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Dana Strand <email@example.com> (26.06.2000)
I''ve been reading your reviews of the Free albums and found them very interesting. But you missed their live album. I remember in high school two of my favorite albums were Fire and Water and Live. I didn't know much about them at the time, they were just another rock band from the UK, on the heels of The Pie, Zep, Trower, Sabbath, etc. I must have played those two until they were almost worn out. Years ago when CD's came into being, I got rid of most of my LP's. My turntable broke about the same time. Slowly I've been replacing a lot of those records on disc. I saw Fire and Water in a used CD shop and snatched it up. I think it's as good today and it was then, maybe better. Last week I found Heartbreaker. I used to have it on 8 Track tape. From what I remembered it was an OK album, and thats still what I think of it. It sounds like a preview of Bad Co. Paul Rogers could front any band and be good, as he's gone on to do. Kossoff sounds like he was propped up and told when to play. Maybe he phoned it in, or was Jones'in at the time, but he's not all there. Not knowing about his smack problem, that explaines it. There's a lot of piano. A whole lot of piano. Now I know why. Kossoff needed Andy Fraser. Those two fed of each other and were great together. What happened to Fraser. He's not mentioned on Heartbreaker at all. And Kossoff has writing credits for 'Wishing Well', but by the liner notes doesn't play on it? What happened to Fraser? He had to be one of the best Bass players of the day. Tetsu plays on Heartbreaker. I first heard of him on the last of the Faces tours. He better keep his day job. I did see Free once. I saw them on the Heartbreaker tour at Winterland in SF. I was rudely supprised and disappointed to see some black guitar player in Kossoff's place. He did an OK job, but he wasn't Kossoff. I don't know where he was at the time. Maybe in the ally shooting his Craller cover.
collins.invercargill <firstname.lastname@example.org> (27.08.2000)
Well I've goto to blame you for this one George. Here I was blissfully ignorant about Free except for a couple of tracks, 'Wishing Well' and of course, 'All right Now'. Then I go and read your Free reviews and now I'm out buying their music. For some reason I can't remember Free passed me right by in the 60s/70s. a big fan of P Green's F Mac, Cream and Taste but some how never connected with Paul Rogers and company. I'm lucky enough to have a friend who is a huge Free/Rogers fan and he still has all his original lps(unlike some of us idiots who sold them all of and now have to try and find them again) so I borrowed 3 records that I thought would give me a fair overview of their history, Fire and Water, Highway and Live.Well I listened and listened and to be honest for some time I was very tempted to agree with you and call them third rate, there didn't seem to be any excitement with their sound compared to some of their contempories , the most obvious examples being the Who and led Zeppelin both of course using a similar line up. Where the difference comes is in the spaces that surround most of Free's songs. The Who especially sound busy even frantic at times with Moons druming and Townhends rhythm/lead guitar style but the Free sound is more laid back with Kossoff using a more true lead style that leaves more gaps in the sound. I'm not explaining this very well , but what it adds up to is that Free are less in your face and perhaps need more time and listening to appreciate their better points. What finally connected for me was the live version of Fire and Water when it clicked. Sure Paul Rogers isn't rocks greatest vocalist but I have to agree that at this stage he was preferable to Robert Plant( I feel Plants best work is on 'No Quarter' and some of his later solo work, at least he's stopped squeezing his bloody lemon). If most of the Brit blues/rock bands at this time owed most to Chess I would say the Free's influences seem to come more from Stax/atlantic. Like any band there's filler and rubbish on the albums I borrowed,although the Live one is pretty good,so a compromise seemed to be with a compilation and rather than lash out for the new Songs of Yesterday I got a copy of Molten Gold a 2cd anthology issued about 1992/3. It includes tracks from all their albums plus a acouple from Kossoff's first solo album.
