Epitaph – Outside the Law (1974)

Epitaph_OutsideLaw4 out of 5 Stars!

During this band’s early years, and especially on Outside the Law, the group’s third album, Epitaph seemed almost a German version of Wishbone Ash, with exceptional twin lead guitar riffs, the hint of Progressive Rock on some arrangements, and the album’s overall production/atmosphere. Indeed, I dare anyone to pay attention to the guitar arrangements on tracks such as “Reflexion,” “Big City,” “Tequila Shuffle,” or the title track itself and not hear the spirit of Wishbone Ash in every single beautiful and blazing note.

Regardless, the vocal melody lines and guitar riffs on Outside the Law are all quite catchy, the musical performances from all involved lively and amazing, and based on this collection alone—which rates as highly as the album Argus in my opinion—the band should have enjoyed the same degree of acclaim bestowed on Wishbone Ash instead of remaining in the frustrating realm of obscurity.

And oddly enough, both Argus and Outside the Law were the third albums of each band…coincidence?

Anyway, I also look upon this platter with nostalgic fondness since it brings to mind the days when Chicago had one FM station that used to have a 2-3 hour show at least one night per week called “Sounds From Across The Big Swamp.” The station broke from its normal format to feature obscure or underground bands from, despite the name of the show, both Europe and America. Through that single radio program I discovered dozens of albums I continue to cherish, and this is one of those musical treasures. Indeed, the station was so integral in my own musical enlightenment, that I used as much as I can remember of the overall concept as a template when developing my Prog-Scure radio show. If I can steer music lovers toward bands like Epitaph they may not have previously discovered, then I’ve succeeded at my job!

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