Free – Fire And Water (1970)

frontcover1Fire and Water is the third studio album released by English rock group Free. The album became the band’s breakthrough hit, reaching #2 in the UK charts and #17 in the US, making it the most successful Free album.[citation needed] The album contained the hit single “All Right Now” which they later played to a crowd of over 600,000 people at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, generating great popularity (by wikipedia).

If Fleetwood Mac, Humble Pie, and Foghat were never formed, Free would be considered one of the greatest post-Beatles blues-rock bands to date, and Fire and Water shows why. Conceptually fresh, with a great, roots-oriented, Band-like feel, Free distinguished itself with the public like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple did (in terms of impact, only) in 1970. Free presented itself to the world as a complete band, in every sense of the word. From Paul Kossoff’s exquisite and tasteful guitar work, to Paul Rodgers’ soulful vocals, this was a group that was easily worthy of the mantle worn by Cream, Blind Faith, or Derek & the Dominos . ( by Matthew Greenwald)

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Free was nothing if not the proof that less is more; what distinguished them from their bloozerocking peers was the point that they didn’t need to shove themselves into overdrive to make their point. Minimalists in the best sense of the word, they set a legitimately funky rhythm section behind the strikingly simple but gripping guitar playing of the late Paul Kossoff and the thrusting vocals of Paul Rodgers and delivered as singular a hard bloozerock attack as could be found during their brief but bristling existence.
“Fire and Water” was their best selling album and still the album on which their reputation rests (though the predecessor, “Free,” was no less effective). The title track impressed Wilson Pickett enough to make a striking soul hit out of it. And “All Right Now” remains a masterpiece of pure rocking R and B fire; never mind Rodgers’s only too classic lyric of predatory obsession-compulsion (so he doesn’t get the girl in the sack, she’s too smart to fall for his jive, but you know damn well it isn’t going to stop him from hunting fresh prey and probably landing one less gullible), the chunky verse playing is relentless, and that classic midsection, piano and bass nudging Kossoff to his most memorably melodious solo (that’s saying something considering his consistency), is impossible to resist. The album cut has long since buried the hit single version (which contained a different rhythm guitar sound, shortened up that midsection a little bit, and eliminated the second verse coda entirely; it’s available on the new anthology of the band, and it’s worthy in its own right), and you probably know a few dozen “classic rock” bar bands who give it a whirl at least once a night and get a guaranteed round of applause with it after they’ve cranked out a little Bad Company to whet the appetite a bit. (by BluesDuke)

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Personnel:
Andy Fraser (bass, piano)
Simon Kirke (drums, percussion)
Paul Kossoff (guitar)
Paul Rodgers (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Fire and Water (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.03
02. Oh I Wept (Rodgers/Kossoff) 4.29
03. Remember (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.29
04. Heavy Load (Fraser/Rodgers) 5:23
05. Mr. Big (Fraser/Rodgers/Kirke/Kossoff) 5.58
06. Don’t Say You Love Me (Fraser/Rodgers) 6.07
07. All Right Now (Fraser/Rodgers) 5:42
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08. Oh I Wept (alternate vocal take) (Rodgers/Kossoff) 4.25
09. Fire And Water (new stereo mix (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.27
08. Fire And Water (live BBC session) (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.12
09. All Right Now (live BBC Session) (Fraser/Rodgers) 5.33
10. All Right Now (Single version) (Fraser/Rodgers) 4.18
11. All Right Now (first version) (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.31

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I would like dedicate the song “Fire And Water” to a very special lady !

 

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