Top positive review
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An underrated, overlooked gem...
on 25 March 2002
If a great band is going to finally implode then it's probably best to do so on a high...
After the rather awful "Free At Last" Rogers and Kirke (at this stage the only two members left from the original line up - Fraser had finally called it a day and Kossoff's appearances were random and fleeting) decided to draw on some outside resources, pack up their equipment and head for the studio as Free for one last hurrah.
Whilst "Heartbreaker" (rarely has an album titled seemed so fitting) is admittedly not in the same league as "Free" or "Fire And Water" I think the rather sniffy responses to this album are slightly wide of the mark, as this must surely be considered, by even the casual listener, as a great album. The fractious line up doesn't really create too many problems as you would perhaps expect, and in the mournful "Muddy Waters", the 'amps up to 11' of "Wishing Well" and the wonderfully slack "Travellin' In Style" there are some superb songs to be found here that can compete against any other Free classic.
In addition there must be another doff of the cap to Island for doing a first class job on this reissue, and adding some corking extra songs and snippets to it.
Whilst I'd agree Free seemed on a downhill slide from "Highway" onwards, I think the general perception that their final three studio albums weren't much cop is, frankly, rubbish. It's just a shame that a band who, at times, were equally to, if not better than, Led Zepplin and The Who have never really received the critical adulation they so much deserved.