This remastered and expanded Free Live cd captures them at their prime in Sunderland, Croydon (1970) and London (1971, two studio versions of the ballad Get where I belong, that in a way announced their break-up later that year). All Right Now starts off the proceedings, squawking out of the loudspeakers with its plodding rhythm, Paul Kossof's emotional raw guitar and Paul Rodgers' bravado vocals. Such is the power of this song that it 3x times reached the top of the hit parades in the 1970s. The musical tension between the aggressive bass of Andy Fraser and Paul Kossof, underpinned by the solid pace-setting of Simon Kirke then continues on improved live versions of studio favourites like Ride on a pony to culminate in Mr. Big (track 6). The additional tracks (9-15) maintain the high level with slightly different, a bit more controlled repeats of Mr. Big and All Right Now and Woman (the growling vocals) and Trouble on double (Paul Kossof really lets his blues-infected guitar out here) as the other highlights. This album ranks as one of the greatest live recordings in rock's history.
Many people say that the 1960's actually ended at the Isle Of Wight Festival in August 1970 where both Free and and Jimi Hendrix were in the line up - Here we have Free recorded Live both before and after the legendary festival. Sunderland Locarno in January 1970 and Fairfield Halls Croydon later that year in September 1970 - I myself frequented the Sunderland venue in the early 1970's but alas I was not at this gig.- However I put the CD on, close my eyes and time travel back to the golden era of british rock. The original album has been greatly enhanced by the seven extra tracks, including a better live version of Alright Now recorded at the Croydon venue. I love the raw feel of this whole album and untouched sound of Koss' guitar which doesn't seem to have been enhanced or re-dubbed. The extra seven tracks on this version move this album up from three stars to four stars - I only don't give five stars because I wasn't happy about how the audience was dubbed from the Sunderland recordings to the Croydon recordings (its cheating a bit isn't it ?) Nevertheless a great live album
Catch me on a certain day and I'll swear "Free Live" could well be Free's best album - because here they play with an intensity that matches, if not surpasses, even their best album work. Breaking this almighty beast down into it's components you'll notice from the moment you hit "play" that Rogers' singing is rawer and more emotive than ever before, which is to say nothing of Kirke's drumming, which is absolutely astounding and able to change tempo and style with impressive fluidity. Then to add to this there are Fraser's bass lines, which are fat and groovy and finally Kossoff's guitar riffs, which come screaming out of the speakers and pretty much nail you to the wall. Add them all together, not forgetting that these are a fine bunch of tunes, and I think you have possibly the finest live album ever to be released. Also, as much as I adore the original album, the extra tracks included on this reissue are possibly even better - certainly the "new" versions of "Mr Big" and "Alright Now" which have been added easily surpass the "original" versions included on the album. There is also a fantastic version of "Woman" and a rumbling "Walking In My Shadow" that really enables Rogers to flex his vocal muscles! Highly recommended!
I bought this last week on a whim. I'd just got the Allmans at Atlanta and thought it was better than the Fillmore concerts, but I was knocked over when I played what I thought was a karaoke record. This is, in my opinion, the best British live recording I've ever heard, fresh youthful talent at its peak. Kossoff is astounding, especially on the Croydon "All Right Now", and Paul Rogers' voice is amazing. At the price there is no reason why any fan of quality rock music should not own (and love) this record.
I saw Free back in 71 on one of their farewell tours before their final split. I think live they have passed the test of time and for me this ranks alongside The Stones - Get Yer Ya Ya's Out and The Velvet Underground Live at Max's Kansas City for atmosphere and marking a point in history. A great start with Alright Now, really great fun with Fire and Water, Mr Big and The Hunter balanced with the more gentle I'm a Mover and Be my Friend. Iconic, short lived and if only we could see them live again.
I bought this as an 8 track cartridge in the 70's, (if you don't know what that is look on Wikipedia under rubbish). This was in the day when you could laugh at the comedy show 'Love thy neighbor' and not get arrested and gay pride was a group of happy lions licking each other - I digress. I subsequently bought the album (black plastic - all the rage when Donald Trump was still at school), the cassette, the original CD and now the remastered with bonus tracks CD. In short I listen to it a lot, mostly in the car. For regular readers of my ramblings you will know the wife is a 'Take That' fan - nuff sedd. These 4 musicians demonstrate how brilliant they are in their individual fields Voice/Drums/Lead/Bass.Such fantastic music captured live on stage. My only regret is I never saw them live, so this album along with Songs of Yesterday is my only glimps at what it would have been like. Dear 'whoever owns the publishing rights to Free', if you have any more live stuff you can clean up and sell, please do. Nowadays its all about productions and overdubbing and underdubbing and sampling and guest DJs. I still remember the days when the band turned up in a transit plugged in their amps and made music there and then. This album reminds me of those days and that genre of music. With half the band gone now we shall never see their like again (I'm rambling now - sorry). In short of you like raw live rock buy it. If you prefer Take That ensure you have some disinfecting hand gel.
