The Outlaws

Dream of the West

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The first (and only) album by England's Outlaws is an enjoyable instrumental record of its time, a bit like the work of the Shadows -- indeed, "Husky Team" is about as overt an attempt to emulate "Apache" as this reviewer has heard -- but also very strange. The sound is supposedly a Western one, and the composer is credited as "Robert Duke," who was really producer Joe Meek. Meek's vision of Western music was as spacy as it was Western, and there's a sound here that does parallel the work of the Tornados, much more so than that of any Western outfit you'd care to name. The music is drenched in reverb and also has a slightly rawer edge than the Shadows' work of this era, without as much polish, but otherwise isn't terribly ambitious. The best moments recall "Tribute to Buddy Holly," and "Smoke Signals" has an element of Buddy Holly-style balladry in timbre, while "Ambush" calls to mind film music, as it might have been channeled through a Marty Robbins session of the period by way of Meek's weirdness. The lead guitarist here, incidentally, is Billy Kuy, not Ritchie Blackmore -- he wasn't to join the band (and show what it could really do) until long after the release of this album.