (11.09.2000)

I don't know about you, but you sure appear to be tone deaf! Skynyrd is the greatest southern rock band of all time, their memory will live forever. from the way you talk you can't possibly play the guitar. freebird is incredible,  nothing beat's it. the bass the lead the bone chilling lyrics and the jamming. how can you say that Dwaine is better. to tell the truth the allman's are country-blues and Ronnie was a hard-core sorthern rocker to the heart. Do you even know were they are from? they sang about what they lived, not as you say. to be southern you don't have to be a racist. but you do have to have Dixie in your heart ( as Ronnie said, 'you can take a boy out of oll' Dixieland, but you'll never take Dixie from a boy.')

have you ever heard the story behind 'gimmie 3 steps' or behind the name Lynyrd Skynyrd? or were they grew up? they were true country boys to the heart, that's no act.

Anoop Bhat <> (14.09.2000)

Calling Skynyrd "mediocre" without having heard One More.... isn't really fair, in my humble opinion. The live version of "Free Bird" would probably be defined as "boring" by you, but having played it myself on campus (to unfiromly wild responses), I can assure you how wrong you are (well, I heard the live version on Freebird: The Movie, and it definitely is not boring, yet it's not enough to raise Skynyrd's status all by itself - G. S.).

You have also appended the "racist" tag rather too easily on them: remember, "Sweet Home..." was actually a REACTIVE song to Neil Young's "Alabama" (BTW if you find Skynyd mediocre, you should really check him out!); in the live version of "Sweet Home...", Ronnie actually mutters "There are GOOD people in Alabama, let Mr. Young know that too" to wild cheers from the audience. Doubt any cotton-field redneck would identify with THAT.

[Special author note: when will you people actually start reading reviews before flaming their authors? Where did this gent find me appending the "racist" tag to Skynyrd? I was defending them!]

Whoa Dude <> (30.10.2000)

There used to be a time when folks would wonder about George Starostin. Now, since you've posted your "General Rating" we all know you're a complete idiot!!!

You must either be completely unknown to music theory, or you are a bigot, or you are both. To not appreciate the real Lynrd Skynrd is simply to admit you have no appreciation for true musical talent. I'd bet you own a bunch of Tesh & Yanni CD's.

I'm sure you have a purpose in life - I wonder what it really is. It's obvious, by your own remarks, you know very little about Lynrd Skynrd. You are a poor pathetic soul who will most likely omit these comments from your website because your ego seems too fragile to handle reality.

I hope you grow up someday & learn how to appreciate & ultimately practice music theory.

[Special author note: I love it when offensive Skynyrd fans try to come up with 'intelligently shaped' insults. I, for one, could never even dream of pronouncing a phrase like 'your ego seems too fragile to handle reality'. I have not the slightest idea of what that is exactly supposed to mean, so I'm gonna go meditate on that now. PS: whoa dude, you must either be completely unknown to syntax rules, or your orthography sucks. Probably both.]

<> (29.11.2000)

this is to whoever wrote this crap about Lynyrd Skynyrd and tried to be a self made critic....You have to be musically illiterate to write some of the things that you've written! It really irritates me when people try to come off like they know music and then write rubbish like this. I guess you like the back street boys or some sort of "musical genious"(HA) like that.Don't quit your day job dude,you'll never make it as a musical critic.your ignorance of the subject shows through! The guitars in ALL of the Skynyrd recordings are a true inspiration to anyone that plays.Their music will live forever...where are your talents,and who did they influence?

Just my opinion.(qualifications Gladly given upon request!) [No thanks but no thanks. Me, I'm at least qualified to correctly spell 'genius', something that most Skynyrd diehards obviously have serious problems with - G. S.].

Jason McDaniel <> (09.12.2000)

A "1"? Are you kidding me? I think think they deserve at least a 2 or 3 based on just two songs: "Freebird" and "Sweet Home Alabama"...two of the greatest songs ever. The second half of "Freebird" is possibly the best purely instrumental part of any song ever. And "Sweet Home Alabama"...what can I say? The song just rocks. Take those songs out and I'd give them a 1 too.

