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Street Survivors(Bonus Tracks) CD (2008)

Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

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Skynyrd's swan-song with terrific bonuses

by on 3/4/2008

The fifth and final studio album of Lynyrd Skynyrd's original incarnation has always lived in the shadow of the 1977 plane crash that followed just three days after the LP's release. The band's fans couldn't help but refract the album through the prism of vocalist/songwriter Ronnie Van Zant's death, adding layers of meaning that weren't originally written into these songs. Thirty-one years later, the band's demise still hovers over this swan-song, but at the same time, the album's vitality and the band's then-bright future still shines through. Geffen's two-disc deluxe reissue augments the album's original eight tracks with a wealth of bonuses, including previously unreleased original versions of songs that were completely re-recorded for the commercial release, and five live tracks from the band's last-known concert recording, taped just two months before the plane crash. ¶ Having become a top concert draw throughout the mid-70s, the band found a surprising amount of time to record this album. They produced a finished version with Tom Dowd in Florida, ditched the tapes and relocated to the Atlanta studio where they'd waxed "Free Bird." They re-recorded the bulk of the album from scratch, dropped a few songs and added a few others to create the final release. Though most of the titles remained the same between the two sessions, the energy and sound are quite different. The band is more pumped up on their self-produced recordings, and where Dowd stripped things down, the band added layers, such as the horn chart on "What's Your Name." Their intuition was right, and though some fans didn't appreciate Skynyrd evolving away from their rougher roots, Van Zant's songs easily took the extra polish. ¶ Van Zant's lyrics continued to mine the autobiographical clarity and detail he'd shown on earlier albums, and the addition of guitarist Steve Gaines added country flavor to the original "I Know a Little" and a cover of Merle Haggard's "Honky Tonk Night Time Man." Still, the band could always play it gritty, as the Collins/Van Zant "That Smell" so aptly showed. The earlier version of the song, taken a hair slower and with Van Zant's vocal more isolated and dry, is even more harrowing (a second early version, included here, extends the song to 7:30 with a lengthy guitar jam). The overall hallmark of "Street Survivors" is the confident sound of a band at the top of their game. ¶ Fans will relish the opportunity to hear the earlier unreleased version of the album, including a pair of songs ("Georgia Peaches" and "Sweet Little Missy") that were dropped from the final track list. An additional highlight presented here is Van Zant's rewrite of "Honky Tonk Night Time Man," as the autobiographical "Jacksonville Kid." The five live tracks are good performances of historical interest, but only limited (and mono) audio quality. This is a welcome upgrade to the original CD issue. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2008 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]

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Product Overview


Label Revolver Usa
SKU 206870790
UPC 602517571662
UPC 14 00602517571662
Format CD
Release Date 3/4/2008
Author Lynyrd Skynyrd
Product Attributes
Artist Lynyrd Skynyrd
Label Universal Music Group
Music Format Compact Disc
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Skynyrd's swan-song with terrific bonuses by on Mar 04, 2008