Mixing country, a slight touch of blues and some good old vintage Southern rock, at their best Lynyrd Skynyrd were as good as any of the great Southern rock bands of the mid-'70s, and with a sly sense of what could work on pop radio, they managed to score several hits without sacrificing one bit of their musical integrity. This brief set has most of those singles (though "That Smell" is absent here), including "Sweet Home Alabama" (which spread Neil Young's name all over the airwaves), "Gimme Back My Bullets," "Saturday Night Special," and the longer album version of the immortal "Free Bird," which has become somewhat of a concert-goers joke (every live show by every band in the world always has some audience member screaming out for "Free Bird" and it almost doesn't seem like a real show unless someone shouts it out) but is still a stirring recording if one can somehow find fresh ears for it. Skynyrd was a wry band with a rare sense of social intelligence in their lyrics and that improbable balance seems even more pronounced hearing them some thirty years later. The bare-bone essentials of their impressive legacy are collected here.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett