A couple of years ago I just happened to bump into Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson at Hellfest for the briefest of chats following the band’s blistering set on the festival’s main stage. He let it slip to me that the line up (albeit minus the stand-in drummer at the time) would soon be hitting the studio to record the first Tatts album since 2007’s ‘Blood Brothers’ and I must admit that at that point my inner Rose Tattoo fan did do a little fist pump.
As 2019 drew to a close I then happened upon the fact that said album was finally due to be released in early March 2020 and it would be entitled ‘Outlaws’, BUT as a rockin’ amigo of mine was quick to point out…whilst it may be a new album it wasn’t really new material being recorded. That’s because ‘Outlaws’ is the band’s SEMINAL ten track debut record re-recorded complete with three bonus tracks; songs originally written during that era but not originally on the debut.
On learning this my initial gut reaction I must admit was to holler ”WWWWHHHHHYYYYY?” I mean how can you improve something that is already perfect?
Winding my neck in for a minute and recalling having once seen a Rose Tattoo show at Dudley JBs where Angry (suitably refreshed, due to it being his birthday) totally reworked the vocals on most of the band’s back catalogue, I was now more than just a little bit intrigued to see what this would sound like. Plus, when you also factor in this line up now also boasts the talents of Mark Evans (ex-AC/DC) on bass, (ex-Skyhooks and The Angels) guitarist Bob Spencer, slide guitar player Dai Pritchard (who had been hand-picked by the legendary Pete Wells to replace him not long before he passed away from cancer) along with (Jimmy Barnes’ son) Jackie Barnes now behind the kit, it must at least be a half-decent record right?
Well, yes of course it is, not least because it’s well recorded, the performances are tight (albeit Angry does a bit AWOL on a couple of tracks, not least the “ahem” bluesy love song ‘Rosetta’ where he kind of vocally jams around the tune – let’s not forget he is 72 though), and as I mentioned above a few of the classic tracks do get some fresh air in their lungs (especially a bruising ‘Remedy’ and an almost Faces-like take of ‘Snow Queen’ which are both excellent) thanks to this great line up of the band.
HOWEVER, then when it suddenly sinks in that (if you live in the UK) it’s going to cost you £30 plus just to own ‘Outlaws’ on limited edition coloured vinyl or £15 on CD I come to the collusion that I’ll probably just stick with the much cheaper option of simply streaming it (and that’s the platform I’m reviewing this from here), as its most certainly not as one Amazon reviewer insanely claimed “better than the original”.
‘Outlaws’ is still very much a decent Rose Tattoo album though; it’s just that it feels more like one of those bonus discs reformed stadium rock bands recorded when they released new material. You know that limited bonus “hits” disc to try and attract older lapsed fans back into buying new music once again. So, as such ‘Outlaws’ is something of a disappointment, especially after the quality ‘Pain’ and ‘Blood Brothers’ records that preceded it.
Who was it again that said “always trust your gut reaction?”
Buy ‘Outlaws’ Here
Author: Johnny Hayward