One of the great mysteries of rock music, is the ultimate disappearance of ex-Free bass player Andy Fraser, from it's bosom.
Everybody remembers Paul Kossof, quite rightly and most people understand why the band could not realistically continue, after his demise. Few people though appreciate the importance of bassman Fraser (don't forget, he wrote 'Alright Now' at the ripe old age of seventeen) and for me, the band was never quite as good, after his departure.
This brace of albums from 1975, is well worth picking up if you are a Free fan. In fact, if you consider yourself a serious Free afficianado, the first one of these albums is essential, being, spiritually, part of their canon. Far superior to his previous post-Free outings with Toby and Sharks, Fraser is augmented by Kim Turner on drums and keyboard wiz Nick Judd, a refugee from Sharks and Audience, another great forgotten British band of the early seventies. That the album is one of very few to feature electric bass as the lead instrument, is another point of interest.
The album, overall, is good, without being great. The lead track 'Don't Hide You Love Away' is, however, a lost classic and would make this album worth five stars, even if the rest of it were made up of Des O'Connor out takes!
Fraser's voice is uncannily like Paul Rodger's, Fraser's being the soul counterpart to his Free sibling's fantastic R&B vox.
The second of these albums is a lot more laid back and (sorry andy!) a bit dull, but 'Don't Hide Your Love Away' alone, is worth the twenty to thirty quid you're going to have to fork out for this deleted compilation.
Anoraks note: 'Andy Fraser Band' is the long searched for, missing-link, between Free and Eighties soul-rockers, Roachford.