After several listens I'm very happy with it and especially the 3 live tracks, 'Fire and Water', 'Ride on Poney' and 'Mr Big', in fact plenty of diamonds and not very much dross. When you think of some of the crap that came later in the 70s that claimed their influences from these original Brit blues bands they start to sound very good indeed. I think they deserve their one star George and I've got to say thanks for getting me into another good band, I see that they're reissuing most of the Taste albums in britain now so that could be the start of another shopping spree.
Shelley Klukiewicz <email@example.com> (28.08.2000)
If you want to get a true gem of a recording, get the Songs of Yesterday five c.d. set just released. It has a hefty price tag, but worth every cent and more.I became a Free fan after already being a fan of Bad Co. for years.I was turned on(literally) to Free by my husband, I was interested in any band that had Paul Rodgers at the helm.Needlss to say, I was hooked and it is a sad testimony to music that such an unbelievable collection of talent wasn't recognized as such.All of Free's members put many of today's "stars" to shame.My husband and I go to our country cottage on the weekend, put the kids to bed,put on Songs of Yesterday and procede to get blown away every time.I love their passion,their pure raw sensuality(mainly thanks to Mr. Rodgers)and their believe it or not, somewhat innocent way of putting deep powerful feelings into words.It is so hard to believe that ones so young could write like that.Long live their memory.
Mark Blakemore <MarkBlakemore@hotmail.com> (21.02.2001)
Emmm.....I really like Free. Post the taste abberation that was my Queen collection when I was about 15, Free was the first band that made me go scouring reccord shops trying to get everything they had recorded quick without spending all the proceeds of my Saturday job in one go. 13 or so years on they are a band I continually revisit and enjoying listening to.
I know voices are subjective but if I could really sing I would want to sing like one of 3 people - Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye or Paul Rodgers. I don't think theres a better voice in rock. He can roar and grunt with the best of them and can sing his way around the blues or a ballad.
As for the rest of the band I feel that Simon Kirk and Paul Kossoff are indeed far from virtuoso but they are solid. Also, although Kossoff was essentially a chicago style blues player, he still seemed to hit the heights when the song fitted his groove - think the solo in 'Songs of yesterday ' - probably my favourite song. He is also a player with a pure tone - I don't recall any tracks were his electric tone was particularly processed or varied. I think he was a determined purist - probably due to his conversion to the blues following a John Mayall gig featuring Eric Clapton. Interestingly he was actually classically trained.
However I really rate Andy Fraser as an inventive and melodic Bass guitarist with an original, tight and R and B based feel. His playing really drive their better tracks along and perhaps suggest that the basslines may have been at the basis of their songwriting structures. His bass playing really came to the fore on his two following solo albums with the excitingly named 'Andy Fraser Band' - the first of which is a guitarless power trio - with effect laden bass, keyboards and drums. His choice of instrument also probably allowed him to stretch out - he used a short -scaled bass that is ideal for fast runs and solos.
I think Free also found the acolades and trappings of their early fame hard to handle - Andy Fraser I think was 16 on their first album and the rest of the band were around 18 or 19 too. Sensitive soul that Kossoff was - he never really pulled himself out of his drug haze following the death of Jimi Hendrix and ironically was clean when he had a heart attack fronting the newly signed Back Street Crawler Band.
I think there overall rating of one is a little low....as you mentioned there may have been the prototype for the whole heavy bluesy - kind of rock movement in the following years - all the way through to the less than admirable 'Spin doctors' and 'Black Crows'. I also think there first 3 albums are a great mix of stripped down rock , soul and blues. I'd personally give him a 3 (personal bias I suspect! ) or atleast a 2 on your scale. [That has since been fixed - G.S.]
Debra Manslow <Debra.Manslow2@tesco.net> (03.07.2001)
I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE YOUR COMMENTS!- YOU SAT THAT 'LOVE YOU SO' IS "ESPECIALLY DISGUSTING" WITH "NO TRULY EMOTIONAL POWER" AND ACCUSE PAUL RODGERS OS "WHINING" ON 'SOON I WILL BE GONE'
I'VE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT TO TRULY APPRECIATE THE SHEER GENIUS OF FREE YOU NEED TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO APPRECIATE THE GREAT DEPTHS OF PURE FEELING AND SOUL IN THEIR MUSIC.
