FREE – Free Forever

FREE - Free Forever


Release date: September 18, 2006

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Free are considered by many as one of the finest acts to come from the shores of England. Along with Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath, Free were at the forefront of a golden age of British Rock music in the late 60’s/early 70’s, leaving a legacy of six studio albums and a thunderous live album between 1968 and 1972 before imploding amid internal band conflicts and drug-related problems.

Following the unearthing of a treasure trove of unreleased material and alternate versions in the sumptuous boxed set called Songs of Yesterday, the clamour for some visual treats has been growing from the loyal legions of Free fans eager to get their hands on some long, lost material. Well the wait is now over.

Free Forever represents an extensive and exhaustive trawl through the Free archives and reputedly contains all of the known footage currently available. Spread over 2 DVD’s and totaling over four and a half hours, much ground is covered over the course of the release, which includes long forgotten television appearances, promotional videos, live footage, and band interviews both new and old.

Disc 1 features footage from their appearance at The Beat Club in Germany in 1970, replete with embryonic psychedelic camera trickery, along with some excellent material from the in-studio performance for Granada TV. Singer Paul Rodgers is in particularly fine form on this session as the band run through five of their early classics, including a supercharged “All Right Now” before a rather sedate studio audience.

No fewer than five promotional videos are brought together for this package, ranging mainly from straightforward performance videos to a moving collage of still shots interspersed with some black and white live shots of Paul Kossoff for the poignant “Love You So.” Perhaps the most bizarre moment on the DVD is the almost early 80’s style concept video for “Wishing Well” in which you half expect Pat Benatar to show up at some point.

“The Free List” rounds up the odds and sods available from other sources, including an extensive 1970 interview with the band on Australian TV where Paul Rodgers’ Northeastern accent is much more pronounced than on the new interviews. Visual footage of the performance at Ealing College has been included for historical purposes, despite the absence of the audio and provides a compelling view of Free live.

Closing Disc 1 is a number of new interviews recorded especially for this DVD, with all three surviving members providing a fascinating insight into their time with the band, their live shows and how some of their greatest songs developed, while Simon Kossoff recalls vivid memories of time spent with his brother.

One of Free’s crowning moments was their appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 where the largest recorded crowd totaling over 600,000 (some say over 750,000) turned up to witness performances over three days by the likes of The Who, Sly and the Family Stone, and a career-defining performance by Jimi Hendrix, a month before his premature death.

The record of Free’s performance is captured for posterity over the course of Disc 2, unfortunately only three of the ten songs feature complete video footage, with the rest of the set being represented by still shots of the band and various pieces of memorabilia. It must be said, however, that the band is on fire during this performance, with Kossoff and Rodgers superb throughout. It’s just a shame that the visual element for much of the performance is missing, as this would have made this a truly special package.

Of songs with visuals (“Be My Friend,” “Mr Big,” and “All Right Now,” as well as a tantalizing snippet of their interpretation of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” caught just before the camera fades out), there are a number of different options to view from the “original” edit, to a “split-screen” version to the option to view the footage through any one of four different cameras, and this is simply superb.

Closing the package are further new interviews with the band, recanting tales of the Isle Of Wight shows and of their memories of Paul Kossoff and the eventual break up of the band.

Although some of the video footage may lack the finesse of modern DVD productions, as a historical document of a legendary band this is an essential and long overdue record of Free that will be snapped up by devotees and should be viewed by anyone with a passing interest in the roots of Rock music.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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