Kris Huff <> (14.12.2000)

George, I'm one of those diehard Lynyrd Skynyrd fans that you think the world needs less of.  Before I go any further, let me thank you for at least giving the band a chance and reviewing them. Also, thank you for pointing out that they were not racists (some people just refuse to hear the "Boo, Boo, Boo" after the Wallace reference in Alabama). I can't say I agree with the low rating, but oh well. For such a low rating, your reviews are surprisingly positive for the most part.  Anyway, I was a 4.0 student in high school, my school's salutatorian, and I'm currently a freshman in college.  I am not racist, I do not use chewing tobacco, or exhibit very many other traits of the typical redneck.  And believe me, living in West Virginia, I know many racist, tobacco chewing rednecks.  All I'm saying is, not every dedicated Skynyrd fan is a "braindead" hick. As for Skynyrd's music, I think they're just the greatest band in the world.  Let me just put it this way:  I've heard Beatles songs I that I don't particularly care for, likewise with the Stones and the Who.  But I've yet to hear a Lynyrd Skynyrd song that I don't love. Personally, I think Ronnie Van Zant's lyrics are great.  Of course, I can't expect someone from Russia to relate to "All I Can Do Is Write About It" in the same way as someone from West Virginia.  Anyway, thanks for giving the band a chance.  

<> (19.12.2000)

Since my uncle signed this band to his record label (in my opinion,they wrote "Working for MCA" about him), I totally disagree with such a low rating for the band. When the band came out I was in high school. I was addicted to them from the moment I got their first album before its release to the public.

I saw them for their first performance in NYC at the Acadamy of Music with The Charlie Daniels Band. Although the band was labeled as a Southern Rock Band, I felt they were given that tag only because they were from the south and sang about the places they knew of, not because of any particular musical style. I'm not sure many people realize this, but they often hung out with punk bands such as the New York Dolls when they were in this area.

I saw the band perform 9 times and had tickets to see them in Chattanooga, TN just before the plane crash. They were one of the better live acts I saw. I saw the Allman's perform and I enjoyed Skynyrd's performances more. The better shows were the ones in the smaller venues. In my opinion, once the band started playing in the larger arenas they became less in touch with their audience.

My favorite album is Gimme Back My Bullets. Even though it was not given good reviews, I felt that at least they were attempting to be alittle more diverse trying to break away from the Southern Rock stereotype. The musical qualifty of the songs were deeper and incorporated many different styles. They took a chance on this album, not everyone was ready for this type of change at the time, but I always respected them for trying.

Last year I went to see them perform with ZZ Top. I went because I wanted to see ZZ Top perform because I had never seen them live before. I was shocked by how much I really enjoyed seeing the old Skynyrd songs performed. The sad thing was that what was redneck in the 70's has become racist in the present time. I don't know how this band has become synomous with racial hatred these days. I agree with what you said in your review about how it is wrong to label the band based on some of their lyrics.

In closing, I think your rating on this band was way off the mark. This band was one of the better bands of its time, both musically and performance wise. Sadly, once the plane crashed the band became a symbol of sadness rather than known for its solid music.

<> (29.12.2000)

I think this is one of those situations where your environment determines your viewpoint. In that sense, your claim of "objectivity" regarding Lynyrd Skynyrd is probably a little bit of wishful thinking. If, as I suspect, you're from somewhere in the northeast, where people generally hate and fear the South and everyone who lives there, and thereby put on a display of spiteful derision and effeminite snobbery towards everything Southern, the chances that you would appreciate Lynyrd Skynyrd (or be able to view them objectively) are slim at best. Having said that, I'd agree with your assessment that they were a bit of a one-note outfit, but I would add that they did one thing and did it extremely well, with a lot of feeling and sharp-as-a-tack musicianship, which one could argue is superior to some artists who try to prove their brilliance by struggling desperately to be "profound", only to fail miserably. I guess you could probably compare Skynyrd to Bruce Springsteen, who has a fanatical following, but one that people from outside the northeast (or even outside New Jersey) tend to be hard-pressed to comprehend. In Skynyrd's case, they have the added knock of being from the South, which means, as anyone from the South knows, that you have one mark against you before you're out of the womb, regardless of who you are. Their music reflects that, and if you're from the self-righteously "superior" North, you'd probably have trouble "getting" Skynyrd, and you might even feel a little threatened by them, which might lead you to defensively brand them as "racists" or some other innacurate and malicious slur, so you don't have to consider the possibility that it's you who might be missing something about life- something that the "dirty rednecks" of Skynyrd knew like the back of their hand- which of course is exactly what's happened. I'm not sure I'd rank them over the Allman Brothers as far as Southern rock bands go, but they definitely deserve a fairer shake than you've given them. They had some real talent.