PAUL RODGERS VOICE IS PERFECTION- ONE OF THE VERY FEW VOCALISTS WHO NEVER EVER DROP A NOTE(AND THAT INCLUDES LIVE PERFORMANCES)
BigBazAM5 <firstname.lastname@example.org> (03.07.2001)
i think free were the best rock band to come out of england and you are a bit of a tosser
Nicholas Rogerson <email@example.com> (07.02.2002)
Free, in my opinion, were a vastly talented band, producing really emotional music. They are too often written off due to their low reputation and lack of commercial succcess, very unfairly. You don't seem to be the greatest fan off Paul Rodgers, but I can't see why. He does not miss notes, and has one of the best voices in rock music. You seem to compare him unfavourably with Rod Stewart. I hope I have got the wrong end of the stick because there is no contest. Paul Rodgers wins hands down. You suggest that Paul Kossoff is merely sound and a little above average. Again he suffers by virtue of the fact that he has quite a low profile. I am 16 and have listened to all the great guitarists, Hendrix, Clapton, Beck etc. but I prefer listening to Koss over these guys. THis is because I think he is the most emotional guitarist I have heard. By this I mean that he manages to convey, very powerfully, his feelings and emotions through his playing. His heart-wrenching vibrato style is captivating. Oh, and it is not a legend that Eric Clapton consulted Koss as regards his fine vibrato. This happened on the Blind Faith-Free tour of America in 1969. This is an example of how highly regarded a guitarist he was among his contemporaries.
You are right on one count at least. That Andy Fraser was a fine bassist for Free. I would agree. However he does not deserve a 'bigger band' as you put it, because Free themselves were great. His playing on 'Mr Big' and 'Lady' are superb. Simon Kirke was a steady drummer, although not knowing knowing much about this field, I can't say anymore.
'Heavy Load' is NOT a pretentious song. As with everything Free did, it is incredibly emotional and sincere. If you are looking for pretentious you should start with Thick As A Brick by Jethro Tull and in particular their frontman Ian Anderson whose melodramatic baritone is truly disgusting. Oh, and he also stifled Martin Barre, who had the potential to be an excellent guitarist.
Finally I don't think there is much filler at all on Free albums, and I have them all. An outstanding and committed band like Free do not go in for half-hearted efforts
Free released material when they were in their late teens. Music that would put 'great' music of today, produced by older musicians to shame. They are truly inspiring to me and many of my contemporaries. Their material has not aged.
Clanmac <firstname.lastname@example.org> (25.10.2002)
Having read your comments about Free I confess to being a bit surprised. I was in a 2nd division band around that time and I and most of the musicians around both in Scotland and England were influenced quite amazingly by this band. Main reason I think was the style of their music tended to be slow and strong. I'm fairly sure that the word heavy was coined because of their style.
The drumming was very very different and Paul Rodgers singing was perfectly complemented by Paul Kossof's intelligent guitar playing.
They certainly started a style of music which I suppose was summed up by 'All right now' which was very very commercial and catchy but not as good as 'evil woman', etc.
I had never really heard of the band Free before as i am only a teenager but i had heard the song 'All Right Now'. My Dad has their album the best of Free All Right Now and after listening to it a couple of times I now really like their style of music. I would just like to correct you though that Paul Kossoff died of a heart attack in 1976 on a plane journey to New York. I agree with you when you say that Andy Fraser was the most talented as he was very young when he joined Free and his instrumental playing was , well there's no other word for it, class. Thank you for informing me on Free's other albums, i have enjoyed reading your review.
Adrian Powell <email@example.com>(11.05.2004)
Firstly, let me say how enjoyable and interesting I have found your site; it has certainly driven me back to my CD collection to rediscover some gems (Nazareth, Procol to name but two).
