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Outlaw Country

This remarkable documentary on the music which goes by several names - New Country, Progressive Country, Outlaw Music - but which has its roots in classic country music, was ready for release in 1976, but has yet to receive proper distribution in this country. In 1977, it was a feature entry at the Berlin Film Festival where it was described as “a sensitive documentary account of the new Country-and-Western scene in the States. Szalapski, who got to know musicians like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and David Allan Coe at a time when they were still part of the ‘underground' of country music, traces this type of music back to its popular origins, interviews some of the old-timers, and contrasts scenes from Nashville concerts and recording studios with images of the people for whom this music is still an organic part of their everyday lives.

“Working as his own cameraman on the film, Szalapski avoids the frenetic, zooming camera movements that are a regrettable part of many recent music films, and in a series of calm images allows the music and the people to speak for themselves.”

Aside from the above-mentioned names, Outlaw Country presents fascinating profiles of the following personalities and performers: “Uncle” Seymour Washington, a Black Texas blacksmith; Barefoot Jerry, performing “Two Mile Pike”; the Charlie Daniels Band, performing “Texas” before a packed crowd in Motlow, Tennessee; Steve Young, performing “Alabama Highway”; and Big Mack MacGowan. In perhaps the most extraordinary sequence in the film, David Allan Coe (an ex-convict himself, frequently cited as Nashville's number one outlaw) appears in concert at the Tennessee State Penitentiary.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.