When you think of the band Free, it’s likely their massive hit single All Right Now might spring to mind. The type of ‘Adult Oriented Rock’ beloved by compilers of ‘Driving Anthems’ albums and playlists. Air guitar/ bloke rock at its finest.
But before this, they released two albums with their second released in 1969. Far from a series of cock rock cliches, it’s a fine slice of blues rock. It opens with I’ll Be Creeping, Andy Fraser’s gently pulsing bassline providing a decent backdrop for Paul Kossoff’s guitar solos and Paul Rodgers head thrown back, soulful roar. The album really kicks into gear with Songs of Yesterday, with its thrilling changes of pace. Kossoff’s playing is economic, never lapsing into fretwankery, allowing the song to breathe, with Rodgers again on fine form.
They slow it down on Lying In The Sunshine, a lovely, lazy ballad, where Rodgers drawls rather than shouts. He’s mostly absent for the evocative, guitar picking instrumental Lying In The Sunshine, which is more pleasant laziness.
Decent, rocking tunes are all over this album. The lyrics are pretty laughable on the otherwise very serviceable Woman, where Rodgers sings “I’ll give you everything but my guitar and my car”, while at the same time inventing Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes’ vocal stylings. Free Me is a dark, slow stoner blues, almost like Black Sabbath, Fraser’s sultry, insistent bassline pitched perfectly for Kossoff’s bluesy guitar lines.
The Hendrix-sounding Broad Daylight is a little repetitive, and Mourning Sad Morning ends the album on an excessively downbeat note, but these are minor gripes. This sort of music was never cool and certainly is not now, but perhaps you’re missing out. Not so much a guilty pleasure, more a bunch of old-fashioned thrills.