January 18, 2015
The Outlaws are an American southern-rock band first formed in Tampa, Florida in 1967. Although still performing, the group’s heyday was during the 1970s. Blending country and rock and roll, the band released their self-titled debut album in 1975, which included a nearly ten minute long closing number, Green Grass & High Tides. Lady In Waiting followed during 1976 and Hurry Sundown in 1977.
In 1978, the Outlaws released a live double album Bring It Back Alive, which featured a twenty-one minute workhorse of Green Grass & High Tides. Due to a printing error, early copies of both cassettes and 8-tracks labeled the album as Bring ‘Em Back Alive. Buying a cassette of this album in the ship’s store aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) when it was first released, I never knew the correct name of the album until researching band information for this post. I bought a vinyl copy of the album not long after I got out of the Navy in 1979, but never noticed the discrepancy. I saw the band open for the Rolling Stones in Anaheim Stadium, in Los Angeles on July 24, 1978. The stadium featured a large clock and I remember timing Green Grass & High Tides at a little more than twenty-five minutes. The price of the ticket was $12.50. Sadly, original members Hughie Thomasson and Frank O’Keefe, along with long-time member Billy Jones have passed away.
These photographs were shot from the fifth row at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio on February 22, 1980 during the band’s 1980/81 tour in support of their 1980 album Ghost Riders. The lineup for this show was: Hughie Thomasson, Billy Jones and Akron, Ohio native Freddie Salem on guitar & vocals, Rick Cua on bass & vocals and David Dix on drums. The price of the ticket was $8.00. One wonders if Mr. Thomasson was really an Ohio State fan, or was he merely pandering to the Buckeye faithful?
Enlarging these photographs greatly in order to edit them, I noticed something peculiar on photo number 101C that I had never noticed before. What caught my eye was the very large gap on Freddie’s Les Paul between the bottom two strings. For non-pickers, that would be the top two on his neck. I thought, that’s an awful wide gap between the low “E” and the “A” strings. Then I discovered the reason for the gap. Freddie had broken his “A” string, which you can see hanging down from the headstock.
One thing I learned how to do during this concert was to load four or five rolls of film into my camera standing on the arm rests of my seat, in the dark all the while the row of seats and probably the entire auditorium was swaying to the beat of the Florida Guitar Army, which when one thinks about it is probably not exactly an easy feat to accomplish.
Shot long ago, these photos were obviously shot on film. The 4×6 prints were then scanned onto my computer, at which time some digital adjustment was made to both the color and brightness/darkness levels. Due to the scanning process, some sharpness was lost, and as such, the images I look at online do not do justice to the original 4×6 prints. Some day, I plan to buy a film negative scanner, which hopefully will improve to overall quality of any older photo that I post online.
Steven H. Spring