For week three Eugene picked an album I’m much more familiar with than his choices for the first two installments. Lynyrd Skynyrd got some heavy play in my circle of friends, especially during middle school. In fact one of my buddies had a big ol’ boom box – I think that thing took 10 D cell batteries – that he would bring to the basketball court in our neighborhood and we’d listen to a steady rotation of Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Kiss and plenty of others I’m forgetting. So I have a soft spot for Skynyrd and for southern rock in general. (I’m looking forward to Tim’s comments because I’m pretty sure he feels the exact opposite about the genre).
To be clear, what was played was a mix of Skynyrd’s greatest hits that contained all the songs you’d expect: Freebird, Simple Man, Sweet Home Alabama, That Smell, Don’t Ask Me No Questions and Saturday Night Special. Of those staples the only one on this album is Saturday Night Special, so going back and listening to the full album was a fun experience because I doubt I listened to all these tracks more than a few times even back in my not-misspent-nearly-enough youth.
Now I can’t say I liked all of these tracks back then. I didn’t really enjoy the long, bluesy riffs that were staples of the southern rock scene. I much preferred the harder, fast style of songs like Saturday Night Special, which actually were bluesy when compared to the hard non-southern rock of that era, just not too bluesy. My 50-year old ears DO enjoy the deeper blues sound, so I’m really glad Eugene picked this one.
Something that needs to be said about this exercise is that it’s reminding me of the pleasure inherent to listening to a full album. In my younger days I don’t think I had a full appreciation for the artistry involved in producing an album. The choices made in song order, the progression of the “story,” is something I never paid attention to but now in the era of endless DIY playlists and streaming “stations” based on artists I’m gaining a newfound appreciation for listening to an album that as a whole is greater than its parts.
Nuthin’ Fancy is a great listen, and one that works well with a leisurely drive or while working around the house. Hell, I even had it playing at the office one day when I was working a little late. Yep, this one’s getting added to my collection – a collection that’s growing for the first time in a while thanks to this exercise.
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