Thursday, June 16, 2011

Free--All Right Now (1970)

     The group Free was made up of four VERY young musicians. At the time of their first gig together in 1968, Bass player Andy Fraser was 15 (and already been a member of John Mayall & the Bluebreakers!!), lead guitar player Paul Kossoff was 17 and singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke were 18. In today's Disney tainted world of pop music, that might not seem like a big thing, but these guys were playing heavy blues music in pubs and clubs around England. Kossoff was already gaining a reputation as a fine guitar player and Paul Rodgers even at that time was labeled as "the voice".
      They garnered a strong following in Britain with a pair of straight ahead blues albums. Their 1970 release, "Fire and Water", was in a more straightforward rock direction and it paid dividends with, "All Right Now" reaching No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in the US. In late 1970, "Stealer" cracked the top 50, but that was to be all that was heard from the group in the stateside pop charts.
       Increasing tensions between Rodgers and Fraser plus the extra burden of Kossoff's increasing drug use caused the band to break up in 1973, with Rodgers and Kirke to form Bad Company, Fraser formed the group Sharks, and Kossoff started Back Street Crawler. Kossoff died of drug related heart failure in 1976, Fraser recorded and wrote up until about 5 years ago when ill health has curtailed much of his activity. Of course, Rodgers has had a prolific career fronting several different bands and is now touring with Queen. The clip here is a rare black and white from Australia....enjoy.


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