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So having got that out of the way, this latest edition is the definitive CD issue of 'OMFTR'to date. The original first-issue single CD was incomplete due to restrictions on running time and it sounded weak and tinny (didn't they all!). Subsequent reissues in double CD format readdressed the matter of missing tracks (even adding bonus cuts in some cases) but failed to remedy the problem of the lacklustre sound.
For this 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, MCA have gone back to the original 2 inch master tapes and started the CD transcription process from scratch. The result is staggering. This is the closest a CD reissue of this album has ever sounded to the original vinyl. It sounds beautiful - big, thumping, warm and detailed with plenty of bass, something sorely lacking in previous issues. You can hear every nuance in the music. It's almost like hearing it for the first time again. That alone makes it worthy of purchase.
In terms of the extra material, it's also well worth the investment. The alternate versions don't offer much in the way of variety from their previously released incarnations (Skynyrd were so tight at this point they were like a well oiled machine) but they also sound awesome and are worth a listen. However, the true gem here is the inclusion of 'Simple Man', which was not included on the original album (although it did appear on the 'Legend' set and on a previous CD reissue of 'OMFTR').Read more ›
The main gain is the bass response. Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle drive the whole thing along in a way that was missing from the original album mix.
This album has the original lead guitar lines from the gigs with the Gibson Explorer he played on most songs so shrill it takes your head off and makes a great counterpoint to the Les Paul of Gary Rossington. The Firebird on Freebird sounds almost mellow in comparison. Best of all, someone has put Steve Gains into the mix on more than just Texas and it really sounds great. Check out his 'Okie' solo on Alabama.
The vocal sound fresh too with a lot more of Ronnies whistles and asides. Check out Whiskey Rock-a-Roller against the vinyl, its a different vocal track.
I saw the Skynyrds as a support act in 1974 and I'll never forget the shock as it dawned on me just how good these guys were. This album reminds me all over again.
In my opinion, it's advisable to get your hands on as much Lynyrd Skynyrd as you can. If you decide not to do that and are simply looking for one addition to your collection, this is the one. The Deluxe Edition is worth the extra for the alternate takes and the liner notes - but then again the album, in deluxe form or not, is worth buying at any price. It is that good!