When a 13 year old schoolboy discovered this amazing fusion of blues and rock I was thunderstruck by the sheer power and emotion, that voice, Koss’s touch and tone, Andy Fraser’s bass runs (he could have been a jazz player), Simon K’s rock steady yet at same time so rhythmic and syncopated drumming.
Unfortunately I was just a tad too young to see them live but have seen Bad Co several times. When Koss passed away it coincided with the day I passed my driving test and just ruined the occasion.
Free Live and Cosmos Factory by CCR were the first albums I bought but the stuff out there to enjoy is just so prolific. My favourite track will always be Oh I Wept, the way Rodgers articulates, Koss’s expression, Andy’s counterpoint, and Simon’s fluidity. But beyond the obvious favourites dig deep, on Free At Last Guardian of the Universe and Child are sublime. Seven Angels on Heartbreaker when the band were on their knees just comes out of the speakers like a spiritual heavenly invasion from somewhere else up above.
Being a purist I could never recognise Bad Co without Paul R up front, just not authentic.
Guys afford me your thoughts and more recollections.
Sorry took away for editing!
That’s better, in fact, it’s all right now.
Sorry, I’ll be sure to close the door on my way out.
I wish i had seen Free as well. Did see bad company on “running with the pack” and “desolation angels” tours. Paul Rogers was/is a great front man.
And yes, I was there … … … an’ it wiz jist fab, ken.
Free are still probably my favourite band, although I was too young to see them. An amazing mix of very young talent who appeared to be rudderless. Rodgers is the best Rock/Soul singer I have heard, Frazer was a great bass player and musician even at 15/16 years old. But it is Kossoff who can still give me goosebumps and bring tears to my eyes, even though I’ve heard it hundreds of times. Proof that being a brilliant musician is often more important than being a technical genius on your instrument. He knew the importance of economy and space. Sometimes playing nothing appeared to be genius. A gift that probably cannot be taught. A sad story really.
I like Bad Co but they took a successful commercial direction at the expense of interesting and emotional music. Can’t blame them though.
I saw Rodgers live with his/a band in about 97, I was underwhelmed by how mechanical and soulless the band sounded. Voice was great though.
I am still in touch with a handful of School friends who still listen to Free a lot, must be our age.
The Island Record label had some really brilliant artists in that era.
All IMHO of course.
Edit. Interestingly Joe Bonamassa has said a number of times that Kossoff was a big influencene although I’m not sure it’s obvious. The guys in Lynyrd Skynyrd cited Free as a big influence, and you definitely hear it in a number of songs and particularly in Gary Rossington’s playing.
I like the rock band Thunder, and I found part of a nice interview with Luke Morley, guitarist and songwriter, talking about Free.
““Throughout my formative music years, they were there all the time, and they’re still very important to me. The reason I never tire of their records is because they have an incredible musical economy, which is very unusual in rock ‘n’ roll. Their ability to leave massive gaps – whether it’s in the guitar part, drums or the bass – almost makes it feel as if you can walk into the songs and wander around, and that’s so difficult to do. Most rock bands want to play loud all the time, and to achieve that kind of economy and space is amazing. They’re an exceptional group of musicians, and they were so young when they wrote all those songs; that’s what’s so mind blowing about it all.””
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