- These superb sides each rating a solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER give you Top Quality Country Rock sound from first note to last
- Big, rich and meaty, this pressing shows you just how well recorded their Classic Debut album really is
- There Goes Another Love Song and Green Grass & High Tides (at almost ten minutes!) sound surprisingly good here
- “The Outlaws’ debut blew a fresh blast of rock & roll onto a scene increasingly dominated by synthesizers and dance music. It will leave the listener singing along and dreaming about the good ol’ days.” (You got that right)
The sound of the typical copy can best be summed up in one word: brittle. When the sound is thin or hard the fun factor of this country rock drops to zero. Green Grass & High Tides sounds great on the radio, why not on vinyl?
We sure can’t blame Artisan, the original cutting house: all the copies we played — good, bad and otherwise — were originals and mastered by them.
Could it be the Arista vinyl? It could. It could be a lot of things, but speculating about them doesn’t really get us or you anywhere, so I’m going to stop doing it and just say we played a big pile of records and heard a lot of copies with mediocre sound.
This Is Our Sound
It’s easy to spot the good ones. They’re big and rich, never thin nor harsh. They open up on the top end and go down deep on the bottom. They’re smooth and full-bodied in the midrange. The guitars ring out. The energy of the performance drives the music the way you want it to.
In short, the best copies demonstrate what’s good about All American Analog Recording from the mid-’70s, the kind of sound the Doobies had for Toulouse Street, Linda Ronstadt for Simple Dreams and Steely Dan for Pretzel Logic. If you prefer the recordings of Diana Krall, Patricia Barber and Jennifer Warnes, this may not be your sound, but it sure is ours.
What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We Listen For on Outlaws
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
There Goes Another Love Song
Song for You
Song in the Breeze
It Follows from Your Heart
Cry No More
Stay with Me
Green Grass & High Tides
AMG 4 Star Review
By the mid-’70s, Southern bands seemed be making a last stand for rock & roll, with two- and three-guitar lineups and not a keyboard in sight. The Outlaws’ self-titled debut was released in 1975, a few years after the Allman Brothers Band’s greatest glories and a couple of years before the untimely demise of the original Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Outlaws latched onto their Southern heritage by way of Florida, threw in some harmony by way of the Eagles, and then wrote a number of songs that played to their strengths. The result was — and is — a good classic rock & roll album.
Several of The Outlaws’ best songs are present here, including “There Goes Another Love Song,” “Green Grass and High Tides,” and “Song for You.” Hughie Thomasson only sings lead on these three songs, but since two of them were the best-known Outlaw songs, it is his voice that is most associated with the band.
It’s fun to hear cuts like “Song for You” and “Knoxville Girl,” which never received a lot of radio play. “Keep Prayin’,” sung by Henry Paul and Billy Jones, is a fine piece of Southern boogie with high soaring harmony on the chorus. Although “Green Grass and High Tides” has been played a million and six times on album-oriented rock stations, it nonetheless deserves mention. Created in the tradition of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Dreams” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” the song still sounds fresh in the context of the album, and doesn’t feel long at its nearly ten-minute length.
The Outlaws’ debut blew a fresh blast of rock & roll onto a scene increasingly dominated by synthesizers and dance music. It will leave the listener singing along and dreaming about the good ol’ days.