Of all the British blues-rock bands and singers that emerged from the sixties, Free and Paul Rodgers hold a special place in the record collections of connoisseurs and fans alike.
Where Roger Daltrey’s lung-busting roar and Robert Plant’s screech, which could frighten a forest of owls, are somewhat tempered by time, it’s Paul Rodgers’ manly, soulful voice that still eclipses all of his contemporaries and young pretenders alike.
Compiling a band of crack musicians who handle the sixteen tracks on this solid gold release with consummate care is a masterstroke by Rodgers.
Listening to Peter Bullick execute the classic riffs and solos is almost akin to having the ghost of Paul Kossoff weaving in and out of the speakers.
Gerard Louis’ piano intro to “My Brother Jake” is as exquisite as it is slinky and Ian Rowley’s bass line runs on “Mr Big” race up the neck like a hill runner pumped up on adrenaline.
Holding the whole show together is Rich ‘rock solid’ Newman whose coda fills on “Fire And Water” reveals a very fine drummer.
However, it’s Rodgers’ voice that remains powerful and crisp as he raises his legendary status even higher on this superb sounding release.
Words: Paul Davies Photo: Adam Kennedy