Marshall Hood <> (07.01.2001)

I'm a 14 year old boy from SC. How could you give Skynyrd a "1"?  Lynyrd Skynyrd is the Number 1 band. Duane Allan is a good guitarist. But no way is he better than Allen Collins. Lynyrd Skynyrd is the best live band ever. I have one more from the road, Freebird the movie, and the essentials. You would really have to listen hard to find any mistakes, if there were any mistakes. where do you get off saying Lynyrd Skynyrd is mediocre. You're right great band do tend to experiment more, but how much experimenting can a band do in the original Skynyrd four recording years. I am a guitarist and I have a band of 5, 3 guitars, bass, drums. we don't have a singer. 

and let me you, its hard, very hard to make three guitars playing at the same time not sound like a train wreck.  So Lynyrd skynyrd I think is truly the best live band ever. And maybe you should go out to the store and pick up that One More from the road.

[Special author note: well, first of all, Marshall, a band can do quite a bit of experimenting in four recording years. Take the Beatles from 1965 to 1969, for instance - eh? But actually, my problems with Skynyrd aren't due to their lack of experimentation, but rather due to a generic and unvaried approach to songwriting. Unlike a band like Creedence Clearwater Revival, who used the 'roots-rock' formula as a launchpad for the creativity of John Fogerty, Skynyrd just pushed forward that formula, with a few classics along the way, but mostly relying on standard melodies, well-popularized long before their time. If you don't believe me, maybe you should go out to the store and actually pick up the band's entire studio catalog, not just "The Essentials" - in order to witness the percentage of boring filler on their records.]

<> (18.02.2001)

dude, how can you give em a 1 they rock man!

and the doors and jimi hendrix deserve a 5 before the beatles! jimi is the beast guitarist in the world!!!!!and for the lost genaration you have to add RHCP is you use the 80s and 90s and give them a 5! they rock!

<> (10.03.2001)

now, i'm from jacksonville. love, love, love skynnyrd. 'Simple Kind Of Man', is my favorite song of theirs. 'Freebird', is the ultimate redneck anthem. an aside, my great aunt taught at Lee with the original Leonard Skinner.

T. Miscia <> (17.04.2001)

I'm sorry, I'm not exactly commenting on the band, but I'll try to get to that. I just felt that this was as good a place as any to comment on the other comments.

Why do people insist on writing inane praises of their band when they can't even spell it right? How is that even possible that one can't spell the name of their favorite band? Lynnyrd, Lynrd? It's rather sickening. Don't they know that a well thought out essay about how the band is good would be much more effective?

Ok, that was my rant, I hope I didn't offend too many people. You're all good folks, it just doesn't show. About Lynyrd Skynyrd. I agree with most of your comments, though I don't think the "greatest mediocre band on the planet" is a good label. They give me this feel-good feeling, I'm not exactly sure why. I like the guitar tone, it's kind of warm and fuzzy, opposed to the grating and thin sound of people like Jimmy Page. Mostly in the earlier stuff.

Looks like I just became a hypocrite. Geez, I'm an idiot.

Kevin Baker <> (15.05.2001)

What Southerner can resist rantng about Skynyrd? I can't. For the record, I think this new rating of 2 is dead-on. OK, maybe not dead-on, but much better than a 1. Why? Because they had a lot more skill than a one-star band! Someone else said it's hard to have 3 guitars playing without it sounding like a train wreck. He's quite right. And then, to do so in a manner that gives us 'Free Bird'......I won't go off onto a rant about that. 'Free Bird' is one of my favorite songs, and a quintessential Southern Rock anthem. That's another area Skynyrd gains in. Not many bands have written one genre-defining song, let alone two or three. 'Sweet Home Alabama', 'Gimme Three Steps', 'Free Bird', 'That Smell'....all of those songs (plus more!) are really done super-well, and the influence they've had on other rock acts of the era is pretty hard to deny.

