Album review: THE OUTLAWS – Live At Rockpalast 1981 (CD/DVD)

MiG Records [Release date 25.09.20]

Back in 1981 The Outlaws were riding high on the success of their ‘Ghost Riders’ album and this show at the 1st Rockpalast Open Air Festival was the band’s debut show in Germany. Their brand of Southern rock reportedly went down well and this CD and DVD package captures all the action for posterity.

The set opens with ‘Devil’s Road’ which sets out the band’s stall well with the three guitar attack of Freddie Salem, Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones to the fore. ‘Hurry Sundown’ and ‘Holiday’ follow on and continue the southern boogie.

‘Long Gone’ is an out and out rocker complete with a blistering guitar solo and a heavy riff, if Saxon came from the Deep South they may sound something like this. The guys then revert to a more sedate pace with ‘Angels Hide’ which is more akin to Blackfoot’s ‘Highway Song’ with quieter verses and a punchy chorus.

Musically the band are good, although one of the guitars is gloriously out of tune on the opening track’s solo spot, but vocally they were fairly average, especially on the live harmonies. However, on more upbeat tracks like the instrumental ‘Waterhole’ and ‘There Goes Another Love Song’ the guys prove they had plenty of talent and by the sound of the crowd reaction the set went down well with the German crowd.

An epic version of ‘Green Grass and High Tides’ is the set’s crowning glory with great playing throughout on what is the band’s best known song. The short set is rounded off with a cover of the country classic ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’ which kicks off with just drums and guitar before the rest of the band join in for a full on, rocking rendition.

This is a good set which captures the spirit of the day well and shows the band at their peak. Perhaps not an essential purchase but for fans of the band and anyone looking for some southern rock this is a worthwhile investment.  ***

Review by Dave Wilson

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