The Outlaws: Hughie Thomasson, Henry Paul (vocals, guitar); Harvey Dalton Arnold (vocals, bass); Frank O'Keefe (bass); Monte Yoho (drums).
Additional personnel: Joe Vitale (ARP synthesizers); Manual Labour (percussion).
Producer: Bill Szymczyk.
Reissue producers: Rob Santos, Jeremy Holiday.
Includes liner notes by Rick Clark.
Digitally remastered by Elliott Federman (SAJE Sound, New York, New York).
This is part of Buddha's Original Masters series.
Tampa, FL-based band the Outlaws released their third album, Hurry Sundown, in 1977, and it's a fine work marked by strong songwriting and their unique country-based brand of Southern rock. All five members wrote material for Hurry Sundown: vocalist/lead guitarist Billy Jones, vocalist/guitarist Henry Paul, vocalist/lead guitarist Hughie Thomasson, new vocalist/bass guitarist Harvey Dalton Arnold, and drummer Monte Yoho. One significant influence on the album is producer Bill Szymczyk. It's obvious his work with the Eagles sharpened the Outlaws' harmony vocals on Hurry Sundown. "Gunsmoke" is a vibrant rocker with lots of guitar soloing; the Outlaws didn't feature three guitarists for nothing. The bright country-rock chorus is the foundation of "Hearin' My Heart Talkin'." Arnold's "So Afraid" is a strangely compelling country song with two distinctly different parts: emotionally fragile lyrics supported by happy-go-lucky music driven by Thomasson's cheerful banjo playing. Thomasson's excellent "Hurry Sundown," an edgy story song with piercing guitar lines, was a minor hit single. "Cold and Lonesome" is a relaxed, swaying tune contributed by Arnold. The major discovery on Hurry Sundown is Jones' startling "Night Wines." This mournful, haunting song features a regret-filled protagonist drinking at night while lamenting the sad inevitability of aging. "Night Wines" must be at least partly autobiographical, because Jones, an obviously tortured soul, battled alcoholism before leaving the band by 1982 and, ultimately, took his own life in 1995 at age 45. About the first half of "Man of the Hour" is slow country with twangy electric guitars and Thomasson's pedal steel guitar, but then the tempo shifts to a mid-tempo jam; along the way, guest Joe Vitale adds simple, effective synthesizer/strings fills. Buddha Records (aka Buddah Records) was scheduled to issue Hurry Sundown on CD for the first time in the summer of 2001. ~ Bret Adams