More Rock Classics
- An insanely good sounding Island import pressing with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish and one of the few copies to hit the site in many years!
- These side were doing everything right — incredibly big, full-bodied and spacious with tons of big rock energy and a solid bottom end
- Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- “… an album that stands alongside its predecessor as a benchmark of British blues at the turn of the 1960s.” – All Music, 4 Stars
KILLER sound throughout! It’s got exactly what you want from this brand of straight ahead rock and roll: presence in the vocals; solid, note-like bass; big punchy drums, and the kind of live-in-the-studio energetic, clean and clear sound that Free practically invented. (AC/DC is another band with that kind of live studio sound. With big speakers and the power to drive them YOU ARE THERE.)
Boy, is this record RARE in clean condition, ten times as rare as All Right Now I would guess. Truth be told, Tons of Sobs is even more rare; I bet you we don’t see even one clean copy of either of them in a given year. (The accelerating reality of this situation is becoming worrisome to those of us who love early pressings of Classic Rock Records. Supplies are drying up and prices are rising, trends that show no sign of abating.) Free fans, get it while you can!
What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1969
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We Listen For on Free
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
I’ll Be Creepin’
Songs of Yesterday
Lying in the Sunshine
Trouble on Double Time
Mouthful of Grass
Mourning Sad Morning
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
Free’s second album was recorded with the band itself in considerable turmoil as principle songwriters Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraser demanded strict discipline from their bandmates, and guitarist Paul Kossoff, in particular, equally demanded the spontaneity and freedom that had characterized the group’s debut. It was an awkward period that saw both Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke come close to quitting, an eventuality that only the intervention of label chief Chris Blackwell seems to have prevented.
Few of these tensions are evident on the finished album — tribute, again, to Blackwell’s powers of diplomacy. He replaced original producer Guy Stevens early into the sessions and, having reminded both warring parties where the band’s strengths lie, proceeded to coax out an album that stands alongside its predecessor as a benchmark of British blues at the turn of the 1960s.