on May 13, 2002
At their height, the Outlaws were a formidable band capable of riveting hard rock ("Green Grass & High Tides"), lilting country ballads ("Girl From Ohio") and stomping, hell-raising hoedowns ("Knoxville Girl").
Their brilliant 1975 debut ('The Outlaws') was an excellent representation of their abilities. Such was that album's skillfull melding of hard and soft, rock and country, that it went gold within weeks of its release. Not an inconsiderable feat for a largely-unknown band operating on a brand-new label without a multi-million dollar hype machine behind it.
More likely for the album's commercial success (besides its obvious musical merit) was a slot opening for the Doobie Brothers on their Fall, 1975 'Stampede' tour. At a September date in the old Chicago Stadium, the Outlaws turned 20,000 hard-core Doobie Brothers fans into instant converts. I was among many who were brought to their feet by "Green Grass & High Tides" that night, and by the end of the raucous "Knoxville Girl", was hootin' and hollerin' like a life-long cowboy.
I wasn't alone in the thought that I could've gone home at that point, feeling completely that I had gotten my money's worth. To myself and anyone else who saw this early incarnation of the Outlaws, it marked them as a band to watch.
They didn't always follow up on the promise of that sterling debut, but they did manage another fine LP (1977's 'Hurry Sundown') and recorded much else that deserved to be heard. Unfortunately, they are today an unjustly forgotten member of what was then known as "Southern Rock".
Which brings me to Arista's remastering and reissue program of the first three Outlaw LPs and the release of a new compilation: 'Best Of The Outlaws...Green Grass & High Tides'
No Outlaws fan would quibble with the fact that nearly a third of the CDs tracks (5 of 16) are from the debut. As mentioned before, it's wonderful. And the inclusion of "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky"? Of course. It was their last hit. "You Are The Show"? Okay. Even though 'Playin' To Win' (their fourth LP released in 1979) was a middling affair, it had a few nuggets worth remembering.
My problem with this collection is the under-representation of 'Hurry Sundown', represented here by a measley two tracks. That's what 'Playin' To Win'--a vastly inferior album--got. And why is 1976's 'Lady In Waiting'--an infuriatingly uneven album--represented with more tracks than any other Outlaws album? (Which isn't to say it's a bad album--just an uneven one. Indeed, the aforementioned "Girl From Ohio", "Prisoner" and "Freeborn Man" are wonderful and completely deserving.)
But virtually any of 'Hurry Sundown's seven remaining tracks would be an improvement over the utterly forgettable "Breaker Breaker", "South Carolina", "Stick Around For Rock & Roll" and "Take It Anyway You Want It". As would an especially hot live track or an illuminating demo.
The remastered sound is great, the liner notes informative, but I've docked 'Best Of The Outlaws' a star because of its weak track selection that leaves one of the band's essential albums practically unrepresented.
And that's a shame.
on November 7, 2001
The Outlaws are probably the most musically talented of all the Southern rock bands. Their blistering guitar solos, send shivers up and down my spine. Hughie Thomasson in my opinion is in the same class as Eric Clapton and all the other great guitar players. It appears that the song selection for this disc was put together by Hughie Thomasson and Henry Paul, and there for the songs focus on material released when Henry Paul was with the band. There are some songs that should have made this disc, but were not included, such as "Devils Road" and "White Horses" written by former guitar army veteran Freddie Salem. The Outlaws released an album on Pasha records in the mid-eighties which included great songs as "What You Don't Do","Cold Harbor" and "One Last Ride". (If anyone knows were I can get this album on disc, please contact me.)which for legal reasons (I'm guessing?) did not make this greatest hits package.
Although the lyrics in the Outlaws music are not as strong as say Lynyrd Skynyrd, this is a great rock and roll band that has conviction and dedication to their music. I would recommend this disc to anyone interested in learning about a great Southern rock band and its music. Some of my fondest memories in my life include Outlaws concerts and their music. Buy this disc, you won't be dissapointed. Rest in Peace Billy Jones.
on July 22, 1999
Ok, everyone is entitled to their humble opine regarding music, but one should be familiar with the gendre before attempting to publish a review on the material. The reason why the Outlaws didn't achieve the fame and fortune of the acts mentioned (Skynyrd, Allman's, MTB) was because they didn't succumb to the pressures to produce "poppy" hit tunes that got consistent airplay. MTB is more country blues/gospel rock, Allmans were blues/jazz/rock and Skynyrd rode on the talents of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines. The distiguishable factor of the Outlaws was the widely recognized (in the "southern rock circles) talents of Hughie Thomasson and (the late) Billy Jones who together with help from Henry Paul crafted songs laced with guitar solos that even the great Betts/Allman duo would have envied. This is not "just" an album that "southern rock" die hards would like, it is an album anyone who calls themselves a "music lover", should have.
