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.
The release of this album on CD format has long been overdue. Why? Because this is a classic album from one of the Souths greatest rock bands. The Outlaws were always living in the shadow of thee greatest Southern Rock Band - Lynyrd Skynyrd, but this album proved that they could easily compete with the standard that Skynyrd had set the rest of the competition below the Mason Dixon Line. From the opening bars of "Gunsmoke" through the in concert classics of "Holiday", "Hurry Sundown" and "Cold & Lonesome", this album takes you on an Outlaw journey of lonesome nights on the plains, bar room brawls and loose women! The four guitar attack along with the various vocal styles make the tracks originally laid down by the band in the mid 70's still sound as strong and fresh as ever today. So if you were ever curious and needed an excellant introduction to the formidable sound of Southern Rock, you will do little wrong in buying this Outlaw classic.
I have written a longer review underneath the Outlaws album Lady In Waiting and mentioned this one, as Hurry Sundown was the first of their albums I heard. This is a fantastic album and it's thanks to an old hippy in Folkestone that I even heard it. Buy this one and find Lady In Waiting (and read my review there), along with their first album. You will not be disappointed.
An album i had years ago on tape, probably from my brother. I managed to get hold of a best of on CD, soon after CDs cam along - but this album was still something I hankered after as the versions of 'Hurry Sundown' and 'Holiday' would still go through my mind periodically.