These are indeed strange times. I hope everyone is keeping safe and well.
Here the FAS continues to work on the 50th anniversary celebrations going forwards. I have been hard at work on the 'Fire And Water' issues since Christmas Day 2019 and the first two are 80% done, the final issue erm.... less than that! Maybe 20%. It's all very complicated this part of the history! There are things in the next magazines that even surprised me! Things even I hadn't realised or known about. Quite an adventure.
Due to the current situation I can't be sure EXACTLY when we'll be getting these next issues printed - but in the meantime work will continue unabated to get them ready to go as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
However, today is actually quite important. 50 years ago today something happened that changed the lives of Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke and Andy Fraser forever. Somewhat changing the fortunes of the already bludgeoning Island Records label too.
On April 21st, 1970 at Island Studios in Basing Street, Chris Blackwell took out the master multi-track reels for Free's 'All Right Now'. He remixed the track and edited it as their proposed third UK single. Of course the first two, 'Broad Daylight' and 'I'll Be Creeping' hadn't broken any sales records, but things were building up and there was a feeling that Free were about to break really big. They just needed one key song, and Chris Blackwell decided that this was it.
Along with engineers Brian Humphries and Roger (Trow, I think) he took the masters, which had been transferred to 16-track from the original 8-track tapes recorded at Trident Studios, and spliced out the introduction to the guitar solo, and the last verse. He thickened up the track with some overdubs and a cowbell (on the album mix this is missing) and took the song from its original length of 5.31 down to 4.14 - still long for a single it has to be said. On reflection these days Chris believes it could have been even better, but that he just couldn't get it better than this himself. I think he did pretty good personally.
A couple of weeks later it was in the shops and by July it was sitting at No.2 in the BBC chart, or No.1 if you preferred to take your information from the NME or Melody Maker. The rest, as they say, is history. The single was a hit in the UK, USA, Denmark, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark among others, as well as being released in places like South Africa, Yugoslavia, Israel, Japan, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and even the Lebanon!
And despite Wikipedia having down on its pages that the song was written in Durham, it wasn't. It was actually conceived in Manchester apparently. This comes from what the band said, on numerous occasions, in the music press at the time it was released.
You can say in no uncertain terms that this day, half a century ago, changed their lives forever. Those four young men, Fraser still only 17. And, if you are a fan, like me, ours too. Cool eh. History was never like this at school was it!
'Esta Bien Ahora'
('All Right Now')