I'm always chasing down new vinyl. I recently purchased Nuthin' Fancy, a 1975 album by Lynyrd Skynrd. The third studio album, it was their first to reach the Top 10, peaking at #9 on the U.S. album chart. It was certified Gold on 6/27/1975 and Platinum on 7/21/1987. This album was drummer Artimus Pyle's premiere with the band. After being replaced by guitarist Steve Gaines, it was the departure of lead guitarist Ed King who was most notably known for co-writing their hit "Sweet Home Alabama".
Co-written by King and Van Zant, the opening track "Saturday Night Special" is an instant hit, punching the critiques of the band right in the mouth! The perception of Lynyrd Skynyrd was often a bunch of substance abusing, gun slinging roughnecks. The song's lyrics, "So why don't we dump 'em, people, to the bottom of the sea?" sets a powerful anti-gun course to belied the southern rock kingpins pistol-packin' image. The second track "Cheatin' Women" is reminiscent of a drug & booze filled man who is at his wits end, tying off another late night, with the final conclusion of how to deal with his unfaithful counterpart. Then there's "I'm A Country Boy" written by Allen Collins & Ronnie Van Zant, a rock & roll heater that signifies the pride in which the band feels being born down on the Dixie line. The tune "On The Hunt" has been a centerpiece of many a road trips of my own. It was a permanent fixture in the playlist that my friends and I shared during our late night debauchery. This song premiered in Paris in '74 and in my humble opinion is one of the focal points on the album. Gary Rossington lays down some tasty licks during this bluesy number. "Am I Losin" is a intimately personal tune by Rossington & Van Zant. It was written about original drummer Bob Burns leaving the band due to being overwhelmed by life on the road. (Bob Burns is credited with the band's debut album Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd as well as Second Helping.) While this song would be something desired in any Skynyrd fans set list, it has only seen the light of day a handful of times. Closing the album and written by Billy Powell, King, & Van Zant, "Whiskey Rock a Roller" focuses on the band's time spent on the road. Ronnie came across what he called a stupid writer who asked him, "What are you man?" Van Zant responded he was a "Whiskey Rock a Roller." There one thing for certain, Lynyrd Skynyrd was in their prime while releasing Nuthin' Fancy. There is no telling where the band could have gone if the plane would have landed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on October 20, 1977.**
**Note: Neil Young wrote the song "Powderfinger" for Lynyrd Skynyrd, but the three band members passed in the plane crash before they could ever record it. This is interesting to note as some thought there was bad blood between them.
1. "Saturday Night Special" (E. King, R. Van Zant) – 5:08
2."Cheatin' Woman" (R. Van Zant, G. Rossington, A. Kooper) – 4:38
3."Railroad Song" (E. King, R. Van Zant) – 4:14
4."I'm a Country Boy" (A. Collins, R. Van Zant) – 4:24
1. "On the Hunt" (A. Collins, R. Van Zant) – 5:25
2."Am I Losin'" (G. Rossington, R. Van Zant) – 4:32
3."Made in the Shade" (R. Van Zant) – 4:40
4."Whiskey Rock-a-Roller" (E. King, R. Van Zant, B. Powell) – 4:33