With the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, I am "one of those guys". Simply put, I am one of those fans that appreciate the shit out of the original bands 70s catalog only. In my humble opinion, I think the current band should hang it up, mainly because there in no Ronnie Van Zant in the mix. I think he was the most interesting part of the entire band, mainly because he was a songwriting genius, and a great story teller. These two qualities in a single person are rare as hell.
Second Helping was released on April 15th 1974. My copy of this album, is an original pressing and is in near mint condition. Im surprised by this, considering how popular this album was back in the day. Obviously, it had Skynyrd's biggest hit on it with "Sweet Home Alabama". I have personally always been a fan of the deep tracks on this album, with my personal favorites being "I Need You" and "The Ballad of Curtis Loew". Ronnie Van Zant story telling abilities really did shine on Curtis Loew. What always intrigued me about his songwriting process, was the fact that he never wrote any lyrics down. The lyrics were usually thought up and applied to the music on the spot. Original Guitarist, Ed King elaborates on the songwriting process with Ronnie here with Classicbands.com : "He'd sit on the edge of the couch, pretty much with his head in his hands. He never wrote anything down, ever. So, we'd work real hard to make sure we'd remember the groove of the song, how it felt, the changes, 'cause if you came back the next day and couldn't play it with exactly the same feel, there was a good chance the song was lost. Ronnie wrote his syllables so that they fit inside the groove. So, you really had to know when you left rehearsal that day, what you had".
I think that if Van Zant would have lived, he would have had a prolific and long career as a song writer. And this is with or without Skynyrd. Second Helping is a great example of how talented the man was with words and arrangements, and its a damn shame that we can only imagine what kind of work he would have given music fans to consume. At least we have the legendary original work of Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is stuff is eternal, classic and legendary.