I am however, moved to write to you about Free because I think you are rather unfair in several respects to the group Al Kooper has referred to as 'The greatest band that ever lived'. To nail my colours to the mast, I have been a lifelong fan since buying the 'Free' album in '72. I saw Koss play with Back Street Crawler and have seen Rodgers perform a few times, most memorably with Geoff Whitehorn on guitar and a great British rhythm section in a tiny club in London (The Borderline, capacity 250 if you all breathe in). It was a brilliant show and far better than the rather plodding band featuring Neal Schon with which he toured.
Anyway, a few points to add to your analysis; firstly, this was not an unsuccessful band. All were rich by the time they were 21, they had real success as a live and recording band in the UK, throughout Europe and in Japan and Australia. They needed more time and a better strategy to get across in the States, as Chris Blackwell (Island Records boss who remains a big fan) states. They had hit singles apart from 'All Right Now' in 'My Brother Jake', 'Little Bit Of Love' and 'Wishing Well'. All three are superb singles - 'MBJ' is to be found on Free Live, one of the seminal live albums of any era - seek it in the expanded version; all the albums are available in remastered, expanded form and have never been out of print in the UK. Here, Free are far more revered than Bad Co.
I also disagree with you about the lyrics to 'Wishing Well' which are about Koss and very poignant; all band members loved Koss and still mention him in just about every interview to this day. He was the most emotive, soulful player ever and like Peter Green just had a magic touch which even the great blues players respected.
As you say, Andy was one of the greatest ever bass players with a unique, funky style. He was also a child prodigy on piano, playing since the age of 5; the subtle keyboard additions to the 'Fire And Water' album are his, as are the more extensive keyboard embellishments to the superb, pastoral 'Highway' - 'Be My Friend' is stunning and a band high point to most fans. The restraint of Koss' solo at the end building up to those 4 notes of expressive passion...the 'strings' are a mellotron, by the way. Listen to the live 'Be My Friend' or watch it on the Free video from the Isle Of Wight - still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up to see and hear the tightest band I have ever heard play to and for each other as well as to that huge crowd.
I won't argue with your definitions of 'filler', wildly wrong though I think they are. You do have a point about the tempos but just think about that sly, edge-of-funk pacing of 'The Stealer', the space in 'Mr Big', the way that Koss and Rodgers gave each other space and built up each other's sections to build the intensity (the end of the magnificent 'Heavy Load').
It is high time someone mentioned Simon Kirke, one of the great rock drummers, powerful, never flashy but always just right, great drum sounds (eg on the track 'Fire & Water' and 'Can't Get Enough') - yes, and their influence was the Stax house band with the equally great Al Jackson Jr on skins. This is soulful playing.
There is a website - www.allrightnow.com, a 'Free Appreciation Society' fanzine (no I don't run it!) and an excellent book by David Clayton (he does) and Todd Smith. Rodgers is a successful solo artist, Fraser has written for Frankie Miller, Robert Palmer (sadly missed too) and Joe Cocker amongst others and lives in the States; Simon Kirke has played with Frankie Miller, various incarnations of Bad Co and with Ringo's All Starrs. Free songs have been covered by Rod Stewart (who was always a big Rodgers fan by the way, the Faces used to cover 'The Stealer' and Rod would tell audiences to buy Free's music), Gary Moore, Paul Young, Gov't Mule and various others. Koss played some superb sessions for Martha Velez and Jim Capaldi/Muscle Shoals, amongst others. There was a 'Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu, Rabbit' album with some breathtaking guitar and the Kirke original version of 'Anna' (poorly covered by Bad Co ! as you point out).
