The Outlaws

The Outlaws

The Outlaws' 1975 debut album has things in common with lots of Southern country rock traditionalists, including the song smoothness and guitar picking of The Marshall Tucker Band and the rock-radio songwriting aplomb of Lynryd Skynryd. (Both “Green Grass and High Tides” and the great “There Goes Another Love Song” still heavily populate classic rock radio.) But there are things here that give the band a true sonic identity: for one thing, no Southern rock band could’ve penned the beautifully pensive “It Follows from Your Heart,” nor did any share the same penchant for tricky sunny Southern California harmonies of the Poco/Eagles variety. “Knoxville Girl” stands alone as a winning blend of rowdy bluegrass and dueling rock ’n’ roll guitars. But some comparisons are fun: “Stay with Me” could’ve been a great New Riders of the Purple Sage song, and The Grateful Dead could’ve hit the singles chart hard with “Keep Prayin’.” The best song here is “Song for You,” a singable heartbreaker about unintentionally letting down the one you love; its sentiment of personal responsibility is rare for the era and genre.

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