Apparently created in less than 3 weeks, from start to finish, this is a great album and possibly Skynyrd's best. They worked 16-hour days during that time, their first break in touring for months. However, before it was released, guitarist Ed King had left (or been pushed - depending on who you listen to!), unwilling to put up with the workload any more. However, the superb Artimus Pyle is on drums, making this the strongest lineup to date. I'm amazed how the arrangement on songs like "I'm a Country Boy" and "On the Hunt" are so good - the three guitars all intertwining in that superb Skynyrd fashion - riffs, solos, slide - it's all there. There's really not a bad track on this album - even the back-to-roots "Made in the Shade" is a great foot-tapper - I defy you to listen to that song without a smile on your face. Get the remastered version, for clarity and the two bonus tracks - not very good recording-wise, but interesting live stuff. And a very nice booklet with a few good snippets in too. Well done to the record company!
Despite not housing a 'freebird' or a 'sweet home alabama' this album is every bit a good as the previous 2 discs.Although personnel upheaval would ensue,Artimus Pyle replacing Bob Burns on drums and Ed King leaving after the recording,Skynyrd remained a strong unit.
Opening with 'Saturday Night Special' a statement of intent if there was ever one,Skynyrd rockin like only they can.Certainly on this disc the country roots are more to the fore with the likes of 'Im A Country Boy/Made In The Shade/Railroad song while the rock sensibilities kept in check with 'Whisky rock a roller,On the Hunt.That just leaves the stunning 'Cheatin Woman' with Ronnie's taut vocals over superlative guitar with some stunning solo's whilst possibly the stand out track ,the emotional 'Am I Losin' showing Ronnie's disenchantment with theworld he was now inhabiting as a result of the bands success.The Remaster adds an extra clarity to the disc,although it was always pretty good.
Bonus Tracks : interesting if not essential live recordings of 'Railroad Song' and 'On The Hunt' from the Winterland,san francisco 1975.
I can recall that at the time Lynyrd Skynyrd's 3rd studio album "Nuthin' Fancy" was greeted with favourable press reviews all round (Billboard called it their best and most mature work) - but after the absolute Southern Rock 'Sounds Of The South' highs of "Pronounced" in 1973 and especially 1974's brilliant "Second Helping" - fans initially felt the new album was a let down.
On first listen it wasn't as immediate as the previous two - lacked that first-flush sparkle (years honing the material) and had that very obvious hurried done-on-the-hoof feel with an equally humdrum front sleeve and screw you message on the rear (Keyboard Player Billy Powell giving two fingers to the camera). A body might have gotten the impression that Alabama's finest triple-guitar band really didn't give a skunk's turd for what was on the record and were already showing signs of being burnt out after years of relentless touring. As Ron O'Brien's superb liner notes tell us - "Nuthin' Fancy" initially charted big at No. 9 with a bullet (went Gold) but had no legs and left the charts a mere 20 weeks later. After the top-ten 7" single peak of "Sweet Home Alabama" at No. 8 the year prior - the album's lone 45 "Saturday Night Special" stalled at No. 23 Stateside in July and didn't chart at all in the UK. By autumn 1975 the LP was all but forgotten and only years later became a permanent bargain bin fodder item in secondhand record shops everywhere…
But time and fans have warmed to this 'unadorned' little gem – this simple man and his stories LP - and I personally prefer it to the over-praised debut with "Freebird" (a sacrilegious and scurrilous statement I know). It also helps that Doug Schwartz's 1999 CD Remaster is just right - punchy and alive – and beautifully clear without ever being overdone or over trebled. Here are the Made In The Shade details...
UK released November 1999 (August 1999 in the USA) - "Nuthin' Fancy" by LYNYRD SKYNYRD on MCA 112 024-2 (Barcode 008811202422) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster of their 3rd album from 1975 with Two Bonus Tracks that plays out as follows (49:12 minutes):
1. Saturday Night Special 2. Cheatin' Woman 3. Railroad Song 4. I'm A Country Boy 5. On The Hunt [Side 2] 6. Am I Losin' 7. Made In The Shade 8. Whiskey Rock-A Roller Tracks 1 to 8 are their 3rd studio album "Nuthin' Fancy" - released 24 March 1975 in the USA on MCA Records MCA-2137 and May 1975 in the UK on MCA Records MCF 2700. Produced by AL KOOPER - the LP peaked at No. 9 and No. 43 in the US and UK album charts.
BONUS TRACKS: 9. Railroad Song (Live) 10. On The Hunt (Live) Tracks 9 and 10 are Previously Unreleased - recorded 27 April 1975 live at Bill Graham's Winterland in San Francisco, California
LYNYRD SKYNYRD were: RONNIE VAN ZANT - Lead Vocals, Lyrics and More ED KING - Lead Guitars (Fender Stratocaster and Gibson SG) ALLEN COLLINS - Guitars (Gibson Firebird) and Backing Vocals GARY ROSSINGTON - Lead Guitar (Gibson Les Paul) BILLY POWELL - Keyboards LEON WILKESON - Bass (Fender) and Backing Vocals on "Saturday Night Special", "Railroad Song" and "I'm A Country Boy" ARTIMUS PYLE - Drums and Percussion
GUESTS: AL KOOPER - Keyboards, Backing Vocals and Percussion Moog Synths on "Saturday Night Special", Organ on "Cheatin' Woman" and Piano on "Made In The Shade" Backing Vocals on "Railroad Song", "Am I Losin' and "Whiskey Rock-A Roller" Percussion on "I'm A Country Boy" JIMMY HALL - Harmonica on "Railroad Song" and "Made In The Shade" BARRY HARWOOD - Mandolins & Dobro on "Made In The Shade" DAVID FOSTER - Backing Vocals on "Whiskey Rock-A Roller"
The 12-page booklet is nicely laid out - very in-depth and accurate liner notes and photo contributions from RON O'BRIEN - the usual reissue credits (good names like Andy McKaie and Beth Stempel coordinated the reissue) - but it drops the ball just a little. Fans will know that American copies of the LP had an inner sleeve with a photo-collage on one side and lyrics/credits on the other (British issues had an insert with the same). The photos turn up on Page 3 but the lyrics are AWOL - a bit of a dumb oversight really and especially on an album where the songs are so Van Zant personal. And frankly the two supposed Bonus Tracks feel very substandard to me in audio quality despite being recorded literally one month after the LP's release and Ronnie's praise of the Bill Graham audience. But all of that goes out the window when you return to the music of the album proper - now fitted out with wickedly good new audio courtesy of restoration and transfer from DOUG SCHWARTZ (he did two of the huge Stax Box Sets and a lot of work for Capitol Records).