Hell, sorry to go on but this was one great band with soul, swing, fire and passion. Treasure 'em, even in retrospect. We won't see their like again.
michael tzavellas <firstname.lastname@example.org> (02.09.2006)
FREE were a band different to any other.Sure they were blues/soul/rock but they did it with more feeling then any other band.Remember these were teenagers when they began and just into their 20's when it ended.You dont listen to FREE,you feel FREE.All Right Now was their fastest song,yet it is about mid tempo and is all about the groove,Their songs were slower then most bands of a similiar genre but more powerful.They played less, creating spaces that emphasised emotion.It wasnt only what they said but how they said it.FREE are revered much more then you realise.Im only 38 and never saw them play,but they are the sound i have been searching for.FREE's music is primative yet it transcends time. ps;some of the catagories that you gave to bands are shocking
Christina DeGailler <email@example.com> (02.07.2001)
Mr. Starostin, I respect the fact that it is your job being a "music critic" (it's not my job - G.S.), but when you are off, way off, about something, I am thrilled that you give people a chance to respond (coming from a 17 year old FREE listener). "I can't call it a 'blistering debute', but I certainly heard worse debutes", WOW!! Those are pretty strong words coming from a person who gave them an 8 out of 10 (THEM? whom THEM? I gave THEM a 2 out of 5 - G.S.). Tons of Sobs was a no messing around, rawest of the raw, blues-rock albums I ever heard. That album was FREE. That album introduced them to the world. With Paul Rodgers exuding sex in every note he hits, Paul Kossoff's hipnotizing riffs, and Andy Fraser's sexy bass playing is the heart beat keeping the song alive, and Simon Kirke's drumming, with all emotion carrying the songs to the very end, shows that it is THE BEST debute album ever made in my opinion. The reason why, I think, you like "Worry" the best is because that song, ripping its way through "Over the Green Hills" blew your mind (I know because it blew mine, too). You are right, "Worry" is the best song on the lp, because to me, it gave attitude to the album. "Walk in My Shadow" and "Wild Indian Woman" shows the "cocky" spirit they had, and it also shows that it is A MALE DOMINATED WORLD, BEST KEEP IT THAT WAY!! And that is why I love this album. GREAT music, over talented people, Paul Kossoff, Andy Fraser, Simon Kirke, and Paul Rodgers. This is FREE at their best. Thank you.
Fuzzy Star <firstname.lastname@example.org> (26.04.2003)
In my opinion by far the best free album, i don't feel it's to bad a review until you get to the most obscene comment i have ever read:
"a thoroughly generic, unnecessary eight-minute ramble ('Goin' Down Slow')" - are you joking? this is in my opinion second only to since i've been loving you (Zeppelin). Go and "listen" to it again, that ramble is one hell of a ramble.
Also in respect to Highway, it has to be the 2nd best free album (except live) stuff like Bodie and ride a pony are brilliant and sunny day is soo beautiful, he as you put it "whines" very very well through this album...
Christina DeGailler <email@example.com> (07.07.2001)
Mr. Starostin, I have read your review on TONS OF SOBS and FREE, and so far they have been somewhat agreeable.
You are right, "All right Now" does NOT mean that FREE is 'hard rock'. I'm so happy you mentioned that. To me the album FREE was yet another extraordinary achievement. "I'll Be Creepin'", "Trouble on Double Time" and of course "Woman" STILL shows that "cocky" spirit that FREE has. But, unfortunately, there is a bad song on that LP. A lot of people are going to hate what I'm going to say because, sadly enough, a lot of people really like this song, including yourself, Mr. Starostin. Here it goes, "Mourning Sad Morning", I was about ready to take a plunge off a bridge, but on the plus side, it was lyricly good. I don't know how you can say that "Broad Daylight" had done nothing but mar the band's reputation, that is so off the wall!! It bewilders me how you got that assumption. "Broad Daylight was, and always will be, a GREAT song, one of FREE's best accomplishments. "Mouthfull of Grass" was a well done song. It was composed beautifully, just like "Lying in the Sunshine"(maybe better). Andy Fraser, this album was his time to shine, giving all of us a taste of his classic bass lines in that whole album. Unlike most bass players, Andy Fraser's playing poured out the feeling to each song. Either it was up beat, dark, or seductively slow. Andy Fraser is in a world of his own, NO ONE can touch him. This album was the starting point of the Fraser/Rodgers writing talent. I have always said Fraser/Rodgers were like the Lennon/ McCartney phenomenon. I'm not saying that Fraser/Rodgers are as talented as Lennon/McCartney were but, hell yeah, they were damn good. I WISH that they would write together again in the near future. Thank you.
