by Michael Buffalo Smith
Formed in Tampa, Florida in 1972, The Outlaws featured vocalists/guitarists Hughie Thomasson Henry Paul, Billy Jones bassist Frank O'Keefe, and drummer Monte Yoho. After record mogul Clive Davis was in the audience at a show in 1974 where the band was opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd, and they became the first artists signed to Arista Records under Davis.
The Outlaws shared some similarities with other Southern Rock bands of the day, not the least of which was the sound of twin lead guitars, but they also had their own totally unique sound that blended country and rock. Their use of three and four part harmonies set them apart from other bands who usually relied on a single lead vocalist.
Hughie Thomasson's signature voice and guitar playing style was the perfect compliment to Billy Jones’ lead.
The records released by the band between 1975 and 1980 are considered by most to be their best while the albums released after 1980 are largely viewed as moving away from their true magic and style. The reworking of the western-styled "Ghost Riders" in 1980 was the band's last hit, although the band released two more records in 1982 and 1986.
By the end of the 1980s Thomasson became the final original member of the band, later bringing in Chris Hicks on second lead guitar. Albums such as Diablo Canyon (1994) were released on smaller independent record labels,
By the late 1990. Thomasson had accepted a position in Lynyrd Skynyrd. This essentially sidelined the Outlaws for a decade.
Former member Henry Paul went on to form the country band Blackhawk, which had some chart success in the 1990's.
In April 2005, Original members Hughie Thomasson, Henry Paul, Monte Yoho,and David Dix reunited as The Outlaws and the rest of the lineup was filled out with former guitarist Chris Anderson, bassist Randy Threet, and Dave Robbins on keyboards.The two originals not included in the lineup, guitarist Billy Jones and bassist Frank O' Keefe, had both died in 1995 within weeks of each other. O' Keefe died of a drug overdose, and Jones commited suicide, shortly after.
Paul and Robbins left to resume their careers in Blackhawk in early 2006, but the remaining band continued on. They were part of the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam tour in the summer of 2007.
Hughie Thomasson died on September 9, 2007 of a heart attack in Brooksville Florida. Release plans are yet to be announced for the new studio album, Once an Outlaw, that was finished before Thomasson’s death.
In late 2007 Henry Paul recorded an album with Jimmy Hall, Dan Toler and others called Brothers of the Southland, named for one of Henry;s song titles from Blackhawk,
In December 2007, 2008 Outlaws dates were released. As of January 15th, 2008, only Henry Paul, Monte Yoho and Former Henry Paul Band guitarist Billy Crain have been confirmed for the new lineup.
* Outlaws (1975)
* Lady in Waiting (1976)
* Hurry Sundown (1977)
* Bring It Back Alive (1978)
* Playin' to Win (1978)
* In the Eye of the Storm (1979)
* Ghost Riders (1980)
* Los Hombres Malo (1982)
* Soldiers of Fortune (1986)
* Hittin' the Road Live! (1993)
* Diablo Canyon (1994)
* So Low (1999)
* Once An Outlaw (Completed, but not yet released.)
* Hughie Thomasson, guitar, vocals (member from 1972 - 2007)
* Monte Yoho, drums
* David Dix, drums
* Chris Anderson, guitar, vocals
* Randy Threet, bass guitar, guitar, vocals
* Billy Jones, guitarist, vocalist (former member, died in 1995)
* Frank O'Keefe, bass guitar (former member, died in 1995)
* Henry Paul, guitarist, vocalist (former member)
* Harvey Dalton Arnold, bass guitar, vocals (former member)
* Freddie Salem, guitarist, vocalist (former member)
* Steve Grisham, guitarist, vocalist (former member)
* Rick Cua, bassist, vocalist, pianist, (former member)
* Barry "B. B." Borden, drummer (former member)
* Chris Hicks, guitarist (former member)
* Mike Varney, guitar (former member)
* Jeff Howell, bass guitar, vocals (former member)
The Legends of Southern Rock Series