Recorded in 1970 and comprising of tracks drawn from their 1st four studio albums (tons of sobs, free, fire and water, highway), this is a brilliant and powerful live album from one of the great blues rock bands ever.... In addition to the 1971(year of release) original track listing, several bonus tracks (all live except 'Get where I belong')) have been added and their presence greatly enhances this CD version. A couple of these actually surpass the 1971 vinyl versions (All Right Now and Mr Big).The 'new' All Right Now is far better than track one, which is a bit sloppy and not a patch on the single/fire & water version. Track one aside, the party kicks off with 'I'm a Mover' and doesn't let up from thereon. Most tracks possibly eclipse the studio versions (though the 'studio' albums are mostly excellent also). Free were/are one of the top bands in my opinion. Paul Rodgers strong, passionate and soulful voice, Andy Fraser's innovative 'lead guitar' style bass playing (listen to Mr Big) and Simon Kirke's steady solid backbeat excel on this live document. One must not forget the Fraser/Rodgers songwriting team responsible for so many great songs. The reason I'm a big fan however is down to the guitar playing of Paul Kossoff. His roaring and screaming vibrato lead has never failed to make the neck hairs stand on end ....even when he plays one note it can have the desired affect. He hits the spot where other guitarists simply fail to reach. If you like passionate and emotional guitar playing at its BEST, listen to Paul Kossoff. Unbelievably, like the rest of the band, he was only around age 20 at the time... A fitting live document to a magnificent band who were sadly short-lived. Although the CD cover can't be opened like an envelope (as could the original vinyl cover), the contents more than make up for it. I'm generally not a fan of bonus tracks as often they are inferior and can spoil the feeling of the original album (i.e. 'Power to the People' stuck on the end of Lennon's Plastic ono band)... but in the case of Free, a great job's been done (see also Tons of Sobs for a good example of this).. Definitely recommended. One of the best live albums ever released.
As a teenager of the 21st century some of my peers find it hard to grasp why i am a massive fan of not only 'classic' rock but especially of a band like Free who are not given much applause in the history of Rock 'n' Roll. Well hopefully the answer to this question can be answered by listening to this stunning Free record. Recorded during the bands hayday and contaning material created during their first 4 albums this record shows why Free had such a blistering live reputaion as it perfectly shows of Free's powerful rythem section of Simon Kirke (one of rock's finest drummers) and bass playing child prodigy Andy Fraser (just listen to Mr Big!!!!)as well as Paul Kossoff's hugely underestimated guitaring at it's best concluding with the man with the greatest voice in rock memory Paul Rodgers. This record itself is simply spellbounding and any band can take this as a blueprint of how to play live with the power and pressence of such tracks as 'I'M a Mover', 'Mr Big' , my personal favourite 'Ride on Pony' and of course 'Alright Now' leaving this record to be a must for any music fan or budding musician.
The reviews of this album are spot on! This is one of the most powerful live rock recordings you're ever likely hear.
The original eight tracks (seven live & one studio) are all brilliant with, for me, Be my Friend, Ride On Pony & Mr Big being the highlights (Fraser's bass break in 'Big', along with Kossoff's guitar backing, just builds and builds until Rodgers roars in at the end bringing the song to it's climactic finish - absolutely awesome!). And although other reviews of Alright Now are correct in that Kossoff's playing is a bit all over the place at times, I think it is by far and away the best version of the song recorded due to its raw and rugged feel (it's the original arrangement of the song before it was altered prior to its inclusion on Fire & Water and the release of the shortened single version both of which I think are kicked into touch by this live version!).
So, the original eight tracks are great, but what about the extras? They are all worthy of inclusion but for me Moonshine is the one. If ever anyone is in any doubt of just how good a guitar player Koss was then you need look no further than the version of Moonshine on this album. The reason the track is so much longer than the other offerings is due to a long guitar solo from Koss. Turn the lights down, the volume up, and lie back and listen to the man in full bluesy flow. The hairs on the back of your neck will tell you how good it is!
If there is anything negative to say against the original 7 live recordings it is to do with the 'dubbed' crowd noise. Apparently, the recording engineers were not aware the audience microphones were not working properly at Croydon so when they later listened back to the recordings they could hardly hear the crowd's reactions to the songs. At first they just thought there wasn't a particularly good atmosphere (they realised too late the reasons why) so they dubbed the Sunderland crowd over the top, who sound like they all had a microphone each they're so loud! Fortunately the extra tracks don't suffer from this clumsy dubbing. You can understand why they did it but it does sound false in places.
If you listen to this CD and like what you hear then it's well worth looking up the 5 CD box set, 'Songs of Yesterday'. A bit pricey when I bought it but it has another whole CD of live Free material taken from the same shows at Croydon and Sunderland. They were not originally included on 'Free Live' due to microphone 'clicks' and distortions, but these have now been sonically removed making the recordings perfect. All 14 live tracks (12 of which were previously unreleased) are superb. The third CD also includes the distorted live version of Heartbreaker that originally appeared on the vinyl & cassette versions of 'The Free Story' but which was left off the CD release of that same album.
Anyway, Free Live - absolutely brilliant! Buy it!!