Nicholas Rogerson <firstname.lastname@example.org> (04.03.2002)
I agree that Andy Fraser's playing on 'Mr Big' is something else, just superb. However you say that Paul Kossoff is just playing muffled power chords during the mid section. Preceeding Andy Fraser's solo part is a quite brilliant Paul Kossoff solo. why did you not mention this too? Perhaps it doesn't appear on the studio version as i only have the live version. This is the Free live Cd which is well worth getting. I personally think 'Fire and Water' is Free's finest moment, the rhythm section is just great. I agree that other than the big three, there is filler, but i quite like 'Oh i Wept' and the others are quite enjoyable for a Free devotee such as myself. Incidentally Free played the Isle of Wight Festival on the back of the success of 'All Right Now' and this album.
Glenn Wiener <email@example.com> (31.03.2004)
A strong record from start ot finish. Some compelling riffs on the title track and how about those catchy hooks on the classic 'All Right Now'? However the restis pretty good. 'Heavy Load' is a great low key blues tune and 'Mr. Big' features the band showing off their instrumental prowess. What an ultra cool bass solo in the middle with Paul Kosoff playing some meandering guitar solos. And PaulRodgers, vocals are just out of sight.
Tagbo Munonyedi <firstname.lastname@example.org> (22.03.2006)
A few years ago, I was at this wedding and the bride and groom, after they signed the register, literally stepped out of the church building to " All right now " ( the groom was a bit of a, actually alot of a free - k ) . That first drum beat was their first step and it was really moving, the way they did that. Few people there liked hard rock ( now I think of it, they walked in to Sting's 'Fields of gold' ) or even pop but many thought walking out to " All right now " was quite a novel touch coz there had been so much opposition to the wedding ( the groom was a White South African, the bride Black and this tweaked a few people ). It was well received. Then while everyone was at the front, taking photos and chatting, the sound engineer had forgotten to turn off the tape or CD and suddenly, over the speakers comes " OH ! I'M CARRYING A HEAVY LOAD......" to the sad sounds of that song. And then straight after that comes " FIRE AND WATER MUST'VE MADE YOU THEIR DAUGHTER / YOU'VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES / TO MAKE A POOR MAN'S HEART BREAK / AND MY HEART IS BREAKING !! " No one could understand why I couldn't stop laughing. Not exactly wedding material. It is an interesting album in bits. Personally I think HEAVY LOAD is one of the best Free tracks, deliberately ponderous with a fantastic piano solo that is the tearjerker par excellence, followed by a delicious atmospheric bit of guitar from the late Mr Kossoff. If it is gospel - ish it must be trying to be one of those 'Lord don't move that mountain' type songs that sound thoroughly depressing but are in fact a source of encouragement and strength. On their next album, they do a rewrite of this called " Be my friend ". Warning; do not play these two together if you're feeling hopelessly despairing. " All right now " is a track it took me years to like, though I quite like it now. When they say it was written to order, almost, I believe them ! The title track is superb, as pessimistic as it is ( actually, quite a bit of this album is pessimistic and miserable ), it's unforgettable. Good lyrics that scan really rhythmically, great sparse but tight playing and a truly catchy chorus....the only thing that spoils it for me is that ending. The way Charlie Watts ends " Dandelion " with some freestyle drumming, now that's the way to do it. That aside, it's a classic. MR BIG is a track that seems to have little going for it. It starts off as a lazy, average number that is ok and little more with an ok refrain. Then they get to the solo and suddenly, it becomes the best rock example of a bass solo ever, rivalled only by Roger Glover on ' Pictures of home' and the bass player's one from Help's 'Dear Lord' [ they were an early 70s Grand Funk type heavy band from the US of A, but better ] and brilliant as they both are, neither goes beyond about 30 seconds - this one seems to last not quite forever ( mind you, the live one does ) but for quite a while. And Andy Fraser sustains interest from beginning to end in a way that almost every jazz and jazz fusion bass virtuoso that I've heard solo just does not. You can follow this solo. You can hum it ! And this transforms MR BIG into one sensational piece. The rest of the album can be filed under " Landfill fodder " I'm sad to say. But those big four are worth the money if you can get it cheap.
