Monday, January 30, 2017

Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 3 - Lynyrd Skynyrd 'Nuthin' Fancy'

Yeah, I added Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Nuthin’ Fancy’ to my list of 50 hard rock albums.

For me, hard rock isn’t as restrictive as the term “heavy metal”. Hard rock is driven by the guitars and they’re distorted for the most part. Lynyrd Skynyrd has influenced a lot of southern hard rock bands and even some from California. Just check out Armored Saint’s version of “Saturday Night Special”. And there’s no discounting the twin guitar attack that’s prevalent in southern and European hard rock.

I remember receiving some advice from Jeff Kay when we worked together at Peaches Music & Video back in the 1980s. He told me not to judge the band by their fans. The band has always been seen as a joke just because of their fans. After all, that’s why you hear someone invariably yell “Freebird!” when they’re at a local show. It had to start somewhere and I’m sure it began with someone known and referred to by their first and middle names.

I knew Tim would be the one with the hardest time with this particular choice. I told him to think of them as a southern version of Queen. I consider Queen to be a hard rock band even though they dabbled in a generous amount of styles. Hell, you could say the same thing about Led Zeppelin. Lynyrd Skynyrd also dabbled in other genres as well.

‘Nuthin’ Fancy’ starts with the kickass tune “Saturday Night Special”. It’s an odd little rocker that is basically about gun control by a southern rock band. Is that not crazy? Who’d a thought??

And “Cheatin’ Woman” subliminally drives home the same point with a lush melody and a fantastic bass line.

After “Railroad Song”, guitars get distorted again with some great riffing guitars in “I’m A Country Boy”. You don’t really expect loud and crunchy guitars in a song about the love of small towns and vast countryside. And there’s no mention of a pick-up truck!

“On The Hunt” delivers a Florida gut punch right off the bat. And credit where credit is due… My Yankee buddy with a Blackfoot (rock band) tattoo used to bring this song up all the time. And when we worked together, I took his Skynyrd knowledge and trivia seriously. He fortified Jeff Kay’s position about them. And I specially went after ‘Nuthin’ Fancy’ when I first got a monthly subscription to Zune.

Bradford “Hinzy” Hines wasn’t wrong. He was always hot about “Whiskey Rock-A-Roller” too.

“Made In The Shade” brings it back home with a southern combination of blues and ragtime music complete a collection of instruments from harmonicas to mandolins. It’s a fun little ditty.

And the aforementioned “Whiskey Rock-A-Roller” brings back the rock complete with a lively piano closes out the album. It’s about traveling around and playing for the fans. The song is basically Ronnie Van Zant’s philosophy that shows up in other songs. He’s a rolling stone and has no plans to stop for long unless there’s a fishing pole or bottle in hand.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has a tremendous body of work. I got to see them live with Hank Williams Jr. about a decade ago. And it was one of the wildest shows that I had ever seen at the Greensboro Coliseum. If I had just one percent of the beer and liquor sales within Guilford County from that day, I would be a retired man right now. It was a lot of fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

So grab yourself a sixer or a small bottle of whiskey and enjoy ‘Nuthin’ Fancy’ with the volume cranked up so loud that you can’t hear yourself hoot and holler. And don’t forget to hoist a shot in air for Ronnie, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines.

Check out Tim's take along with Jon Lowder's. They both dig the album choice this week and I know since I have the luxury of posting late to the game.

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