“Sweet Home Alabama, where the skies are so blue.” I’m sure all of you now have that familiar tune in your head just from those few words. Everyone’s heard “Sweet Home Alabama” from one time to another. Whether it was on the radio, at some sort of club perhaps, in a commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken, or maybe you’ve heard it in the movie “Sweet Home Alabama”. You know, the one with Reese Witherspoon where she’s in love with some rich guy and she has to go back home to Alabama to divorce her current husband, but ends up falling in love with him again. Yeah, I didn’t like it either. Anyways, getting back on topic everyone’s heard the song, but lots of people don’t know who it’s by. Now let me pause there for a second I know probably everybody out there already know it’s by Lynyrd Skynyrd, but that’s probably because the majority of the people on this site are music nerds and I actually know a lot of people who don’t know who the song is by so bare with me. Anyways, as I just stated it’s by Lynyrd Skynyrd, who are in my opinion one of the greatest rock bands of all time. They’ve got that fantastic old school rock feel to them. Sort of bluesy, but a little more modern. They’re a very instrumentally sound band, as well. They’ve got great rhythm guitar, often fun sounding and bluesy, but also kind of sad at times as well. The solos are all great. Lots of tapping. Solid fast bass lines. The drums don’t quite match the musical genius of the guitar and bass but they’re great as well. What more could you ask for" I’ll tell you what more you could ask for some piano, and guess what" They’ve got that too. Oh, and just a little fun fact, some of you might have noticed the band has sort of a peculiar band name. Well, it’s actually named after a teacher that they had in high school, or so my dad tells me. I know that didn’t really fit with the rest of the paragraph, but I didn’t know where else to put it.
Skynyrd’s music has a very rich, wholesome feel to it. You could even say it’s heartwarming. Many of their songs just make you happy. Like “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Truck Drivin’ Man” for instance. Both songs have a great rock n’ roll feel to them and just make me personally feel warm on the inside. Great songs to listen to after a tough day at work/school, or they’re also good songs to listen to when you’re going for a drive. Now, that’s not to say that they’re music is all rainbows and sunshine. They’ve got some more depressing music as well. Like “Free Bird” or “Tuesday’s Gone” for example. Although, Tuesday’s gone is not featured on this album. Those two songs are actually very similar. Both have a rich sound, but aren’t so heartwarming. As far as I can tell they’re both pretty much about a guy leaving his woman. Songs like that are good to listen to after like a break up, or perhaps a death in your family. They won’t make you feel any better, but you’ll be able to relate to the lyrics. It sort of like having a friend that’s going through the same issue as you are and the two of you comfort each other. Overall, this album is happy at times sad at others and a great listen at any time of day. I absolutely love old bands like this. It’s so nice to listen to them and escape from generic depressing music of today. Not to say that all music today is the same and depressing, but a lot of bands are.
As I previously mentioned this album’s instrumentals were outstanding. The guitar keeps you on the edge of you seat throughout the entire album. This is mostly due to the vast amount of high pitched solo-esque intro riffs. They get your attention right off the bat. The rhythm guitar is usually a nice blend of chords and little riffs, providing the rock n’ roll feel. Not to mention every song is packed full of solos. All of which are very, very well written. A lot of them mixing pentatonic scales and some finger tapping. A lot of the riffs also follow pentatonic scales, but there’s nothing wrong with that. There weren’t too many bridges or interludes on the album, though. I sort of missed them. Bridges and interludes are usually my favourite part of songs. Although, the constant solos and stupendous rhythm guitar made up for it. The tone on the guitarist’s amp was also perfect. Especially for their style of music. It had just the right amount of distortion on it. Too much distortion would have ruined the songs because some of notes would’ve blended together because of the constant riffage, but not enough distortion would’ve made the songs too clean and given them sort of a bland feel. Or in other terms the amp‘s tone was not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Anyone else in the mood for porridge"
Much like the guitar for this album, the bass was fantastic. Although, it was not quite as complex as the guitar, the majority of it was very well written and had a good pace. It is difficult to here for most of the album but if you listen closely in some songs like Free Bird you can here just how excellent it really is. More specifically closer to the end of Free Bird while the guitar is soloing, you can here the bass pretty well and it’s just marvelous. If the bass was louder this album probably could’ve received a five. I checked out a couple tabs for some of the bass and it was actually moderately difficult to play. I would recommend them to any bassist out there in the Sputnik community. Whilst playing the rather difficult the bassist managed to keep the rhythm rather well, as well. The tone on the bassist’s amp was a tad softer than I would’ve liked, which was probably the main reason it was so difficult to hear. So, overall I would’ve liked the bass to be tad louder and maybe have some riffs that it just played by itself to stand out a bit, but you can’t have everything. Besides the guitar pretty much made up for the lack of bass.
As I mentioned earlier the drums weren’t quite as musically sound as the guitar and bass, but they’re were still more than adequate. There were a few too many simple beats for my taste but there were lots of nice roll beats as well. Also, if you listen very closely here and there you can here the drummer miss and hit the rim of the drum, but it is very hard to here. I thought I heard some use of tambourine here and there, but I could be mistaken. Aside from the occasional error the drums were in time for the whole album. There’s isn’t much more I can say about the drums. This was a very guitar oriented album. They were great, no question, but there’s just nothing more I can say about them.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Pros: Instrumentally sound
Vocals were decent
Rich overall sound
Cons: Guitar dominated most songs
This was a very good compilation of some of Skynyrd’s best songs. I enjoyed it immensely. Especially since my last couple reviews have been on depressing grunge albums. I recommend looking into this no matter what genre you generally listen to. Anyone can enjoy it. It’s got sort of a fun for the whole family feel to it. I would also recommend to anyone out there who plays an instrument learning some of these songs. There really fun to play and somewhat of a challenge as well. Until next time keep your stick on the ice.