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Outlaws
Arista 4042
Released: July 1975
Chart Peak: #13
Weeks Charted: 16
Certified Gold: 9/20/77

Hughie ThomassonOn their first album, Outlaws lack not just a distinct identity but interesting material: Too many of the songs have been constructed literally (an unimaginatively) from formulas developed by others, particularly the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Thus, "Waterhole" and "Knoxville Girl" come off as stereotypical country-rock tunes, while "There Goes Another Love Song" has the stylistic framework -- but no the catchiness -- of L.A.-style harmony rockers.

Outlaws - Outlaws
Original album advertising art.
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When, on the other hand, the group works outside of strict stylistic formats, it's very convincing. Henry Paul's "Song in the Breeze" works subtle tonal shifts into what might have been another uptempo harmony cut: Its minor-key harmonies have a hauntingly dusky quality, which serve as an apt backdrop for Paul's sad, earnest lead vocal.

The best cut on the second side is Hughie Thomasson's "Green Grass & High Tides," an unflaggingly intense ten-minute rock & roll opus that gives the group music on which to begin building a reputation.



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Outlaws Videos

The track begins with a reflective statement of theme, then blasts into an instrumental section that uses guitar interplay to create relentless drive. Here, finally, the band plays what Arista A&R man Robert Feiden claims for it in his liner notes -- "beautiful and brutal rock 'n' roll." Otherwise, the group plays quite well but to no apparent aesthetic purpose.

- Bud Scoppa, Rolling Stone, 9/25/75.

Bonus Review!

The Outlaws were a fairly consistent band, at least until relegated to the Southern-rock oldies circuit, so any album's as good as another. But the best is probably 1975's Outlaws, recorded when the group still seemed like it might develop into something more than just another boogie band. * * *

- Brian Mansfield, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

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