Posts Tagged ‘free’



The news abut the elections in the USA has become a background drone, but one thing popped out from this white noise — that the song to support the campaign to elect Mr. Barak Obama is called “Obama (Yes We Can)”.

At first it was the “Yes we can” that caught my attention — could this be a rip off of our very own “Bob the Builder” hit sung by Neil Morrissey?

Then I heard it was written by and performed by our own Andy Fraser! Well, obviously I HAD to dig out a Free album (Fire and Water) and give it a spin for nostalgia’s sake; I LOVE the fat bass Andy got way back in 1970 when Hendrix was alive, and Cream and the fab four were still “together”.

I had forgotten how fabulous this album is, and what a great band Free were. Maaaan, it was a trip!

Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraser (at just 18 back then) co-wrote the album’s seven tracks, starting with the title track, and finishing with their biggest hit, the all-time classic, “All Right Now”.

01 – Fire and Water – A major;
02 – Oh I Wept – E minor;
03 – Remember – Ab major;
04 – Heavy Load – D minor;
05 – Mr. Big – E minor;
06 – Don’t Say You Love Me – E major;
07 – All Right Now – A major.

If memory serves me right, this album went top 20 here and in the USA. A simple four piece, with each part pared down and simplified, Free are as inspirational as they are distinctive. Paul Rodgers can sing, but it’s the fills that make him so special, so soulful. Paul Kossoff on simple, emotional lead learned from Peter A Green on tour supporting and jamming with the original Bluesy Fleetwood Mac. Simon Kirke on drums — drums that are integral to the tune. And of course, Andy Fraser’s fat sparse bass.

Andy’s Bass solo on Mr.Big has always been a classic.  He’s got a cheekiness about his bass lines, a great tone and personality that is not about showing off, and not even about being in the back line or rhythm section, but about being part of the tune, a compositional part of the whole song.

When I hear Free, I am always reminded of a lecturer who used to make us test our artworks by demanding of each component “Are you needed — would it be better with or without you?”. Every note and noise enhances Free, exclude one rimshot or bass note and it would suffer; it all fits perfectly together — and the gaps provide the space that makes them seem grander and more powerful that a mere four piece.

In my early bands I used to try to get the guys to stop overplaying — to get some build-ups or at least some dynamics involved (not always successfully — people just wanna play all the time) — and I would often play them Fire and Water (and their later live album) to make the point.

Funny the things that trigger a musical nostalgia trip!

Here’s a video of Andy’s song from You Tube:

It seems that Andy has not lost his sparse (and typically fat sounding) bass line!




I am telling you. Seriously. Don’t activate Windows Media Player, don’t download the new crazy version, don’t waste your time.  Believe me. It’s a media player for lawyers.

Real and Quicktime are nightmares too. Try to steer clear, honest. There IS a better way!

Look, I have played around with loads of these things, I loved Musicmatch Jukebox (from yahoo!) about 10 years ago, and then went off it when new versions started to get too fancy.

I still have an old (verison 1) Applian FLV player to hand for stuff downloaded from YouTube, but my main videoplayer is  VLC — and I have a portable apps version of VLC for use on-the-go from my USB flash drive.

For audio, the winner, though, HAS to be MEDIAMONKEY download from

It allows for the most flexibility — even to the point of renaming of file names as well as tags.  It’s robust and comprehensive. Unlike Windows, it can handle any picture file of any name and any dimension and use it as the album art — no weird hidden file in three sizes downloaded in secret!  No DRM — you can rip and burn and organise your collection the way you want it.

I like the way it fades in and out; it gives it a more solid, professional feel — it’s easy to use (easier than WMP and jukebox) and just works!  I hate the way WMP for example, spends ages going through your system cataloguing everything (slowly at that).  It’s basically grassing you up for being a media pirate ah-harrr!

Media monkey, Applian FLV player and VLC are all FREE of Charge! result.