on May 4, 1999
Back in the late 70's there were not many bands around that could put on a show as great as these guys. My first encounter with them was at a free concert in NYC Central Park in 1976. They opened for Jefferson Starship. It was the first time I ever heard of them and after seeing them that day I was hooked like never before to any band. Their set was only 35 minutes long. About 15 of it was their anthem, Green Grass and High Tides. To this day I can not recall much of Starships' performance that day because I was so awed from the Outlaws set. Anyhow, I went on to see them at least 20 times in the NY area over the next few years. One weekend I saw them 3 nights in a row at 3 different venues. One show at the Capitol Theatre in NJ at the WNEW-FM Xmas concert, they played Green Grass for 45 minutes straight. Sitting fourth row that night it was sheer ecstasy for this Outlaw freak. Over the years music choices changed drasticaly, but deep inside I have a warm spot for them that will never fade. Go ahead, cue up Green Grass and High Tides one more time for the old days and enjoy 8 minutes of pure Soputhern Rock n roll energy !!
on August 23, 1999
The Outlaws had some of the best harmonies ever displayed by a rock and roll band. And their guitar playing was second to none. Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones could easily compete with the Allmans, Skynyrd and any other Guitar tandem. The song Green Grass and High Tides is one of the greatest songs ever, as is Hurry Sundown and Ghost Riders. My only complaint is not enough Billy Jones' songs such as Cry No More. There were other songs that were unfortunately omitted like Angels Hide, Long Gone, Devils Road, So Afraid, and Song In The Breeze. This album is not only recommended for "die hard fans", but for any rock n roll or country fan. The musicianship and harmonies are definately worth it.
on October 5, 2003
This is the ultimate collection from the ultimate band in rock & roll. Sure, I love Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Allman Brothers Band, Little Feat, and all of the other Southern rock groups, as well as numerous classic rock, hard rock, metal, country, jam, modern rock, new wave, power pop, and adult alternative artists, but the Outlaws take the pizza for being the best. The Florida guitar army has perfected a unique blend of sweet vocal harmonies, lightning guitar riffs and leads, rocking rhythms, and catchy songs that makes such groups as Warrant, Great White, Guns N' Roses, or Pearl Jam sound like Bread by comparison. This album is an absolute must for anyone interested in rock & roll.
on October 5, 2003
This is the ultimate collection from the ultimate band in rock & roll. Sure, I love Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Allman Brothers Band, Little Feat, and all of the other Southern rock groups, as well as numerous classic rock, hard rock, metal, country, jam, modern rock, new wave, power pop, and adult alternative artists, but the Outlaws take the pizza for being the best. The Florida guitar army has perfected a unique blend of sweet vocal harmonies, lightning guitar riffs and leads, rocking rhythms, and catchy songs that makes Warrant, Great White, Guns N' Roses, and Pearl Jam sound like Bread by comparison. This album is an absolute must for anyone interested in rock & roll.
on May 15, 1999
The Outlaws put out a greatest hits album back in the eary 1980's that omitted one key element of the band, Henry Paul. This compilation is truely their "greatest hits" CD. From "Waterhole" to "Green Grass and High Tides" the Outlaws show why they were the smoothest sounding southern rock band of all time. Hughie Thomasson is one of the most original and unique guitar players of all time, and will always be my favorite, ahead of other southern greats such as Dicky Betts, Gary Rossington, and Allen Collens . This CD is a must for anyone interested in Southern rock, Country blues, or good ol' Rock and Roll!!!
on September 5, 2002
As you may or may not know, the Outlaws are the greatest rock & roll band of all time. I like many southern rock, hard rock, AOR, classic rock, country, jam, power pop, adult alternative, new wave, alternative, and modern rock bands, but these guys take the pizza for being the best. This album contains all of their best tracks, but a double- or triple-disc/cassette set would have been even better. As it is bands like Soundgarden and Guns N' Roses are infants' stuff compared to these guys, who combine lightning guitar runs with white-hot country-boogie tunes. If you want gut-rippin', smokin' guitar bar-b-que, the Outlaws are your men.
on December 17, 2000
I purchased this to replace the 8 track I had back in the 70's...( yes the 70's ) This version falls a little short of the original 8 track, but worth listening to. You will need to to scan thru most of the songs to get to the " good stuff". Some are pretty silly such as the CB Breaker Breaker song, but to hear Green Grass and High Tides all cleaned up is worth the investment. Would really like to find the CD version of that 8 track, because several songs from that tape are missing on this " best of" and the one that are included as " best of ' are awful. Either that or it was the drugs in the the 70's!!