Quarto Valley (label)
29 June 2018 (released)
28 June 2018
When the band Free first emerged from the Blues clubs of Finsbury Park they created a huge stir and the singing of Paul Rogers and his friend Paul Kossoff’s guitar playing probably had the biggest impact on British Blues since the start of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated.
This show celebrated 50 years since Free were formed.
If anyone has the right to play Free music it is Paul Rogers and I have to say that his voice still carries the power and the soul – the sheer balls – that we first hear so long ago. The band here consists of Pete Bullick on guitar, Ian Rowley and bass, Rich Newman on drums and Gerard Louis on keys and they make a pretty damn fine fist of playing Free’s music.
Of course, no-one can replace Paul Kossoff’s guitar – that lightness of touch and the melodic playing he was famous for – but Bullick plays with real soul and heart and does the songs real justice.
The tour featured Free’s best and most popular songs and around the 16 tracks you get a real flavour of just what made them so important and so well-loved.
From the opener ‘Little Bit Of Love’ rocking out with power and that great riff and through the raunchy Blues of ‘Ride On A Pony’ and into the soft and heartfelt ‘Be My Friend’ with some great guitar work by Bullick the show shows that there were many sides to Free. Even a song such as ‘Love You So’ which could be a mawkish disaster in the wrong hands has the right panache and power to offset the sweet sentiment.
If you want the hits then they are all here – a terrific ‘My Brother Jake’, ‘All Right Now’ setting the crowd alight with sheer swagger and braggadocio, ‘Magic Ship’ really hammers home the breadth of Free’s music and ‘Mr Big’ has a sense of anger about it. ‘The Hunter’, ‘The Stealer’ putting over the laddish side of the band and the riffery of ‘Fire & Water’ really catching the ear.
The whole show was a celebration of Free music and there really isn’t a weak song or performance. Rogers voice was on top form – sounds like a great night.