Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Free – Molten Gold – the Anthology

I found this 2 CD set at a bargain price at Las Vegas’ only real record store left (Zia Records) which, while it doesn’t have many obscure items, does have some deals when you look.

I’ve been a fan of this band since their fantastically rockin’ hit “All Right Now”. I’ve been listening to them even more lately and this set really crystallizes just how good this band was at blues-based rock. Yeah, this might not be considered “cool” these days, but it is some damn good music.

Paul Rogers is well known for his terrific, bluesy vocals and his work with the likes of Bad Company, the Firm and even Queen. He has long been known as one of Britain’s best vocalists and was considered for both Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Drummer Simon Kirke joined him in Bad Co. and bassist Andy Fraiser was a fine songwriter and player, though he never managed to achieve the fame he realized in Free. Guitarist Paul Kossoff was not super flashy, but had such a personal style that even Eric Clapton asked him how he created his sound!

This collection includes songs from each of their releases, from their first album through the semi-reunion album (after Kossoff and Fraiser left, though Kossoff appears on several songs), Heartbreaker.

There are tons of great blues-based heavy tunes here, from the opening track of “I’m a Mover”, their classic interpretation of “The Hunter”, the riff-rock of “Woman” and lots more. Of course, “All Right Now” is included (which the liner notes says was written in about 10 minutes after a gig when they realized they needed an uptempo closer!) as well as some of their more mellow songs. The set closes with their much-covered “Wishing Well” and the title track of their last record, “Heartbreaker”.

This is certainly not for everyone, but for those who appreciated 70’s blues-based rock, this is a super collection.