Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd

Lynyrd Skynyrd built the genre of Southern Rock, brick by brick, with clever songwriting, badass lead guitar playing (with three lead guitarists), and sheer grit. Legendary producer Al Kooper created a masterpiece here, and it finally gets the treatment it deserves.

The gold band at the top of the record jacket, marked “Original Master Recording,” means the original master tape was used for the reissue. It only takes a cursory listen to an early MCA pressing, which sounds like a CD in comparison, to hear the increase in sound quality on this MoFi edition. Much like early Van Halen records, there is almost a non-existent bass line in the original, now replaced by a big, fat sound that anchors the rest of the rhythm section and provides a proper foundation. And yes, there’s more cowbell too.

It might have been easier to dismiss this band if listening to the poorer original, but with so many sonic treats liberated from the mix, it’s great fun finding all the tidbits you’ve never heard over the years.  The bongos in “Gimme Three Steps” are but one example. The overall sound is so much more clean and dynamic, you just can’t turn this one up too loud. You haven’t lived until you hear the reverb-laden guitars on “Freebird.”  -Jeff Dorgay

Get out your lighter and boogie.  Do it.

Mobile Fidelity, 180g LP