The Outlaws – Green Grass And High Tides

14th May 2024 · 1970s, 1975, Country, Music, Rock

Florida band The Outlaws brought the three-guitar line-up into country rock, blending three-part harmonies with their multiple guitar solos.

The mid-Seventies were a transitional time for guitar bands as those new-fangled synthesizers began to invade traditional meat-and-two-veg rock music.

But not for Southern Rock bands, who stuck firmly to the formula of heads down no nonsense mindless boogie incorporating elements of blues and country music. They’re still at it half a century later.

Groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers favoured two guitarists given to “duelling” with each other at inordinate length, most notably on never ending jams like Freebird and Dreams, usually with each guitarist soloing in a different speaker of your hi-fi. For a time there I loved it.

The Outlaws were different. They came from Florida and had not two but THREE guitarists and merged their interwoven solos with the mellifluous harmonies of The Eagles.

Not so much meat-and-two-veg as meat-and-three-veg with guitarists Hughie Thomasson, Henry Paul and Billy Jones.

In 1976, just before I ended my relationship with widdly guitar solos and moved towards one-chord wonders, I saw them live at The Valley, Charlton Athletic’s football ground, for one last hurrah of the old guard.

They were on the bill with The Who (headlining, obvs), Little Feat (who I can’t remember a damn thing about, sadly), The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and the sandpaper-voiced Family man Roger Chapman’s Streetwalkers.

This was their standout song, which seemed to last for days (there are live versions on YouTube lasting well over 20 minutes). Perhaps it’s what finally challenged my tolerance for never-ending guitar solos. But it still sounds great to me (and yes, they do the separate speaker thing too, like Television and Wishbone Ash).

And I now find that The Outlaws – still going strong – are challenging The Fall for their rotating cast of musicians: currently standing at 54 band members to date. Southern rock, it seems, is alive and well – at least below the Mason Dixon line.