The Outlaws’ triple-guitar attack outshines Foghat’s boogie-blues in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 4, 1987

By Steve Newton

The raunchy guitar sounds of the ’70s were all the rage at the Commodore last weekend (November 27 and 28), with British boogiemeisters Foghat headlining over Florida-based southern rockers the Outlaws. But it was the triple-guitar attack of the openers that was the real highlight both nights.

I’d seen the Outlaws twice before, once when they played with Sad Cafe at the PNE Gardens around ’79 and then again when they backed up (believe it or not) Black Sabbath at the Coliseum in ’82. But I wasn’t so sure if the Florida Guitar Army would still have what it takes to get the old blood flowin’ this time around. When they started off with the country-rock gem “There Goes Another Love Song” on Friday night I knew for sure that they did.

The south had risen again!

With founding members Huey Thomasson and Henry Paul leading the way, the workmanlike band won the crowd of 600-or-so over with such old faves as “Hurry Sundown”, “Freeborn Man”, and the classic “Green Grass and High Tides”. The latter tune–which builds up to a fiery crescendo of wailing guitars–can still send shivers up the spine.

The Outlaws finished things off with their revamped version of Stan Jones’ 1949 jewel “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”, which was intersected by a superfunky solo by a big-haired bassist who looked like a reject from Platinum Blonde (but sure didn’t sound like it).

When it came their turn to shake the Commodore’s foundations, Foghat took a good shot at it with their own staple of old faves–“Fool For the City”, “My Babe”, and “Stone Blue”–but they kinda lost it with long drawn-out solos (as in “Honey Hush”) that just didn’t have the same from-the-heart feel to match the Outlaws’ guitar blasts.

Turning the volume way up didn’t help any, although the rock-till-you-drop crowd at the Commodore didn’t seem to mind, especially when the group swung into their popular version of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You”.

Before the night was over, the Outlaws came back on to join Foghat for an extended encore jam of ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On”. You really can’t beat the sight of seven (count ’em) guitarists going hog wild with nasty blues licks. Long live the ’70s!

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