I’m gonna straight up steal this from the back cover of the CD packaging, because I can’t be arsed to write it differently and it’ll tell you most of what you need to know about this CD (which I got for $5 brand new):
This is the great “lost” Lynyrd Skynyrd album.
In 1971, two years before Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded their first official LP for MCA Records, the rowdy Florida rockers made a scorching unreleased studio album in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with producer Jimmy Johnson and his production crew, “the Swampers.” In 1978, nine tracks from those sessions were released as “Skynyrd’s First and… Last,” but now for the first time, here is the complete, unabridged 17-track Muscle Shoals album, featuring six never-before-released recordings, including the original studio version of their legendary rock guitar anthem “Free Bird.”
When Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama,” this album is what they were talking about!
My take? It’s fucking amazing. I read some reports online that the sound quality was lacking, here, but I think that’s nitpicking. Who cares? The strength of the songs shines through and, if there are rough patches (I didn’t hear many, in the good heapdphones), they only add beauty and grit.
Actually, that’s the real power here – it’s raw. You can hear their young hearts laid bare, and the band is frickin’ tight. Ronnie Van Zant nails every line of every song. One place mentioned that there are two more tracks not included here (Gotta Go, and I’ve Been Your Fool), which makes me wonder why they call this the complete Muscle Shoals album if it ain’t complete, but hey. Maybe those two tracks weren’t making the grade. I dunno. Completists will care.
Whatever, it’s incredible. It rocks, it has soul, it’s bluesy, it’s unapologetic, and it’s a sure sign of things to come for this group of musicians. I highly recommend you find it. It’s an amazing addition of early Skynyrd to your collection.
Tracks: Free Bird / One More Time / Gimme Three Steps / Was I Right Or Wrong / Preacher’s Daughter / White Dove / Down South Jukin’ / Wino / Simple Man / Trust / Comin’ Home / The Seasons / Lend A Helpin’ Hand / Things Goin’ On / I Ain’t The One / You Run Around / Ain’t Too Proud To Pray