Gold And Platinum

These are the kind of guys that drive a beat-up Ford pick-up truck with a gun rack in the back and a “No Fat Chicks” bumpersticker. Red-necks, one might say. Afterall, that is how the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd describe themselves.

“Gold and Platinum,” a double length tape (or two CD set), is a compilation of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s biggest singles from 1973 to 1979. These are the songs which even a radio-only listener would have heard and consequently, it is one of Skynyrd’s most accessible albums.

All of the original band members are represented on the album. Some of the recordings have been digitally remastered for compact disc; but the sound quality is uniformly good. It is a pleasure to listen to the real Skynyrd, not the fragmented and overly sentimental group which has been touring recently. The studio tracks have incredibly strong backing musicians, especially evident on “Simple Man.” The live tracks have been culled from some of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s best recorded live work and the material taken from the 1977 performances at The Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta stand out.

The highlights include an inspired “Down South Jukin'” as well as strong performances on “Whiskey Rock-A-Roller” and “Gimme Back My Bullets.” There are no real mistakes on this album, though a few songs disappoint. “That Smell” was stronger on the release “What’s Your Name,” and I would have liked a live version of the country rock classic, “Sweet Alabama.”

For fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Gold and Platinum” neatly packages a lot of their best work. But more importantly, for those who have heard just a few Skynyrd songs and liked them, this album provides a great chance to hear more Skynyrd in rare form.

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