Thursday, June 17, 2010

401 Pronounced Leh nerd Skin Nerd- Freebird... and some other songs.


Artist: Lynrd Skynyrd
Album: Pronounced Leh Nerd Skin Nerd.
Year: 1973
Genre: Southern Rock

Tracks

  1. I Ain't the One
  2. Tuesday's Gone
  3. Gimme Three Steps
  4. Simple Man
  5. Things Goin' On
  6. Mississippi Kid
  7. Poison Whiskey
  8. Free Bird


Back in 1973 Southern -Freebird!- Rock band, Lyrnyrd Skynyrd were a -Freebird!- blues based boogie -Freebird!- band who -Freebird!- were basically like lots of -FREEBIRD!- other Allman Brothers -FREEBIRD!- Rip off's only -FREEBIRD!- harder -FREEEEEEBIIIIRD!- to -FREEEEEEBIIIIRD!- spell -FREEEEEEBIIIIRD!-

Alright. Clearly before I progress with any sort of actual review I should address the Freebird phenomenon which is either hilarious or incredibly irritating, depending on your point of view.

Freebird is the final track on Pronounced Leh nerd Skin nerd and easily the band's most successful song. While Sweet Home Alabama may get more mainstream radio play, for the die-hard skynyrd fan it's a distant second to Freebird. And it's also a cultural phenomenon. An internet meme that even predates the internet.

The cult of Freebird started with a live album that Skynyrd released in 1976 in which they saved Freebird for the final encore. By the time they returned to the stage it the audience were all screaming for their favourite song. From there things start to get a bit murky. To this day nobody knows who it was who turned the iconic "Freebird!" cry from that album into an international concert sensation. It's up there with "Judas" as the most claimed Rock-audience outcry. It doesn't matter who did it first the point is that that it's a cliche now for someone in an audience somewhere to shout Freebird during a quiet song. When a band is on stage and there's a lull in proceedings someone will call out Freebird and divide the audience into roughly equal portions with half thinking he's a comic genius and the other convinced he's the biggest twat to ever purchase a concert ticket. While some bands find this amusing for most it's just annoying to have someone enact Rock's longest running gag in the middle of their set. Personally I think it's all about comic timing- calling out Freebird during some struggling rock band's pub gig is neither funny nor clever but shout it at full volume when a symphony orchestra is about to kick off then you've got to admit it's kind of cool. I've only been to the opera a few times but every time I went I was wishing I had the guts to yell it out at the top of my lungs just when the fat woman is about to let rip with an aria.

All this has sort of overtaken the song itself which I probably should mention since it's the point of this review after all. Freebird is a great song and listening to the original version I have to admit it does justify its hype. It starts off as a ballad with some mellow organ chords and acoustic guitar. Granted the percussion gets a bit bombastic but generally speaking it's a fairly low key beginning. It's a simple, slow song about the singer's desire to be free and not tied down. Then suddenly at 4:40 or so the tempo picks up and the song becomes an air guitarist's wet dream. The remainder of the track consists of dual guitars dueling. It's a six-string frenzy which fades off into the sunset after nearly five minutes of pure, unadulterated shred. If you're the sort of person who loves guitar theatrics then you're not only familiar with all this you've spent many hours leaping around your room air-guitaring like a maniac with fingers twiddling and face contorted into a series of ridiculous grimaces. If you don't like electric guitars then you'll be making your own grimace faces after twenty seconds and your fingers will immediately twiddle towards the stop button.

Just like the song has been overtaken by the legend, the rest of pronounced Leh nerd Skin Nerd has been overshadowed by it's famous closing track. The remainder of the album is a passable collection of southern Rock and roll songs that wouldn't make anyone's top 500 on their own. They're well played and well sung but slightly forgettable and verging too much on the hokey (Gimme three steps). The rockers (I aint the one, Things goin on) work well but Tuesday's gone is a perfect example of how to turn a ballad into an overblown production number with added cringe.

After Freebird (and it's appearance at every rock concert ever) and Sweet Home Alabama (and it's appearance on every movie soundtrack ever) Skynyrd are most famous for having an enforced break up after a plane crash. An aviation accident in 1977 claimed three members, including the lead singer and songwriter. I've always assumed that the band broke up at that point never to return but was surprised to learn on researching this release that they're not only still going strong but they're releasing albums. Nobody appears to be buying them but they're churning them out and touring on the strength of them. It's comforting to know that somewhere in the American deep south an entire audience is shouting Freebird to a band who are only too ready to play it.

Influenced by: The Allman Brothers Band.
Influenced: Millions of concert going wankers.

Highlight: (say it with me now) Freeeeeeeeebiiiiiiiird!
Lowlight: Tuesday's gone.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This is my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd. I've had the album, 8 track, cassette and now the CD. Would definitely purchase it again if something replaced the CD!"

-Fantastic. I love people with that level of dedication. My hat's off to you sir.


So are you shouting Freebird at your concerts or do you wish that clown would just shut up? Let me know below.

5 comments:

  1. Hey Dave...

    Does it seem that some of these albums have made it onto the countdown because a proportion of the voters really like one song or another!!! Or am I just being cynical?? Don't get me wrong - I am happy for this and others to be here because I've heard stuff about this album... But it does sometimes seem that the voters have decided that they really love "that" song and just have to vote for it... It does seem to skew the data a little...

    Anyhoo, great review yet again (ripping opening paragraph - very funny). Bring on the 300's I say!!! Do you ever feel like your getting nowhere...

    Keep it up!!!

    Steve
    Chaos Agent #2

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah Steve I tend to agree. There are a few albums that have one standout track but are otherwise a bit of a let down. My idea of a great album is one that is still great if you take out the best track.

    I don't feel like I'm getting nowhere but I do look whistfully at the upper reaches of the chart sometimes and think "there's a lot more punk and rap to get through before I get there".

    Thanks for the encouragement. Keep reading and commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whopps. I was at a small concert recently and things were a bit dull so I yelled out: "Freeball " No one got the reference, although a guy next to me said "testify brother".

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ha! Brilliant comment. Thanks CA1.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is my mom's fave CD. Maybe it's because she's a southern girl from Arkansas.

    Also, I really like your reply to Chaos Agent #2 -- "a great album is still great if you take out the best track." That's an inspired, logical way to look at it. If only we could all see that way.

    ReplyDelete