Graham Giles <email@example.com> (25.07.2000)
Great site, but I couldn't disagree more about "SIWBG", which I think is an absolutely sublime track and a strong contender for the best blues ballad of all time. I get shivers down my spine just thinking about it, never mind playing it again! If there was ever a better description in song of the finality of breaking up, I haven't heard it.
David Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org> (27.07.2000)
George- I have not read all of the Free reviews yet on your website, but I am listening to Songs of Yesterday, the new Free Box and am blown away- Fire and Water and Highway are exceptional albums. I would agree that their stuff got less bluesy as things went along, but I would not agree that that was bad. In fact, I think that Highway is one of the greatest Rock records ever recorded. Also, in no way is this a country-rock album. Where did that come from? Free is about as country as Deep Purple. If you want every song to sound like "The Stealer", then I am sure that you would be disappointed. Your take on the album makes no sense to me.
[Special author note: Highway is definitely a country rock album if one regards, for instance, the Band as country rock. Okay, country-folk-rock, if you wish to distinguish it from, say, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. As for Deep Purple - anyone remember 'Anyone's Daughter'?]
Shelley Klukiewicz <email@example.com> (28.08.2000)
Please, please, you didn't put down"Be My Friend" did you?That is one of my all time favorites.And please don't say Paul Rodgers whines, he has a remarkable voice, he doesn't and never did have to try to copy anyone, Rod Stewart, you are kidding right.Any singer out there today or yesterday should "whine" so well as Paul.
Nicholas Rogerson <firstname.lastname@example.org> (14.01.2003)
I can fully understand your opinions regarding this album. It is a lesser album than Fire And Water, which I incidentally think is a much better album than you do. Anyway there are a number of reasons which may explain why Highway doesn't hit the same highs. Firstly, and most importantly, where is the blues? This band excelled at interpreting blues and adding some hardness and their own emotions. Fire And Water was a bluesy album and went to number 2 in the UK album charts. Surely this should have stopped them from virtually dropping the blues?
Secondly there is not enough rock on this album, and so there is less guitar. I know you do not hold Kossoff to be the guitarist I think he is, however surely you would agree with me that he was crucial to their sound? It is no coincidence that the three best tracks - 'The Stealer', 'The Highway Song' and 'Ride On A Pony' - all feature Kossoff prominently and have rock at their core, and some bluesy feeling too. Rodgers and Fraser liked The Band and country rock. However they should not have sacrificed those elements which had made them into a fine band. Incidentally, they particularly irked Kossoff by teaching him all of his parts.
Having said all of this, and recognising this album's flaws, I still like this album. I am often in a loose, relaxed mood, and this album is very enjoyable when I am in this state. I can see that this album would not be suited to any other mood. I really do enjoy listening to Andy Fraser's sparkling and imaginative bass work on the album. This really does make the album much more interesting. This is not a good album to listen to as your first Free album, as it is not representative of the band's roots. You are more or less right in your review, but i cannot help but put this CD on from time to time.
John Curley <email@example.com> (07.09.2001)
I don't doubt that you are intimately familiar with the sound and feel of bleeding sheep , but your ears have apparently been damaged from too much bleating. 'Soldier Boy' and 'Guardian of the Universe' are two of the greatest songs in rock. When you can whine like Rodgers, let me know so I can buy your album.