But, I'm not going to put Van Zandt and co. on a pedestal here, either. Yeah, the were an excellent live band. But I think the Allmans were better, because the Allmans were genuinely more diverse. They took country, soul, rock, jazz, and blues (with just a pinch of psychedelia sometimes) and created a deliciously unique and new sound. Skynyrd really wasn't all that original. Bluesy rock 'n roll. Don't get me wrong; they do it well, and I enjoy Skynyrd;s output. My only caution is to not be a knee-jerk Skynyrd-worshipper. They weren't perfect by far, and only a perfect being is worthy of worship. That would be God, not Gary Rossington for those who are confused.

OK, now I suppose I'll play Democrat and take advantage of this email as a bully pulpit to expound my views on Southern Rock as a genre. Did y'all just see my Skynyrd comments? If you didn't, you need to see an optometrist. Now, Southern Rock is simultaneously loved and hated by different groups. Us "rednecks" down here love it, while the "intelligent" (emphasis on the quotation marks) say it's stupid and basic and racist, etc. Southern Rock is as much misunderstood as the South is, because the two are very closely linked. Southern Rock is open and honest, but that honesty means an uncomprising nature. Yeah, we have problems down here with stuff. There are plenty of racists, etc. But there are just as many elsewhere. They just don't have a broadcast history as such.

Southern Rock is also called generic barroom rock by a lot of people. This isn't totally unfounded. However, is there anything inherently wrong with music for pure entertainment purposes? I don't think so. Basically, I think Southern Rock gets a bad wrap by people who either can't or won't appreciate stuff at face value. Southern Rock has no pretentions or hidden agendas. It's out there for listening to for entertainment. Don't expect a sweeping social message from it, and you'll be suprised at how much better it can be swallowed.

Sam Lott <> (29.06.2001)

This guy has GOT to be out there to give Skynyrd a rating of 1.5 for Originality! How much more original can lyrics be than "Curtis Lowe" or "I know a little,"  and lots of other FINE original  Skynyrd songs. Even the new stuff is VERY original. Have you listened to "VooDoo Lake" yet? GEEZ!! What an insult to both me and the band to say they sound generic. As far as the Southern Rock issue goes, sure, they have deep southern roots, but a lot of my friends with northern roots are die-hard Skynyrd fans. It kinda makes me want to start swingin' when I listen to this guy's ludicrous opinion of Skynyrd. Oh well. I doubt he and I could ever be Frynds!!

<> (03.09.2001)

Well George, I'll start by saying that I was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and did grow up here during Skynyrd's peak years (I.E pre-crash era), and will admit to being alittle biased. This won't prevent me from putting my 2 cents worth in, and must strongly disagree with you on many points, but most importantly, Skynyrd's lack of lyrical content and abilities. True, this is only rock-n-roll, but how many "original" and "serious" rock bands were writing songs about gun-control ('Saturday Night Special'), drug abuse ('Needle and the Spoon'/'That Smell'), and environmental issues ('All I can do is write about it'), among other social issues in the early to late seventies? Not to mention the alienation of the Viet Nam veteran ('Four walls of Raiford'), written at least 10 years before Springsteen's more popular, but much less personal "Born in the USA". Skynyrd may have been alot of things, but mediocre is not a word that comes to mind.

Julien Benney <> (27.05.2002)

I do not have any interest in Lynyrd Skynyrd's music, but I was surprised to find a website asking the question of why very few people write songs about gun control. Here's a thought or two.

I am a university student with considerable knowledge of student politics, and I know that radical socialist groups such as Socialist Alternative, the International Socialist Organisation, and the Democratic Socialist Party do not support gun control. Indeed, they feel that the Port Arthur massacre of 1996 was seized by super-rich businessmen as an opportunity to have their desire for tighter gun laws (to protect their enormous financial assets) put into effect. There could, indeed, well be some truth in saying that it is the rich who support gun control - ordinary people do not care because they have so much less to use from someone with an automatic rifle. However, politically conscious musicians know they would be heavily criticised (by middle class environmental groups) for writing an anti-gun-control song.

