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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for the very best of Free, 11 May 2002
Hindburn (Church Stretton, Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Molten Gold: The Anthology (Audio CD)
The short and troubled history of the band Free is well known, but suffice to say that they probably did not last long enough to really fulfill their potential (this was particularly true of the tragic Paul Kossoff, who died at 25 and could have become one of Britain's most memorable blues guitarists). However, in the band's five years, through six studio albums and one live one, they established an instantly recognizable sound and created some lasting, classic music in a blues-rock vein. This double CD set of remastered recordings includes approximately half the contents of all these albums, and includes the very best known Free album tracks and singles.
The sound of the band was, for most of their career, a simple, stripped-down formula of drums, guitar, bass and vocals (all delivered at near-maximum volume), with modest amounts of keyboards; this raw, basic sound does not date and retains the same powerful, visceral appeal now that it did 30 years ago (the only difference being that with the remastering for CD it sounds even louder and more immediate than ever). The passion of the playing and singing pulls the listener into the music - background music it is not! - and despite the rock style, there is a tangible and touching melancholy in some of the songs, for example Kossoff's heartfelt solos on 'Heavy load' and 'Come together in the morning'. Very welcome additions are two tracks from Kossoff's first solo album, on which he is accompanied by members of Free and also the distinctive guitar sound of John Martyn.
This is undoubtedly the best compilation of Free's studio recordings currently available (there are several too superficial single CD collections, and the box set 'Songs of yesterday', though excellent, includes much rare, unreleased material in place of the original versions) and is excellent value. My only slight complaint is that more was not included; there is sufficient room on each CD for several more tracks to have been added, which would have made the collection even better. The album also includes a larger than normal size booklet which includes a brief history of the band and high quality black and white archive photos. An essential album for aficionados of British blues-rock.
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