Lynyrd Skynyrd

Essential

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Anytime a label like Madacy releases something titled Essential, it is almost like a signal to put the clamps on your wallet, because there is bound to be something not quite right going on, something that would make any transaction that might take place a ripoff. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Essential is no exception. The two-disc set is not only missing some of the band's undisputed highlights, like "Gimme Three Steps," "Down South Jukin'," "Gimme Back My Bullets," and "Saturday Night Special," but the first disc, which has "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama," and "You Got That Right," is made up of 1997 live recordings by a less-than-essential incarnation of the band. It was originally released by BMG Special Products in 1998 as Extended Versions. Disc two is also a reissue of a budget comp, in this case the 1997 MCA Special Products release What's Your Name, and while it has signature tunes like "What's Your Name," "Call Me the Breeze," "That Smell," "Workin' for MCA," and "Sweet Home Alabama," it has some songs that certainly don't fit underneath the heading of essential. So take the title with a boatload of salt and look for a real hits collection if you're starting a Skynyrd collection.

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