Hence, we can see that song about gun control are not likely to be written in the ordinary course of events.

William Mault <> (12.08.2004)

O.K., people board aircraft for nearly a century. Our southern boys boarded and never returned. I question the math to this day. I don't think they were serious Neil.

God Bless

Lindsey Eck <> (29.09.2005)

Sorry, but the Allman Brothers were a much better band, not that I don't like Skynyrd or anything. But compare the guitar work on "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" to "Free Bird" and the differences are obvious. Yes, both songs use double leads but Skynyrd's solo mostly consists of a four-chord figure that is gradually walked up the scale, set to a commonplace rock-eight beat. "Elizabeth Reed" is jazzy, full of complex polyrhythms, extremely challenging to listen to and to play, an ever-changing masterpiece.

Skynyrd were certainly not a racist band, and more sophisticated than their superficially redneck image would allow, but still the Allman Brothers represent a strain of Southern rock that allowed for a large black influence. They made a point of covering old black blues standards and doing so in a kickass manner. As such they represented a progressive interpretation of what it means to be Southern (the Black Crowes continue this tradition today) and were very popular in the North. Not so Skynyrd, who only had a cult following among Yankees; up North they were distrusted, at least in their heyday, even more so than, say, .38 Special. (Interestingly, geographically one would expect the opposite: The Brothers are from the Piedmont, home to the most redneck version of Southern culture, while Skynyrd's home territory is in the Gulf Coast, usually identified with the Delta blues which the Allmans actually played.)

Melanie Felsher <> (23.12.2005)

OK, y'all can all quit yer bitchin'-Skynyrd(the classic line-up) is in the Class of 2006 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees{insert Rebel yell}-alriiiiight! And it's about time!


<> (07.06.2000)

Rickey Medlocke is disgusting.. Im sorry, but they guy needs to just play guitar.. we can do wihtout all the acting that goes along with it. You dont see Gary Rossington makin all those faces.. nahhh.. And hes TONS better than Rickey Medlocke and his Geronimo guitar playing.... THanks...

Jill Aitson <> (22.08.2000)

This is in response to Huntr3. Rickey Medlocke is the best thing they've got going for them now days. If you haven't notice Rickey IS the show. By the way, what is Geronimo guitar playing? Just your ignorant prejudice? Your welcome

<> (12.08.2002)

i think this is skynyrd's best album ever released. i believe this album best shows skynyrd's amazing ability to write songs that not only sound awesome but really touch all of those who listen to them. no band will ever surpass skynyrd, no band ever has and the beatles ain't got nothin' on these boys.


<> (26.12.2000)

you claim that this is the ultimate southern rock album, yet you only give it an 11 on your overall scale? While songs like "Simple Man" and "Mississippi Kid" may not be classics, they are certainly listenable. And the rest are mostly classics. How can you say that "gimme three steps" is superior to "free bird"? "Free Bird" is THE ultimate southern rock song, and nothing in skynyrd's catalogue or the allmans catalogue can match it.

David Carlton Dickson <> (11.04.2004)

Heh.   I always knew you had some of the redneck in you, George. Coulda told it from the first review. Man, the drawl just can't be hidden.

YOU know what I'm talking about.

But godDAMN if this isn't the best Southern rock ever recorded. I'm not much of a fan of "Mississippi Kid", but the rest of the album rules mercilessly. Oh, and by the way, bastard radio stations usually play "Free Bird" in its entirety. I actually haven't listened to Second Helping yet, though I can understand why some people prefer it over this album--six of its eight songs were hits. I ain't kidding, mister. But dude. This one's good enough. If I never buy another Southern rock album, I will die a happy man. And why on Earth don't critics ever put it in their "best ever" lists? Maybe 'cause it's too "rednecky" for them?

Y'all better open yo' MINDS, Yanks.


