Free -  Free were formed in London in the mid 1968 British Blues boom. Guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke had both previously featured in an early British blues outfit called Black Cat Bones ( their only album, "Barbed Wire Sandwich", released in 1970, is certainly worthwhile checking out ), bassist Andy Fraser had previously been in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and vocalist Paul Rodgers had been in an unknown outfit called "Brown Sugar". They were 'discovered' by bluesman Alexis Korner, who suggested that they call themselves "Free" after his own "Free at Last" band. Korner arranged a record deal through Island Records and they released their debut album in 1968. A fairly hard working and touring band, Free went on to become one of England's best and best known blues acts, compared at times to Cream and Blind Faith. This album, "Fire and Water", was the album that cracked it really big for them, and the track " All right now", has become their theme. The album's release coincided with the bands' appearance at the Isle of Wight that year, a factor which no doubt heightened its impact. They released a total of seven albums during their six year history, with Kossoff and Kirke recording an album with John 'Rabbit' Bundrick and Tetsu Yamauchi on Free's demise. Kossoff also went on to form Back Street Crawler ( later Crawler ). Fraser formed a band called Toby and then The Sharks with Nucleus' Chris Spedding, and Rodgers formed his own band, Peace, before forming Bad Company with Kirke. Kossoff tragically died on 19 March 1976.
Free are another one of the bands that are featured on the new Dinosaur
Days CD.

Free 
Free - The Hunter, from "Live" in 1971, their 5th album. We've covered Paul Rodgers and the guys on numerous occasions in the past, so we won't repeat everything here again. We do feel, however, that this was one of the best live albums ever recorded in the early to mid seventies and captured this great UK quartet almost at their best. Our featured track, an excellent cover of the Booker T. track, was recorded at Sunderland in the UK. Free went on to record a further couple of studio albums before finally splitting in 1973. Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke went on to find further commercial success in Bad Company. Guitarist Paul Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler (later shortened to Crawler) and he also recorded a number of solo albums as well as featuring on the Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit album. He died tragically on 19 March 1976. Bassist Andy Fraser formed the short-lived Sharks. Free are still one of the most fondly remembered 70's outfits today. 

 

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Biography by Jason Ankeny
Famed for their perennial "All Right Now," Free helped lay the foundations for the rise of hard rock, stripping the earthy sound of British blues down to its raw, minimalist core to pioneer a brand of proto-metal later popularized by 1970's superstars like Foreigner, Foghat and Bad Company. Free formed in London in 1968 when guitarist Paul Kossoff, then a member of the blues unit Black Cat Bones, was taken to see vocalist Paul Rodgers' group Brown Sugar by a friend, drummer Tom Mautner. After deciding to form their own band, Kossoff and Rodgers recruited drummer Simon Kirke (since Mautner was at university) and 16-year-old bass phenom Andy Fraser from the ranks of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers; with the aid of Alexis Korner, who also suggested the name Free, the fledgling band signed to the Island label, issuing their bluesy debut Tons of Sobs in 1968.

Free's eponymous 1969 follow-up expanded on their roots-based sound, incorporating rockers like Albert King's "The Hunter" as well as muscular ballads like "Lying in the Sunshine" into the mix. Although both of the first two albums fared poorly on the charts, 1970's Fire and Water became a tremendous hit on the strength of the primal "All Right Now," a Top Five smash powered by Rodgers' gritty, visceral vocals. After headlining 1970's Isle of Wight festival, the group appeared destined for superstardom, but the LP Highway did not fare nearly as well as anticipated, and after a grueling tour which yielded 1971's Free Live, the band dissolved amidst ego clashes and recriminations.

While Rodgers went on to form Peace and Fraser founded Toby, Kossoff and Kirke teamed with bassist Tetsu Yamauchi and keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick to record the album Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit. When none of these new projects proved successful, the original lineup of Free re-formed to record 1972's Free at Last, which launched the hit "Little Bit of Love." However, drug problems nagged the group, as Kossoff's longtime battle with heroin continued to worsen; soon Fraser exited to form Sharks with Chris Spedding, leaving Rodgers and Kirke to record the majority of 1973's Heartbreaker while a drug-addled Kossoff watched from the sidelines. Soon, the group disbanded again, this time for good: while Rodgers and Kirke went on to found Bad Company, Kossoff formed Back Street Crawler before dying of a drug-induced heart attack on March 19, 1976. 

 

Paul Rodgers
Andy Fraser
Paul Kossoff
John "Rabbit" BundrickS
imon Kirke
Tetsu Yamauchi

Mountain
Thin Lizzy
Montrose
Led Zeppelin
Tommy Bolin
AC/DC
Faces
Paul Rogers
Sharks
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Foreigner
Cactus
Leaf Hound
Beck, Bogert & Appice
ZZ Top
Savoy Brown
Jeff Beck
Steppenwolf
The Pretty Things
Nazareth
The James Gang

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

 

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Here are a list of websites for this band.  More...

 

 

Free - 1968 - Tons of Sobs - 4.5/5

Free - 1969 - Free - 4/5

Free - 1970 - Fire and Water - 4.5/5

Free - 1971 - Free, Live - 4.5/5

Free - 1971 - Highway - 2.5/5

Free - 1972 - Free at Last - 3/5

Free - 1973 - Heartbreaker - 4/5

Free - 1998 - Live at the BBC - 1.5/5

Free - 1998 - Walk in My Shadow - 1.5/5

Rating

 

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