06
Mar
08

Lynyrd Skynyrd “Second Helping”

It’s not totally their fault that “Sweet Home Alabama” became one of the most overplayed songs of all time– it’s not even a bad song– in fact it’s a pretty great song– but I’ll never be able to listen to it, really, it’s still so overplayed. And I STILL can’t understand all the lyrics (though I know every note, and tempo change, and nuance intimately).

This is their second record (get it?) from 1974, and EVERYONE bought it. The cover drawing is by Jan Salerno– it’s pretty famous, and pretty amazing. It’s kind of a big stoner mosaic with hexagons and drawings of the band members and a couple of VERY prominent marijuana leaves. This is the kind of thing you would see NOW in a hip art gallery or prominent art exhibition– though now you’d know there was some irony at play—but was there at the time this was done? That’s a good question.

The back cover photos are also pretty great– extremely high-contrast with bad reproductions– but on purpose? The credits are all handwritten by someone who seems to have learned to write like yesterday. If it was done today, that would be a font. I always really loved these credits: “Ronnie Van Zant – vocals, J&B” — and the THREE guitarists and bass specify the make and model of the guitars they play (Gibson Firebird, etc) as if they take the guitars to bed with them.

Here’s my favorite credit: on JJ Cale’s “Call Me the Breeze” it says, “Handclapping by Wicker, Toby, Cockroach, Mookie, Punnel, Wolfman, Kooder, Mr. Feedback, and Gooshie.” Thanks include: “Nixon (not the President).”

All those guitars! But somehow, a good, clean sound. It’s a great album. Totally worth going back to. “Don’t Ask Me No Questions” is classic, and what all “classic rock” should have to stand up to. “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” is a surprisingly good quiet song.

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