Certain Songs #1064: Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Working For MCA (Atlanta, July 1976)”

Album: One More For From The Road
Year: 1976

One More For From The Road was the first Lynyrd Skynyrd album I ever bought. Pretty sure I got it during either the spring or summer of 1977, not when it came out, but definitely before their plane went down, and as such, it’s always held some sentimental value to me.

That’s subjectively, of course, because in an era suffused with double-live albums, the highlights of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s post-Bicentennial 1976 stand at the Fox Theater in Atlanta stand with any of them.

With Ronnie Van Zant playing his natural role of Master of Ceremonies — all of those whistles to get your attention and shouts of “over here” to point out which guitarist is taking the solo — One More For From The Road felt more intimate than most of the other live albums of that era, and it also helped that they opened it with their meta-commentary on their career: “Working For MCA.”

Want you to sign your contract
Want you to sign today
Gonna give you lots of money
Workin’ For MCA

It’s lost to history, of course, because they’ve long been swallowed up by Universal Music Group, but it was my long-held belief that MCA was the Worst Major Label ever, spurred by their shoddy re-packaging of Who albums, but no doubt Van Zant’s cynical retelling of his experiences as one of their artists was part of it too.

Still, it’s the perfect opening: all three guitarists — Allen Collins, Steve Gaines and Gary Rossington — play in and around each other, riffing and soloing together and apart, while drummer Artemis Pyle and bassist Leon Wilkenson keep a funky backbeat going. Hell, they even make room for Billy Powell to take an electric piano solo.

It’s the perfect appetite whetter for what’s to come next.

“Working For MCA (Atlanta, 1976)”

“Working For MCA” performed live at Knebworth, 1976

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