John Curley <firstname.lastname@example.org> (07.09.2001)
I don't doubt that you have made many sheep bleed, but your ears have apparently been damaged from too much bleating. 'Soldier Boy' and 'Guardian of the Universe' are two of the greatest songs in rock. When you can whine like Rodgers, let me know so I can buy your album.
[Special author note: it is true that these two comments arrived immediately following one another and are NOT an error on the page. Apparently, the author wanted to play the 'spot ten differences' game.]
Nicholas Rogerson <email@example.com> (03.03.2002)
First off, it's worth mentioning that Free reformed to produce this album, in a noble bid to get Paul Kossoff off drugs, as it was Free's initial break up that sent him down the drugs road. This may well explain the dark mood of the album, as Fraser, Rodgers and Kirke soon realised that this was not going to achieve its aim. The three of them were very devoted to Koss, so it must have hurt them to see him in this state. A lot of the songs on the album, i find to be very powerful, when you bear this state of affairs in mind. 'Goodbye' written by Fraser, is just that, as this is his final album with the band, and it seems to me that he is saying goodbye to Koss. There is an air of resigned acceptance about the song if you listen to the lyrics. Koss' playing is very good on the album and i disagree with your comments about 'Travellin' Man'. I think it is a great song, as too is the excellent 'Sail On' and the catchy 'Catch A Train'. I would say however, that to really fully appreciate and enjoy the album, you need to know the climate and situation it was written in.
Shelley Klukiewicz <firstname.lastname@example.org> (28.08.2000)
You know I was just fooling around and found your page, this is my third entry to you tonite, my last it's late. Anyway, I agree, Heartbreaker is an excellent album.My favorite track is the title one.It just so totally cooks.You must understand from a woman's point of view, I do love Paul Rodgers singing and writing ability, he has gotten even better with age, but on this album,that song, with that riff behind him,beyond sexy,beyond hot,just mind-boggling.I enjoyed rambling on about Free, thanks for the chance.
Nicholas Rogerson <email@example.com> (13.06.2002)
I really like Free as is obvious by the number of comments I've sent regarding them. However I can understand why you have given them a few low album scores, as some of the albums, although I love them, I can see why a less diehard critic would find problems with them. However I do think that Paul Kossoff, as I've said before, is a really great guitarist. Not technically, but he really gets the hairs on the back of my neck on end. Oh, and he's also the son of a famous actor in the UK, David Kossoff. Anyway, Heartbreaker is my favourite Free album, and definitely a step up from Free At Last. I think the addition of Bundrick, the keyboardist, really enhances the sound and it's a real pity that this was the last album they did. Bad Company didn't have half the talent of Free. 'Wishing Well', possibly the stand out song, feature Paul Rodgers, not Koss, on guitar, proving his value to the band. Koss had more health problems during the recording of this album. 'Come Together In The Morning' is a really great tune as you said, and the guitar solo is really great, really emotional the way Koss gets the guitar to wail. It's like Koss' lament or something. Truly great. The title track is my other favourite. Love the sound and the guitar work again. I agree there is something of Jimmy Page in it. Oh, and you have to remember, mid tempo is Free's trademark. To conclude, I love this album and think you've given it a fair review.
PS. I must correct my error, Koss plays on 'Wishing Well' he plays all the lead stuff, Paul Rodgers plays rhythm. He'd be turning in his grave so I had to correct myself!
Glenn Wiener <firstname.lastname@example.org> (31.01.2004)
This is a truly fine recording by Free. The first three tracks are totally awesome. 'Wishing Well' is a great opener with a very captivating guitar riff. 'Come Together In The Morning' is just sung with so much feeling. The instrumental support matches the great Paul Rodgers vocals like a hand and a glove. Its amazing that this song was not more well known in rock n roll circles. 'Travelling In Style' is another great country/blues tune with some stand out piano. The rest of the songs are quite good if not quite on the same level as the first three.. 'Common Mortal Man' and 'Seven Angels' have good arrangements. I like the gospel feel on the later track. Overall this is a very good swan song for a very good band.