Free: Highway :1970
This is the album that features the bands most beautiful and heartfelt ballads such as Be My Friend, Love You So and Soon I Will Be Gone.
In this video, I look back at the album and review it plus recommend which CD Remaster you should own.
Highway came hot on the heels of their big chart album ‘Fire and Water’ which also included the global hit ‘All Right Now. Unfortunately, it was a flop at the time quite possibly because of the very poor album design which left many music fans thinking it was by a band called Highway!
There is a point in nearly every song Free recorded where they reach the end of the last chorus and Paul Rodgers just let’s go and ad-libs from the heart. Be My Friend is a perfect example. It is a love song full of yearning and passion. Love You So is another song that takes the angst up a notch when the ad-libs start.
Following close behind Rodgers’s voice is always Paul Kossoff who matches the words with his soulful and heartfelt guitar playing.
The songs and emotions captured in these songs are timeless and even more remarkable when you think of their age at the time.
If you are a fan of blues-rock, Bad Company, Gov’t Mule, Lynryd Skynryd, then this is an essential album.
- Paul Rodgers : Vocals
- Andy Fraiser : Bass / Piano
- Simon Kirk : Drums
- Paul Kossoff : Guitar
Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine
Comments from Now Spinning Members
HI Phil, Great review again.
I know we have spoken about ‘ Free ‘ before, they should have been ‘ massive ‘. but the stars weren’t aligned, I think it was a combination of these things. So young (naive) mismanagement and bad promotion by Island Records.
I first got into Free when I was 14 years old (1971) through the ‘ Fire and Water ‘ LP, I was hooked and had to search out everything they had done. One big regret is I never saw them live when you look at photos or watch old footage of them live the gear they have on stage (Isle of wight 1970) I’ve seen more gear on stage when some of the local bands play the pub I go in, but they came over amazing live. I still love them possibly more than ever.
Has there ever been a better vocalist in the Blues-rock style than Rodgers, ‘ I don’t think so ‘ Koss his playing no one else sounds like Paul Kossoff, no other guitarist makes me feel the way I feel when I’m listening to him, his sound, his touch, his tone, his expression just penetrates the soul. And Andy Fraser was such a talent, his Bass playing held it all together, Andy was just 15 years old when he joined Free. Then there’s the anchor Simon Kirk, but the sum of all these parts made up a truly extraordinary band. Yes, Phil, I agree ‘ Highway ‘ is an excellent album, but I personally would find it hard to pick out any one of their six studio albums, because on any day depending on the mood, or my frame of mind, all of them could be my favourite. Raymond
Phil, your commentaries are always fascinating but here, when you are talking about my favourite band of all time, it is spellbinding. To put into words the effect that Kossoff has on the listener is almost impossible but you get mighty close to it.
I was just too young to see Free, but saw him three times with Back Street Crawler. To stand in the same room as him and listen to him play was an unforgettable experience, mind-blowing for a teenager, and it has never left me. I think he had something that no other guitarist had or ever will have. I played the drums back then and tried to model my playing on Simon Kirke. I discovered in trying to replicate what he was doing (badly I should add) that he was there to ‘lift’ Kossoff as much as to fill out the sound and keep the beat. I think Rodgers, Fraser and Kirke all did that, they knew he was something unique and, sadly, all too short-lived. Paul