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-----Overview and Background----------
Southern Rock is best known for its flag-waving anthem 'Sweet Home Alabama' by Lynyrd Skynyrd, but within this branch of classic rock there are many other bands that created some great music. The Atlanta Rhythm Section was one of them. Less in your face than Skynyrd, they pioneered a much softer AOR sound that reaped great rewards from the American record buying public that wanted a decent sound for their 1970's key-swap parties.
A Rock and Roll Alternative was the Atlanta Rhythm Section's sixth album. They hadn't had much luck up until this point, but 'So Into You' transported them into the big leagues and this album went gold.
So what's it like?
1. Sky High
A rocking piano introduces us to this album and we soon get into the Atlanta sound. Sky High is a good rocker which could do with a bit more 'crunch', theres a good rocker here, but the band seem reluctant to really go for it - which is a shame.
2. Hitch-Hikers' Hero
I like this track quite a lot. It's acoustic intro is very southern rock and is a very memorable track. It also showcases the group's ability to form close harmony, something that the Skynyrd boys could also do pretty well. But then it too is dogged down by a softer edge that makes it a bit more 'Bellamy Brothers' than 'Lynyrd'.
3. Don't Miss the Message
Don't Miss The Message is another song that is much better after a few listens. Its got a good funky bassline that permeates the song as well as a good resounding chorus.
4. Georgia Rhythm
Georgia Rhythm is the sort of track that you can hear playing in the background of every 70's film made. Its very laid back and you can see why the US public bought into this record for its very adult orientated rock sound.
5. So into You
So Into You is the song that catapulted the group into the big time. Its a classic song that should be on everyone's Ipod and on every southern rock compilation. However, the rest of the album never really hits the same high as this classic track.
6. Outside Woman Blues
A much funkier sound here and probably the album's only real rocker. Its got a great guitar sound and riff as well - good stuff.
7. Everybody Gotta Go
A perfectly decent groove that uses the word 'cancer' a few too many times. Apart from that, nothing too special.
8. Neon Nites
Neon Nites is another slow number that closes this record on a bit of a yawn,
A Rock and Roll Alternative is a perfectly amiable southern rock album, nothing more, nothing less. It certainly doesn't reach the spectacular heights of Skynyrd, or the low-down dirtiness of Molly Hatchet, but sits perfectly well within this certain branch of classic rock.
Its certainly not a lost classic by any means - if it was that good, people would be still raving about it today such as 'Pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd' , however apart from the cool offering 'So Into You' this album is pretty unmemorable. Its one of those albums you can have playing in the background and not really take much notice of, and for that I can't give the album that high a rating.
A Rock and Roll Alternative is available now from amazon.co.uk for the ridiculous price of £58.05.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sky High
2 Hitch-Hikers' Hero
3 Don't Miss the Message
4 Georgia Rhythm
5 So into You
6 Outside Woman Blues
7 Everybody Gotta Go
8 Neon Nites