Friday, 2 April 2021

The Art of Quarantine with Simon Kirke

Join Simon, straight from his home, for an intimate early evening of music, playing songs from Free, Bad Company and his own solo material. 


He will also talk in between songs about his time in quarantine and how he is living through it. For the finale, he will end on a high note with a drum solo, just for you.

 Event Location - Online 

 Date and Time

Apr 17, 2021 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT 
Or 22.00 (10pm) in the UK (GMT)
Tickets from $20 (£14.46)
Link for info and tickets

Thursday, 25 March 2021

FAS #155 (Page 40) 'addendum'

Full camera multi-screen for the songs that were filmed at the Isle Of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970. This is actually all included on the 'Free Forever' 2DVD set - so you should all have it - but just in case you don't...

Here you can see all the film that was shot during each song from every camera that was running at the time - all at once! Every single frame of film is used here - hence you get the intro for 'Fire And Water' after 'Mr Big' (even though the song itself wasn't filmed) and also a little bit of 'Crossroads' is featured at the end of 'All Right Now', until the final running camera is turned off. You'll also notice that no one filmed the 'Mr Big' bass solo...  It's a great shame but that's because none of the crew knew there was a bass solo, and anyway both cameras they were using at the time ran out of film, which is clearly seen. That's why there are the random helicopter crowd shots inserted here on the 'Free Forever' disc, as without these you would just have a gap in the footage. 

All the film is 'in synch' here, which means it all runs to the audio properly in real time. The time-coded B/W film is the original first 'cut' of the footage. Here some material is 'cut-in' from other places in the performance, hence it isn't seen on the running cameras that are synchronised to the audio. This isn't missing or alternate film, it's simply cut from elsewhere in the footage and moved during editing.

Due to restrictions on size uploads to Blogger here these aren't fantastic quality, but give you the chance to view the film. if you don't have the 'Free Forever' 2DVD set it's easy enough to find, and cheap enough for everyone to pick up a copy that would want one. The songs are in the order they were played on the day. Enjoy.

1: Be My Friend


2: Mr. Big


3: All Right Now

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Free Appreciation Society Magazine - Issue #155

FINALLY, we've made it!!! Originally set for release late last year, then moved to January, and then delayed further due to bloody Covid restrictions on working practises, we are now back in business!! Whooo Hoo!

Issue #155 has gone out into the post today worldwide. Please be aware that in some countries this may take a while to get to you, but the new issue is on the way.

Free Appreciation Society

Magazine Issue #155

March 2021

The first of the 'Highway' quadrilogy coming over the next four months. In this issue we take Free through August 1970. This means they have a hit single and album charting around the world while they continue to tour and promote it. This issue also covers the first sessions for the 'Highway' album, which began on August 18th and takes things up to the end of the month with the Isle Of Wight Festival performance.

56 pages of history, text and press, including interviews, adverts, recording session reel boxes, photographs... everything! A magazine full of updated and new information dealing with this specific period from the band's life (August 1970) and the start of the most in depth look at the 'Highway' album EVER!

56 pages packed with FREE!

Posted out all subscribers today.

Not got a subscription?

Details are in the blog further back or you can simply email and ask about getting this and other issues.


Friday, 19 March 2021

Paul Kossoff 1950 - 1976 - 45 Years

These things are never easy to write, and with March now sealing the timelines of Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff, and his father (my friend) David Kossoff, all within a week of each other, it's always going to be a bit of a sad start to the spring.

The fact that Paul has been gone for 45 years is astonishing. And when I consider how long I've been writing about him, his career, his music, and his continuing contribution to the sound of guitar players we hear today, well I guess it gives some comfort to know that he does have a great legacy. So today shouldn't be a low, it should be a celebration of all the great music he made over his recording lifetime, all available to us in whatever form you like best. So today, while I have a blast through 'I'm Ready' and other favourites, I hope you'll join me in celebrating the career of this fantastic guitar player... And don't forget to check out some of the film. 'Beat Club' material is easy to find on 'YouTube' and it always well worth viewing again.

We miss you Koss, but in some ways you never really left us. 




In other News FAS #155 is now moving through the system and I should have the magazines for packing and mailing by the end of next week.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021


Okay, finally we have some movement on the much delayed 'Highway' issues and the finishing (folding, stapling & cropping) of #155 will be done this week. This means I should have delivery of these magazines the week after, and (optimistically) should be able to get them out by the end of the month. I'll post on the blog (here) to let you know the day they go into the mail. So, check back in a week or so if you aren't 'following' the blog. The plan now (fingers crossed) is to get one magazine out each month, so the FAS will drop though your door in March, April, May and June - hopefully. Wow, not long back I was only doing two issues a year!

Don't forget it's the anniversary of Andy's passing today, so try and play a little something to remind yourself of just how good he really was. I can't believe it's six years already. The 'live' version of 'Mr Big' springs to mind of course, but the 'Andy Fraser Band' album really saw him shine as a composer, bassist and singer. Great record. And speaking of Andy...

... I should probably mention the large (but insanely priced) John Mayall boxed set 'The First Generation 1965-1974'. This £285+ set (Yup, seriously) has 35 CDs (though some are very short) and is well out of the price range of most people I would have thought. Certainly not an impulse purchase!

