Freedom - ( The ) Freedom was the band put together by ex-Procol Harum members, drummer Bobby Harrison and guitarist Ray Royer in the late sixties, and.their first album was a soundtrack for an Italian movie called "Nerosubianco" in 1967. (According to the liner notes on the recently released CD of the album, the band members were, until now, unaware of the existence of this album! ). Ray Royer left the band to be replaced by Roger Saunders. Bassist Walt Monaghan made up the balance of the trio, whose sound had now veered in a more blues/rock direction. They released a total of five albums before splitting in the early seventies. Harrison would go on to feature with Snafu and also had a stint with Icelandic outfit, Mezzoforte. Angel Air records also recently released his first solo album on CD.

Freedom - Built for Comfort, from "At Last" in 1970, their 3rd album. UK blues/rock outfit Freedom started out in the late sixties as a psychedelic band whose first recorded effort was the soundtrack to an Italian soft porn movie called "Nerosubianco". The band was initially formed in 1967 by drummer/vocalist Bobby Harrison and guitarist Roy Royer, both previously with Procol Harum, when they were given a generous out of court financial s ettlement to leave Procol Harum because they were considered to be incompatible with the rest of the band's sound (they were replaced by Barry Wilson and Robin Trower, both ex-Paramounts). Steve Shirley joined on bass and Tony Marsh came in on keyboards, although Marsh was later replaced by session player Mike Lease. Lease, Royer and Shirley all left after "Nerosubianco", leaving Harrison the job of continuing the band. He recruited guitarist Roger Saunders and bassist Walt Monaghan and this line-up appeared on Freedom's self-titled second album, released in 1970. This was an excellent example of prime British blues/rock and set the stage for potentially bigger things for the band, although Freedom never really received the accolades they deserved. Our featured album was next, and it was a logical continuation of the good work initiated by the second album. The band then moved to Vertigo Records and r eleased two further excellent albums, "Through the Years" in 1971 and "Freedom is More than a Word" (with Steve Jolly on guitar and Pete Dennis on bass) in 1972, vinyl copies of which are quite rare. When Freedom finally split in the early 70's, Harrison went on to form SNAFU with guitarist Micky Moody (Juicy Lucy) and keyboard player Pete Solley (Paladin). Three great albums were released by SNAFU before they split in the mid seventies. Harrison later recorded a few solo albums and joined Islandic jazz/funk outfit Mezzoforte.  

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Biography by Richie Unterberger
A spinoff of Procol Harum, Freedom was formed by guitarist Ray Royer and drummer Bobby Harrison. Both of them were in Procol Harum's lineup at the outset for their debut, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," single, but were ousted almost immediately when Procol singer, Gary Brooker, enlisted his former bandmates from the Paramounts, Robin Trower and Barry Wilson, as replacements. Freedom's early sound, perhaps unsurprisingly, echoed Procol Harum's in its prominent use of organ and piano, as well as heavy rock guitar, and like Procol Harum's early records, captured late British psychedelia as it was starting to inch towards progressive rock.

Freedom wasn't a Procol Harum clone, though, with a somewhat poppier take on psychedelia that was closer to Traffic than Procol Harum. Their initial lineup only released two singles in 1968 before breaking up, also recording a soundtrack for an obscure Italian film by Dino De Laurentis, Attraction/Black on White. The soundtrack LP was given a limited release in Italy — so limited, in fact, that the group members themselves were unaware that it came out. Recorded with noted future producers Eddie Kramer and Glyn Johns engineering, this was reissued on CD in 1999, and is actually a pretty good if derivative slice of late-'60s British psychedelia.

In 1968, Harrison decided to reorganize the band completely — in fact, so totally that he was the only remaining original member. More albums came out in the late '60s and early '70s, which in keeping with overall British rock trends of the period were in a much heavier, hard, bluesier style. These were middle-of-the-pack, or a little lower than the middle-of-the-pack, efforts with nothing to make them stand out from the crowd in a clogged field. They did get to tour the U.S. as support for Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, and broke up in 1972 after some personnel changes. Harrison became the lead singer in the little-known Snafu, while guitarist Roger Saunders, from the later incarnation of the band, did some session work, joined Medicine Head and played in Gary Glitter's group during the '80s. 


Roger Saunders
Peter Dennis
Bobby Harrison
Steve Jolly
Ray Royer


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Freedom - 1970 - Freedom - 2/5

Freedom - 1970 - Freedom at Last - 3.5/5

Freedom - 1972 - Is More Than a Word - 3/5

Freedom - 1999 - Black on White - 4/5



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