Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Free - Fire And Water (1970)

I never really understood why a supremely excellent band such as Free never quite made it, whereas a more commercial sounding band (on the whole) such as Bad Company became huge. Oh wait, I just answered my own question. That still being said, I prefer Rodgers' soulful gravelly voice and Kossoff's stately understated guitar any day.

First things first, "All Right Now" is the only reason these fellows were truly noticed, and that's a shame, because not only is it not representative of the Free sound, but it's not even the best song on the album. That accolade, in my heretofore unembellished opinion of such things, would go to the title track, but the beautiful "Oh I Wept" or the piano-laden "Heavy Load" or even "Remember" might be your thing. You know, most of popular music nowadays is so devoid of soul that it's so fucking refreshing to hear it here in its bare, unapologetic entirety. Guitar aficionados may not name Kossoff in the top 50 guitarists ever (hell, even I didn't ), but his quietly grand sense of playing is no more apparent than on this record; and Rodgers, for his part, may not have turned in better performances than he does here. It's a damn fine album, and shame on you if "All Right Now" is all you've ever heard. Atone for your sins! You can make it up to me by declaring a greater love for Free and a lesser love for Bad Company in the comments section; only then will I forgive you. B+


Dan said...

I am a bad man because I think I only know that one song but from the sound of that one song I am sure I like Free more than Bad Company. Sounds like the same singer tho. LOL I think the band Free was ahead of its time. Most record companies and AM stations were still pushing the lighter side of rock and roll. Music on AM disappeared for the most part not long after. I rmember listening to WQFM in Milwaukee in about 73. They played everything that AM didnt. Great station back then!

Dan said...

I might have to give the rest of the album a listen. Thanks.

The Mad Hatter said...

Well, you're not bad, but that's why I created this site in the first place. Most fans of classic rock know Bad Company and not that they are bad, but to not know Free is an entirely different thing. Their first record, Tons of Sobs, is also excellent, a little more bluesy-based, but excellent.

Mighty High said...

Free rules! Check out Paul Kossoff's solo record "Back Street Crawler" if you don't already have it.