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Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd  Album: The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd

Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd Album: The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd

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1. Sweet Home Alabama
2. I Ain't The One
3. Was I Right Or Wrong
4. Gimme Three Steps
5. Workin' For MCA
6. Simple Man
7. Swamp Music
8. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew
9. Saturday Night Special
10. Mr. Banker
11. Comin' Home
12. Call Me The Breeze
13. Free Bird
The members of Lynyrd Skynyrd played by their own set of rules. Fiercely defensive of their Southern heritage, Ronnie Van Zant and company reflexively lashed out when they thought they'd been slurred. Hence "Sweet Home Alabama," their retort to Neil Young's shame-on-Dixie "Alabama." (Young loved Skynyrd's screed, even though it lambasted him by name.) On the other hand, "Saturday Night Special" took on handguns; it's hard to imagine a contemporary band with a redneck-rock following taking a similar pro-gun-control stand. This two-disc overview presents a band with a broader agenda than one might imagine. Yes, this is state-of-the-'70s electric boogie, but it's three-guitar-strong rock with genuine subject matter. Fans will already have the likes of "Free Bird" (here presented in studio and concert settings) and "I Know a Little," but baubles such as the previously unreleased "Comin' Home" and the rare B-side "Mr. Banker" add to this collection's appeal, as does the lengthy liner essay. --Steven Stolder
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