Glenn Wiener <> (30.11.99)

Truthfully I like the masses like this album very much. I guess I like the raw feeling displayed on this record and each of the songs have some distinguishing quality. The guitar solo on 'The Needle And The Spoon' is excellent as well as the fade out vocals. The entire vocal arrangement on 'Sweet Home Alabama' is ear catching and the piano is just beautiful. 'Swamp Music' just has a great spooky feel and 'Ballad Of Curtis Loew' is very touching. The songs are a bit simple in structure but too me they are just executed excellently. The only one that is a bit dull is 'Call Me The Breeze'. The mixing work could be better on the record as a whole. Overall this album is quality stuff.

V. Brent Poloway <> (13.10.2000)

I remember when Skynnyrd first came out, I was in my 20's (yes, I'm an approaching-50 baby-boomer, and darn proud of it).  I immediately became a lifelong Skynnyrd fan, even prior to moving from NC to Florence/Muscle Shoals AL..  Every time I hear "Sweet Home Alabama", it still gives me chillbumps.  There is nothing like it here in The South, it is often referred to as "The National Anthem of The South", and in fact, it makes me want to stand at attention and salute the (Confederate) flag every single time it is played.  As the reviewer says, there are many misconceptions-surrounding the band, the song(s), and yes, our beloved Flag.  As usual, it is the ignorant few bringing their stupid messages &/or beliefs to the ignorant many who are too darn lazy to do any kind of research on their own and simply believe what they're told by some cottonball-brain media wag.  The song "Sweet Home Alabama" is a simple message to Yankee simpletons (yeah, I know Neil Dung is a Canuck, but the area he's from is just like New York City-yechh) and others who would stick their unwelcome nose into the History and Heritage of The South.  They're sayin', if you don't like what's goin' on in your part of the country, well that's really just too darn bad, but we LOVE OUR part of the country just the way it is, so don't tell us what to believe or who to believe or what to change-you may have won The War of Northern Agression, but you will never win our hearts or our respect.  And that is what this song (and Skynnyrd to a great extent) is all about - Love, Respect, Pride, Courage, Honor, & Heritage of and for The South!

Ray Offutt <> (20.05.2002)

SECOND HELPIN' (Cause we may not be back this way again for awhile) Skynnyrd is best enjoyed with a big, fat roach. I think the some of the mixes they let go were pretty rough, but hey if ya turn it up like it tells ya to at the beginning of 'Sweet Home' then it is dang hard to beat. They just got the simples on the mixes I figger. What precision drums, fiddling on the bass, and get funked up licks on the guitar these guys fingered. It plumb amazes my feeble brain. Fav track was 'Swamp Music'. Makes me wanna borrow somebody's car and go off-roading down a dry creek bed. Skynnyrd is a timeless band much like Led Zeppelin. So the next time somebody has a few too many and starts hollerin' "LYNNYRD SKYNNYRD!!!" at the band please ask the waitress to deliver him another pitcher of brewskis. Thank you very much.

Engstfeld <> (23.04.2004)

It's glaringly obvious that the shiniest gem on this album is the opening song. That you don't see that is telling. It's an Ed King masterpiece, and the band's prettiest song. It's been said that the song probably would have peaked at number one had Yankee radio stations not taken so long to finally "get it." The thing about Ronnie Van Zant is that he had an excellent ear for talent and surrounded himself with superb musicians that he could use to apply his readily accessible lyrics. That was Ronnie's genius. He was able to create lyrics that were not too indulgent, that everyone could relate to.....and he had an excellent voice.

You really need to watch Freebird: The Movie, if you haven't already. You'd gain an a much greater appreciation for the live band. They've been black listed from the Hall, but the dissent has grown tremendously in the last couple of years......putting ZZ Top in in front of Skynyrd is laughable. 'Freebird' has risen to the most requested rock anthem now, surpassing 'Stairway'. How can you deny the band that wrote rock's most requested song entrance into the hall. It's a sham.

Agnes Ayres <> (15.07.2005)

Using your criteria,Mr George,this album is A)listenable and B)almost adequate(their intent is to rock and that they do,with style if not so much substance) C)not especially innovative or original. And here's where I admit that I love the guys because they're so dang Sothron and so am I:)

BTW,I have the documentary of the live Seventies performance,and to my eyes,it does indeed look like three guitars playing during the instrumental climax of "Freebird" (yes,I know,previous album). I've also read that that was the case on a few other review sites(for what that's worth).


