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Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Free - Heartbreaker (1973 uk, superb hard bluesy rock, 2002 remaster with bonus tracks)

Sometimes the best albums come from the worst of situations. In 1972 Free had been through a lot. After they failing to capitalise on the success of Alright Now and reinvent themselves as swaggering rockers with Highway, the band returned to their soul roots to craft an emotive, melodic epitaph for a band they all knew was on the verge of implosion.

Where Paul Kossof was intelligible enough to play guitar he does so with tear jerking abandon, hearing but never heading Rodger's please for sobriety on opening numbers “Wishing Well” and “Heartbreaker.” It's Rodgers who gives the album it's soul and binds the lost guitarist and newcomer John “Rabbit” Bundrick on keyboards (who contributes the solid numbers “Common Mortal Man” and “Muddy Waters”) into the semblance of a working band.

The singer graces all eight tracks with, well, hearbreaking emotion. By the last two tracks it all comes to a head with the elegant prayer for mercy “Easy On My Soul,” and “Seven Angels,” embodying the shared desire of all involved to break away from the train wreck the band had become. Any classic rock historian will tell you that Free recorded many more tracks in their latter days than feature here.

There are eight tracks here for a reason; this was an era before CDs when quality counted more than quantity and creating a seamless work was all. It's this attitude that makes Hearbreaker the most gripping and emotive work Free ever committed to tape.

1. Wishing Well (Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Tetsu Yamauchi, Paul Kossoff, John Bundrick) - 3:43
2. Come Together In The Morning (Paul Rodgers) - 4:38
3. Travellin' in Style (Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Tetsu Yamauchi, Paul Kossoff, John Bundrick) - 4:01
4. Heartbreaker (Paul Rodgers) - 6:12
5. Muddy Water (John Bundrick) - 4:15
6. Common Mortal Man (John Bundrick) - 4:06
7. Easy on My Soul (Paul Rodgers) - 3:44
8. Seven Angels (Paul Rodgers) - 5:03
9. Wishing Well (US mix) (Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Tetsu Yamauchi, Paul Kossoff, John Bundrick) - 3:39
10.Let Me Show You (Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Tetsu Yamauchi, Paul Kossoff, John Bundrick)-  3:01
11.Muddy Water (John Bundrick) - 4:15
12.Hand Me Down Turn Me Round (John Bundrick) - 3:19
13.Heartbreaker (Paul Rodgers) (Rehearsal version) - 5:40
14.Easy on My Soul (Paul Rodgers) (Rehearsal version) - 8:42

*Paul Rodgers - Vocals, Guitar
*Paul Kossoff - Guitar
*John "Rabbit" Bundrick - Keyboards
*Tetsu Yamauchi - Bass
*Simon Kirke - Drums
Guest Musicians
*"Snuffy" Walden - Guitar on "Easy on My Soul"
*Rebop Kwaku Baah - Congas on "Wishing Well"