Free

Free [Bonus Tracks]

(CD - Island #586225)

Review by

Free's second album was recorded with the band itself in considerable turmoil as principle songwriters Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraser demanded strict discipline from their bandmates, and guitarist Paul Kossoff, in particular, equally demanded the spontaneity and freedom that had characterized the group's debut. It was an awkward period that saw both Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke come close to quitting, an eventuality that only the intervention of label chief Chris Blackwell seems to have prevented. Few of these tensions are evident on the finished album -- tribute, again, to Blackwell's powers of diplomacy. He replaced original producer Guy Stevens early into the sessions and, having reminded both warring parties where the band's strengths lie, proceeded to coax out an album that stands alongside its predecessor as a benchmark of British blues at the turn of the 1960s. [This release of Free contains bonus material.]

blue highlight denotes track pick