Hugely Enjoyable !,
This review is from: Hurry Sundown: Remastered (Audio CD)
The Outlaws 3rd album was released in 1977 and while not quite hitting the heights of their previous discs was still an outstanding issue. Now with a new bassist but more importantly a new producer there was a subtle change in sound. Sticking again mainly to original material this nine track offering spent over 6 months in the US Top 200 LP charts, peaking just outside the Top 50.
The songs sound more polished, but have lost some of the sparkling guitar interplay and "twang", and the almost naive innocence that was so appealing on the CD's predecessors. The selection includes two outright country songs that featured banjo, and steel guitar ("So Afraid" and "Man of the Hour"). "Gunsmoke" and the title track are top notch country rockers, with the latter being a great example of the harmony guitar interplay that was always the band's strong point. It also featured superb solos from both Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones, as well as a nice supernatural storyline.
"Holiday" starts like a Wishbone Ash instrumental but blossoms into an uplifting song with a catchy sing-a-long chorus, fine guitar solo, nice vocal bridge, more choruses and another skilful outro solo. It was written by Jones, who also penned the 2 middle tracks on the old LP record's Side Two - "Night Wines" and "Heavenly Blues", with the former being the weakest track here. It has the consolation however of very tasty guitar playing (no pun intended!).
They were followed by the album's closing track "Man of the Hour" which didn't live up to the standard of their previous album closers, which both featured sensational guitar playing. This is rather more subdued and featured strings, which didn't go down too well with the "guitar army" nickname the band earned.
This release was followed by a live double (which featured 4 of these songs). By then Henry Paul had departed the band. With him went a lot of the country influences, and The Outlaws slipped quite easily into the category of Southern Rock. They never quite repeated the commercial success or inspiration of their earlier recordings, but maintained a loyal following that has lasted to the present day.
I give "Hurry Sundown" 5 stars despite the few reservation mentioned above because there has never been a band quite like them, and even when not at their very best they were still exceptional. I'm a huge Thin Lizzy fan but for me NOBODY has ever had a better twin guitar attack than The Outlaws, so that even if songs were slightly weaker guitar playing more than made up for it This disc has a quite short playing time at 38 minutes, and if you look around it is also available as part of a "twofer" where it was paired with "In the Eye of the Storm" from 1979, and which was released on a French label around 10 years ago. It has more recently been paired with live tracks from the same period.