Ramblin' Man Preview: Ginger's Guide To Outlaw Country

Jason And The Scorchers made me want to leave home. There were no opportunities for anyone in South Shields back in the eighties, where they’d closed the shipyards and the coal mines. It was a very depressing place. I was washing dishes in a pizza shop, thinking there has to be a better life than this.

“I went home, put on the TV, and Jason And The Scorchers were on The Old Grey Whistle Test, playing Broken Whiskey Glass and White Lies. They dared to mix country and punk, two genres that I was in love with. And that changed everything. I never went back to my job. I went out later that night with such a feeling of invigoration, met this cute girl and moved to London with her the next day. I was so full of this spirit that Jason And The Scorchers had given me, this kick up the arse with their size-nine cowboy boots.

“To me, outlaw country was that wayward, restless spirit come to life. I went to London and discovered the Long Ryders, the Del Fuegos, Hoodoo Gurus and Lone Justice. There were so many bands who were taking the Flying Burrito Brothers blueprint and just mixing it with whisky and speed. It didn’t even have a map, it sounded like it was from anywhere and everywhere. When I was a kid it was jail, crime, drugs or music, and I had that option. The touchpaper was lit by Jason And The Scorchers for me. A lot of outlaws would’ve gone the other way had it not been for music, everyone from Waylon Jennings to Kris Kristofferson. Music saved all those fuckers’ lives.

“Waylon’s son Shooter is on the bill at Ramblin’ Man. I’m glad that outlaw spirit still exists and it’s there for a new generation. It’s the same with Steve Earle’s son, Justin Townes Earle. Hayseed Dixie are playing Ramblin’ Man too. There’s nothing wrong with parody if it’s done with love for the music. And that’s exactly what Hayseed Dixie are doing. They’re incredible musicians who are obviously massive lovers of every genre of music that they touch upon, be it Rick Springfield or AC/DC. And they do a fucking brilliant job. I love Hayseed Dixie, and anyone who has a problem with that needs to fucking lighten up and either go get drunk or get laid.”

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.