<> (17.05.2000)

i agree,,,i think that this album is a good one ,,,and remember,,this album was "throw together" during the "torture tour" of 1975, therefore i feel that the greater accomplishment is the fact that they were able to put this quality album together during such a rigorous touring schedule.

Glenn Wiener <> (27.04.2003)

Truly this record should be titled Nuthin' Special. Its really pretty generic especially when compared to the previous two releases. And where is all the diverse stylings? Yes, 'Made In The Shade' is kind of cute in a hokey kind of way where all the acoustic and jugband style instruments. However, many of these songs lack enough compelling hooks.

'On The Hunt' is a minor exceptions as the guitar riff is certainly quite contagious and the vocal hook on the chorus is quite grabbing. 'Saturday Night Special' and 'Railroad Song' feature some solid drumming. Heck 'Saturday Night Special's offers some compelling lyrics as well. Oh and 'Whiskey Rock N Roller' a fun tune too although it sounds much better on One More From The Road.

Anyway, I would rate this as an OK Skynyrd recording whreas Second Helping is a better example of better work by this band.


Vince <> (29.10.2002)

I think this song shows more REAL human strength than any other song in rock and roll history. It's about a falling human who rises again to live and survive in my eyes. I relate to this because it was me. I sang this song to myself in bad times, in treatment, and in life. 'Gimmie back my bullets' was and always will be my strength song. How about anyone else? Thank you Ronnie Vanzant and all of you all. Even though you are all mad at each other right now, WE STILL LOVE YOUR MUSIC and always will.

Glenn Wiener <> (08.01.2004)

This is definitely an overlooked recording. Love the title track with its hard hitting lyrics. 'Cry For The Bad Man' is another great track with some good background vocals by the Honkettes. Whereas Skynyrd won't win major points for diversity in their sound, there are a couple of softer numbers which will alter the pace enough to make this an interesting listen.


Glenn Wiener <> (30.11.2002)

An all timer in the Live Recordings. What energy and searing guitar solos. Ronnie Van Zandt is in fine voice and spirit as well. Most of the studio versions are greatly improved in the concert setting specifically 'Call Me The Breeze', 'The Needle And The Spoon', and the anthem 'Freebird'. Billy Powell makes some underrated contributions on his keyboards. Its great that you recognize this attribute of the Skynyrd sound.

Nonetheless, this is a first rate live recording.

Nick Rogerson <> (31.03.2004)

Yes, yes, yes! This is a superb live recording. The songs are good, never going on too long and the guiter interplay is amazing. It works particularly well on 'Working for MCA' 'Searching' and 'Sweet Home Alabama'. I like the use of wah on 'Needle and the Spoon'. All in all, well worth having. Definite top 10 if i were to make a list of favourite live recordings.


<> (10.03.2001)

I really loved this film. But then again, I'm a Skynnyrd nut. I especially love the version of 'Freebird', and 'Simple man'. But I'm biased, as I'm from Jacksonville.


Glenn Wiener <> (29.01.2001)

In my humble opinion, this release is truly Skynyrd's best. The reason for 'What's Your Name' being the hit single is because that song had the most radio friendly arrangement with the horns and it clocks in at three and one half minutes. None the less, 'That Smell', 'You Got That Right', 'I Know A Little', and 'Aint No Good Life' are considerably stronger songs. The guitar playing is at an all time high due to the steady playing of Steve Gaines. And you can not top the gourgeous piano rolls of Billy Powell on that 'Honkey Tonk Song'. Truthfully I like his playing on 'Aint No Good Life'. You can't go wrong with any of the tracks here although I agree with you that the single is a bit stupid. But enjoyably stupid mind you.


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Jimmy Ross <> (10.05.2001)

While the song writing on this album may not be anything more than "simple" I think the great vocals by Johnny Van Zant make this a must-have! Johnny is definitely the best vocalist out there today, possibly of all-time. It's a shame people will never give him credit because critics will always say "he's stealing old material" which is totally false. If anyone heard his old stuff prior to Skynyrd, they'd see that Johnny Van Zant is truly a gifted vocalist.

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