Paul Rodgers

Free Spirit

(Quarto Valley Records/Proper)

So here is the original Free vocalist leading a band celebrating the music created by Free. Whilst the band are not Free, Rodgers leads them through these much-loved selections with..well, spirit is the word I guess.

This live performance was recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall. In a few instances the songs were never performed live by the original group eg Love You So and Catch A Train. Greeting the audience, A Little Bit Of Love finds Paul in strong voice, from the off. Ride On A Pony hits a solid groove, Rodgers wringing most out of the words. The guitar tone is edge-of-snarly, now the default sound for most rock-blues axework. Right for this material.

Woman is slow and steady, reeking with intent. Be My Friend always was a charming, winsome tune and here it is truly soulful. My Brother Jake and its purposeful pace always was a change of approach, Mr Lewis on keys stepping up with a tease intro.

On to Love You So is taken tenderly, with ringing guitar whilst Travellin’ In Style has neat acoustic guitar and a chugging tempo with clean leads sprinkled in. Next up is Magic Ship and a moody job it is, too. The next few tunes being Mr Big, The Stealer, Fire & Water and The Hunter do miss the trouncing bouncing bass lines of the late Andy Fraser, a man whose company I still miss.

Of course All Right Now is now included. Rock’s greatest radio staple, it’s always playing someone in the world. Wishing Well is a good follow-on and is the best cut here imho. We then get Walk In My Shadow and some puffing harp at the start and over the intro. The band gels pretty well. Finally. Catch A Train which sparks pretty well with some lively drumming. It’s not Free, but sounds as though the audience enjoyed the set.

Pete Sargeant


(Thanks to Sue at Frontier Promotions)

Paul Rodgers' new live album 'Free Spirit' is out now on Quatro Valley Records/Proper.

Paul Rodgers Photo Credit: Christie Goodwin

For more information visit his official website here: