Without trying to explain the revolving door of early Outlaw band members,
the 'cliff notes' version is originally a band of four with Hughie (guitar/vocals),
Henry Paul (guitar), Frank O'Keefe (bass) and drummer Monte Yoho, added
guitarist, Billy Jones, of the Dave Graham Group in 1973. Known as the
Florida Guitar Army, the breakthrough single that introduced the world to the
band, "There Goes Another Love Song", was written by Hughie. No decent
video exists of the original band with Hughie. We offer this rare live recorded
version from the Record Plant in LA from 1976.
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The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Doobie
Brothers, The Who, The Eagles and The Rolling Stones. For true Outlaws
fans, like thew Guitar Maniacs all are, enjoy this full hour show from their
first Rockpalast appearance in 1981.
Just when things were again on the upswing for Hughie, on Sunday, September 9, 2007, Hughie went out to dinner with
his wife, Mary, went home, got comfortable in his favorite chair to watch football and then passed away from a heart
attack during a nap in his in Brooksville, Florida home, near Tampa.. He was 55. For more on Hughie, The Outlaws, then
and now, visit their official website.
Hugh Edward "Hughie" Thomasson Jr.,was born on August 13, 1952 in Tampa,
Florida. He learned the guitar as a teenager and was self-taught growing up
listening to Texas blues and country guitar riffs. He struck paydirt with his very
first band with the vision of a band that utilized Eagles-influenced harmonies
and Allman Brothers-like guitar attack,
August 13 1952 - Sept 9, 2007
Formed in Tampa in 1967, The Outlaws, known for their triple-guitar rock attack
and three-part country harmonies, was one of the first acts signed by Clive
Davis to his then-fledgling Arista Records at the urging of Ronnie Van Zant of
Lynyrd Skynyrd. He flew to Columbus, Ga., in 1974 to see the Outlaws perform
with Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Columbus Civic Center and went to the Ramada Inn
after the show and made an offer.
The Outlaws' last concert with Hughie took place Saturday, September. 8, 2007 at a casino in Nevada. The band had 15
concert dates scheduled through mid-December of this year. A final, completed album, tentatively titled Once an Outlaw,
which Thomasson produced, was about to be released. Thomasson had planned to re-release his solo album, So Low,
under the new title, Lone Outlaw.
The Outlaws disbanded again in the mid-'90s. Hughie latched on with a new
configuration of Lynyrd Skynyrd as a third guitarist from 1996 until 2005. He
added his distinctive guitar sound to Skynyrd's robust lineup and co-wrote many
of the band's later songs.
The Outlaws 1975)
Lady in Waiting (1976)
Hurry Sundown (1977)
Playin' to Win (1978)
In the Eye of the Storm (1979)
Ghost Riders (1980)
Los Hombres Malo (1982)
Soldiers of Fortune (1986)
Diablo Canyon (1994)
So Low (2000)
Once an Outlaw (TBA)
It's About Pride (2012)
Bring It Back Alive (1978)
Hittin' the Road (1993)
Extended Versions (2002)
- “Hughie and I started out together and we always found a way to stay in music as a life's work. He was a total
gettin' where we were goin' and those memories are the one's that stand out in my mind. I'll always love Flame
and I'm going to miss him.” --- Henry Paul, The Outlaws
Yes, They SaiD It...
- "His presence will be missed in the rock n roll world and by me personally.I'm glad to have had known him and
will remember many good times we spent very fondly in my heart. Ride in peace my friend and may your tides
forever be high!" --- Chris Hicks, Marshall Tucker Band
- "Hughie was a hot guitar player who only got hotter over the years, and the world has yet to hear some of the
very best work he’s ever done in the form of an unreleased album Hughie finished shortly before his death. I’ve
heard it and it’s hot. Rest in peace old friend, you know that I loved you.” --- Charlie Daniels
Shortly after, Paul again quit the band, with the remaining quartet returning
in 1993 with Hittin' the Road. While Paul resurfaced in 1994 with the
country band, Blackhawk, Thomasson toured with the re-formed Lynyrd
Skynyrd while continuing to lead the re-formed Outlaws. Here is a great
version of "Call Me the Breeze" with Hughie, Gary Rossington and Rickey
Medlocke all outdoing each other on the solos.. teeth and all!
Prior to the Playin' to Win album in 1978, both Paul and O'Keefe exited, with
guitarist Freddie Salem, bassist Harvey Dalton Arnold, and second drummer
David Dix joined the band. The lineup shuffles continued when Arnold left
after In the Eye of the Storm (1979) with bassist Rick Cua recruited for the
next year' Ghost Riders album featuring Hughie's highest charting single, the
cover of the 1948 Stan Jones song, Ghost Riders in the Sky. It reached #31
on the Billboard singles chart in 1980. (He also wrote "Long Gone" from Eye
of the Storm).
Toy Caldwell sits in with The Outlaws (1975)
In 2005,Thomasson left Skynyrd and reformed the Outlaws with drummers Yoho
and Dix, bassist Randy Threet and guitarist Chris Anderson. They toured
extensively that year, performing with the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall
Tucker Band and Dickey Betts. They even played a festival in Amsterdam with
Aerosmith, The Scorpions and Tesla. But Hughie continued to write many of
Lynyrd Skynyrd's songs including the single, "Still Unbroken" from the 2009
Skynyrd album God & Guns,
'"I used to think of us as a hard-rock version of The Eagles.' --- Hughie Thomasson about The Outlaws in an
interview with The Tampa Tribune, 1988.
Hughie (L) with Outlaw guitarist, Chris Anderson (R), 2005
However, the most widely played cut from their gold selling debut LP, The Outlaws, was the epic anthem "Green Grass
and High Tides" also written by Hughie. This 10+ minute guitar eargasm, filled with so many movements and guitar jams,
filled the entire second side of the album/ The live video even requires two parts: Parts 1 & 2. The band remained in
tact through the Lady in Waiting LP in 1976, featuring the guitar masterpiece, "Freeborn Man", and the Bill
Szymczyk-produced "Hurry Sundown in 1977. These first three albums are considered the best representation of the 40
years career of the band. The Outlaws were signed as the opening act on the Doobie Brothers' Stampede tour with
Hughie's signature Fender Strat guitar and high-pitched, searing vocals becoming the defining sound of the band.
- “If you don’t sign the Outlaws, you’re the dumbest music person I’ve ever met—and I know you’re not.”
--- Ronnie Van Zant, to Clive Davis from the stage the night in 1974 The Outlaws opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Greatest Hits Of The Outlaws:
High Tides Forever (1982)
Green Grass & High Tides (1996)
Super Hits (2009)
Yoho then left to rejoin Henry Paul and the subsequent exit of Jones left only
Hughie remained from the original group. The Outlaws sadly disbanded after
1982's Los Hombres Malo. A year later, Thomasson and Paul formed a new
Outlaws lineup, adding guitarist Chris Hicks, bassist Barry Borden, and
drummer Jeff Howell and issued Soldiers of Fortune (1986). In all, the band
has had 40 different members over their 40 year history!
The Outlaws jam with Charlie Daniel on Tour