Sometimes, karma can be a real bitch.
Just ask The Outlaws.
Brief history: The Outlaws were one of the very first bands that I ever saw. They were part of a brief
Iowa rock festival in the late 70’s/early 80’s
called the Iowa Jam. I saw ‘em in ’81 and I had no idea who they were, except
that they played Southern Rock music, and I kind of liked Southern Rock back in
Years later, as in just a few years ago, I heard their A.O.R. staple “Green Grass and High Tides” and was just blown away with the guitar work. Seriously, check that shit out if you’re like me and enjoy listening to some flat-out awesome soloing.
Part of those solos are courtesy of the Outlaws original guitarists Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones. One played a Fender. The other played a Gibson. Both were awesome.
You won’t find either one of them on the first Outlaws album in 18 years, It’s About Pride. It’s because Thomasson and Jones are dead; Jones killed himself in 1995 and Thomasson died a few years ago from a heart attack.
Here’s where karma comes in: Thomasson had just jumpstarted an Outlaws reunion after serving as, are you ready for this, one of the guitarists in Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Now Lynyrd Skynyrd circa 2012 is in no way shape or form Lynyrd Skynyrd. Things are so bad over in the Skynyrd camp that the surviving members actually made an agreement stating that they would close up shop if it came down to only one surviving member. That oath worked all the way until there was one surviving member, who then decided to keep on going with the moniker. Some bullshit about carrying on the tradition, never mind that surviving widows were suing, reminding everyone about the “last man standing” clause.
So anyway, Hughie Thomasson was one of those replacement guitarists in Skynyrd, until one day he decides “I’m probably making as much with Skynyrd doing these county fair gigs as I would be if I re-lit The Outlaws and played county fairs with them! Plus, I don’t have to listen to Gary Rossington’s bullshit anymore!”
Hughie does exactly this, and then he has a heart attack at dies. So then Henry Paul, one of the vocalists and guitarists from the Outlaws decides to keep the band going, even though Hughie had the rights to the Outlaws name. So when Henry Paul decided to keep going as the Outlaws, Hughie’s widow gets all pissed and sues him.
She eventually loses the fight, because Henry Paul was working with Monte Yoho, the original drummer of the band, so the judge says “Sorry lady, but there’s two original members of the Outlaws left. Dismissed!”
Now all of this backstory…Oh wait, I forgot to mention that Henry Paul started a band called Blackfoot back in the early 90’s and they scored a couple of minor country hits.
Ok, still with me?
So Henry Paul joins up with the reconstituted Outlaws, then shanghai’s the entire name after Hughie croaks, and is now releasing the first Outlaws album in 18 years called It’s About Pride.
It’s About Pride is about as much of an Outlaws album as anything that Lynyrd Skynyrd releases these days, but it’s got this annoying country twang to it. The band tries to conjure up moments of their guitar prowess, but whenever Henry Paul steps up to belt out something, it sounds like Blackfoot, with more guitars.
He’s got such a grasp on everyone else’s throat, that when they step up with some new clichéd material, it’s mixed in such an Adult Country way that they are probably thinking the moronic video for “Hidin’ Out In Tennessee” is going to make them all country stars again.
Just for good measure, there’s the title track-a bit of lazy country rock history that name-checks Marshall Tucker and Charlie Daniels songs, thinking that all of this will somehow legitimize The Outlaws’ circa 2012, even when they’re sounding like Blackfoot circa ’92.