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Cool 78 of the Month

January 2006

The Outlaws
HMV SAB 375(South Africa)
June 1961

The 1960s was the era of guitar bands and instrumental groups like the Shadows in the UK and the Ventures in the USA. From his studio at 304 Holloway, Joe Meek's touch would mould a unique instrumental sound via two groups, the Tornados and the Outlaws.

Not to be confused with the later US country rock group, Joe Meek's Outlaws first recorded for him in 1961. Joe had quite a fondness for cowboy themes in his music, and this is reflected in these recordings. The Outlaws released records on their own as well as acting as back-up musicians on many of Joe's other recording, such as Mike Berry's Tribute to Buddy Holly.

Ambush, which went to number 43 in the UK charts (HMV POP 877), was a rollicking galloping piece of cowboy guitar music that evokes all the wild west stereotypes known, from gunshots to whooping red Indian braves. One can almost envision the dusty old west of the USA in the 19th century. Whether or not Joe was a fan of Bonanza is not known. Its B-Side, Indian Brave, doesn't quite stir up the same visions, but is a goodie none the less. Both tracks were written by Meek under his pen name Robert Duke.

Far removed from the US wild west, this record made it out on 78 rpm in South Africa on EMI's His Masters Voice label, where 78's hung on in for short while into the 1960s. It remains a rare chance to sample the RGM sound on 78. No known US release on 45 is documented.

All of this would be enough to make the Outlaws collectable in and of themsleves. They continued on with Joe through 1964 as his house band and solo artists. It was in 1963 that they became super collectable with the addition of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, co-founder of Deep Purple. While he doesn't appear on this Outlaws 78, Ritchie had provided guitar work for Joe on such hits as Just Like Eddie by Heinz, so if it exists on 78, you'll hear him there.

B Side
The Outlaws
Indian Brave