Lynyrd Skynyrd – Street Survivors

How many times have you shouted, “Play some Skynyrd” at a lousy bar band? Better yet, how many times has this thought crossed your mind when you were subjected to another female vocal track demoed at a hi-fi show? Unfortunately, as much as you may love Lynyrd Skynyrd, most of the band’s albums are not mastered with much care. Flat, compressed, and grainy are the general rules. The recent Japanese/Universal pressings are most unrighteous.

However, Mobile Fidelity again proves that “audiophile pressing” and “fun” can coexist on the same planet. And, it’s pretty awesome that the label includes the now-famous “flaming” cover originally limited to about 5000 copies after several members of the group got killed in an airplane crash only days after the record was released in 1977.

Instead of sounding like a veil is removed, the MoFi pressing is akin to hearing an entire shower curtain taken away, with every aspect of the record greatly improved. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant is now way in front of the mix, and you can actually hear guitarist Steve Gaines right behind him. It all comes together on “That Smell” when Van Zant goes “Awwwwww…” and seemingly fades out forever. The overplayed radio classic takes on new life.

Also, what’s the point of having three guitarists in a band if it all just sounds like one big, fat guitar in the final mix? While a bit of compression sneaks in now and then, it’s glorious to hear all three guitarists distinctly, all with their own individual space and tone. It’s like having a fishbowl full of guitars. Grab a second helping before you put this LP back in the jacket.  -Jeff Dorgay

Mobile Fidelity Silver Label LP