For me, not a huge Mayall fan, the interest is purely the two sessions for the BBC that feature Andy Fraser - 'Blues In Britian' from March 4th 1968 and 'Top Gear' from March 25th 1968. Much of the rest I would want, I already have. Seven session songs are here in total (and an interview with Mayall), running in at about 35 minutes total. These all fall onto CD 28 (Details below) and it has to be said the quality is pretty great. It does vary a bit, but it's all good for the age of it, and perfectly enjoyable. Musically it's 12-bar blues tunes of the type you would expect. They play 12-bar fast, and they play 12-bar slow. 

No surprises. Mayall did have a good band here, which of course featured Mick Taylor (who is excellent) as well as Fraser, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Keef Hartley. As we know the band in this form didn't last long, maybe only a couple of months, and these are the only known recordings. It has to be said the VERY YOUNG Fraser sounds tight and on the money, and he and Hartley make for quite a good rhythm section actually. Shame they didn't get on better at the time - or maybe not - as had Andy been retained for longer Free would have probably never existed!

Whether this box will be split up and sold as smaller sets later I can't say. Seems logical, otherwise all this stuff will be bootlegged to hell and I'm sure if you look hard enough you'll already find this set on torrent and download sites. The price alone will send many people looking on-line for uploaded files of the bits they want rather than the whole box - or even the whole box!

There is some good stuff in the hefty Mayall back catalogue, and some of it is here, but that outlay (again) is going to stop the majority of people dead in their tracks. It certainly did me, as did the cost of the current Sabbath Vol.4 5LP set. Bit of a shame really. I'd have liked both, but not at those prices... And I thought the King Crimson 1969 box was expensive! I've changed my mind! (26 disc set including HiRes blu-ray for about £140 -  and I did buy this one). No HiRes anything in the Mayall or the Sabbath (but this is beautifully remastered). For the later the lack of HiRes is a BIG oversight as far as I'm concerned, and at the price of the Sabbath CD set (4CDs £80+ - really?) it should have all been included in 96k on a Blu-ray. Oh well.

These 'new' releases didn't incur weeks or months of studio costs while they were recorded, it's all very old material, and it's recouped its outlay many, many times over the years. In countless cases this is all being bought by the same fans for the umpteenth time. Give them a bloody break. For this I find the cost of them unreasonable, and even perverse actually. It looks like a money grab, it smells like a money grab. Yup, it even tastes like a money grab. They should be half the price they are. Had they been so, I'd have bought them all. Given that, I didn't. That's my opinion. If you disagree, fair enough, get your wallet out!

Okay everyone. Keep safe and I'll let you know once the magazines are packed for mailing. From my point of view, and possibly yours, the sooner the better!!


Wednesday, 3 February 2021

FREE - 'Highway' issues

Well I thought perhaps it was time for a bit of an update, although the reality is we are still in kinda the same position. No moves forward, no moves back.

Two of the four FAS 'Highway' issues (#155 & #156) are printed, and while it was hoped we could get one of the magazines out during January, then the second in February, that sadly hasn't been the case as the 'finishers' aren't working - which in the current lockdown is fair enough. So while the magazine is actually 90% done, we have to wait until it can be folded, stapled and cropped. Yes, it's all a bit tiresome but the truth is it's better to wait until it's safe for people to work than to have someone become ill, and possibly die. There is enough of that going on, I don't see any reason to encourage it! Frustrating, yes - but it's not the end of the world by any means. As quickly as they can be done, they will be. As soon as I have them they'll go out immediately, and they'll be a post here on the FAS blog to say they are on their way.

The secondary part here would then would be delivery. The mail has been truncated like everything else. Basically right now, even within the UK, some things take a couple of days to arrive, and some take a couple of weeks. Once the magazines go out be patient, especially if you live overseas. The mail is  S.L.O.W.  to some places.

The third issue (#157) is ready to print, and the final (BIG) issue, #158, running in at 72 pages, just needs the introduction writing. Always the last piece of the jigsaw. I'm holding back on this a bit as anything can happen these days, but once things progress I'll get that done too. I'm not dealing so much with current news in the magazine at the moment. It's the anniversaries that matter to me at this point, and getting as much to do with that out as I can, but even so, I'll wait a bit longer before I commit to complete that preface.

The brilliant plan for 2021 had been to mail out one magazine a month, taking us up into April. So much for that then. These were in fact due to start in December 2020 but what can you do? Depending when we can get things on the move again there may be a couple of magazines coming out very quickly in some attempt to catch up a bit. It's tricky because I really don't want to start on the next issues (#159 forwards) until these are out of the way. Having them piling up is a bit... weird. I have begun basic compiling of the records from my collection regards the next phase, 'My Brother Jake' and 'Free Live!', but I've not sat and written anything yet. However, this is just an interruption rather than anything more terminal.

So, in the meantime lets have a little entertainment. First let's have a little bit of 'Mr. Big' from Gov't Mule, with Simon Kirke kicking it along handsomely. This is from the Beacon Theater in New York City, and was recorded on December 30th, 2014 and filmed by sgibson818. Nice version, everyone in great form -  especially Simon!

Finally here room for something quite a bit different, and not included in the magazines; Sylvia McNeil covering 'Be My Friend'. This was issued as a single in the UK by RCA Records (2058) on Friday March 5th, 1971. Somewhat over-produced by Tony Hall.  Was this a hit... No... of course not, and it's not that difficult to see why. It's certainly different! Notice the 'Rogers' spelling on the label. From vinyl here, as I've never seen this on CD, and am unlikely to do so I would have thought. What I really should point out is that Paul Kossoff had a copy of this in his record collection. Whether he liked it or not I have no idea! The B-side was 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'. Blimey!