"Saturday Night Special" was recorded April 1974 and was the only song in the can for the new LP – so the other seven had to be written as the band arrived in the studio in January 1975 – only days after a near yearlong touring gruel. "Saturday..." kicks off the album in high boozy bar-brawlin' style – a hooky riff with that distinctive Lynyrd Skynyrd sound. "Cheatin' Woman" is the first of the new stuff and is the kind of LP nugget that gets overlooked – a fabulous slinky guitar groove anchored but a superb Al Kooper keyboard funk as Ronnie gets all angst-in-his-pants about his woman's less than angelic ways. Jimmy Hall gives it some Harmonica as "Railroad Song" chugs into life like a freight train carrying our hero – cold, tired and dirty – a hobo being run out of town by the hoi polloi of Hicksville who want their town respectable. Ronnie rages against concrete in "I'm A Country Boy" song - and as he sings "...Big city town don't bother me...don't like smoke chokin' up my head..." - it goes into a very cool middle eight.
Side 2 opens with another rocker - the attacking guitar riffage of "On The Hunt" - and again the Remaster is amazing - the band sounding like Free at their Seventies best. The Acoustic Rock of "Am I Losin'" is a 'drinking wine with one of my friends' song and feels very "Mardi Gras" Creedence in its style and longing. The coke-crates Jug Band Americana sound to "Made In The Shade" is deliberate and works so well. "Whiskey Rock-A Roller" is just a good old boys raunch - the kind of 'suitcase by my side' boogie tune Lynyrd Skynyrd gargled for breakfast.
It's funny how some albums grow into something great despite the circumstance that surrounded their making. It's said the band thought "Nuthin' Fancy" only 'ok' - lacklustre even compared to what had gone before. But fans have taken its warm-hearted personality and simplicity to heart and over the decades its become the fave for many. And on this cool sounding Remaster - it's easy to hear why...
Nuthin' Fancy (1975) was Lynyrd Skynyrd's third studio album, and their first to reach the Top 10, peaking at #9 on the US albums chart.
It's got the classic Saturday Night Special, On the Hunt & Whiskey Rock-a-Roller as well as lesser known album tracks. This Re-issue also contains live versions of Railroad Song and On the Hunt!
Track Listing: Saturday Night Special (E. King, R. Van Zant) - 5:08 Cheatin' Woman (R. Van Zant, G. Rossington, A. Kooper) - 4:38 Railroad Song (E. King, R. Van Zant) - 4:14 I'm a Country Boy (A. Collins, R. Van Zant) - 4:24 On the Hunt (A. Collins, R. Van Zant) - 5:25 Am I Losin' (G. Rossington, R. Van Zant) - 4:32 Made in the Shade (R. Van Zant) - 4:40 Whiskey Rock-a-Roller (E. King, R. Van Zant, B. Powell) - 4:33
1999 CD reissue bonus tracks: Railroad Song (Live) On the Hunt (Live)
So you get some classic Skynyrd tracks with two live tracks thrown in at a bargain price!
Skynyrd rules man!! I'm only 22 and from the Black Country but I love southern rock. I'd say this is their most heavy rock album with poignant churners like saturday night special and surly crunchers like country boy (with an ace twin harmony bridge after the second chorus). On the hunt is excellent, somewhat reminiscent of Free, which I believe is intentional as it refers to their song the hunter. Railroad song is classic driving material that even has some of my non-fan friends tapping their feet. This is my all round favourite Skynyrd album, probably cuz I was always into the slightly heavier side of the band but dont get me wrong I love everything they do. GET IT!!
My first impression when I got this album (on vinyl back in the 70's) was that I didn't like it as much as the first two. However, repeated listenings led to it growing on me. The album was written and recorded in a short space of time because of the hectic touring schedule and some of the songs might have developed more if they had had more time but the playing and singing are of a very high standard.
'Saturday Night Special' gets things off to a great start (the most immediate song on the album) and 'Cheating Woman' continues the good work but some of the other songs take a bit longer to get under your skin. 'I'm a Country Boy' and 'On the Hunt' are the tracks which made the most impression on me (the CD features a live bonus version of 'On the Hunt' as well as the original version) whilst 'Whisky Rock-a-Roller' is not as exciting as the version on 'One More from the Road' and 'Railroad Song' (also featured as a live bonus track on the CD) is possibly my least favourite Skynyrd song ever. 'Made in the Shade' is a back to the roots unplugged bluesy thing whilst 'Am I losing' highlights the more gentle country-influenced side of the band.
Overall, this is not the album I would recommend to someone who is looking for an introduction to Lynyrd Skynyrd but if you've already got some of the other albums it is absolutely worthwhile adding this one to your collection.
The title is misleading. of all their albums this is my favorite. Each song tells a story and they build a picture of a life far removed from my own. Its a joy to experience something so outside of my own experiences that it is an experience in itself.