Andy Fraser Of Free

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Funkster, May 12, 2001.

  1. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I know I'm getting up there in age, Do any of you guy's remember the band Free? I just picked up the Disc Fire and Water and Live they had it going on in the early 70's!
    Andy Fraser was a monster on the bass. I had the album in the 80's but I haven't heard anything except Alright Now in the last ten years. The song Mr Big is like a ten minuet bass solo! Real good stuff and highly recommended for some good listening.
  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Definitely one of my big favorites also! I love Gov't Mule's remake of Mr. Big....Allen Woody really nailed that feel.
  3. great stuff, there is also a video of them i got about 2 years ago. pretty good.
  4. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Hey mean Mule video or Free video? Man, I'd kill to catch some old Free footage. They came around a little before my time. The Mule, I've seen a hunnerd times...
  5. Free, The video is called "The Best of Free"

    it is put out by PMV or polygram, its 1/2 live have not about an hour long.

    it is pretty good, not the best music video i have seen but not bad. I don't know if it is available still.
  6. I used to have a live bootleg LP of theirs. It was full of great grooves! Much better even than the studio stuff. I wish I had caught them live.
  7. a little update, the video is available at, do a search on Free then after you goto their list goto the bottom of the page and find "more about Free" then click on video.

    Then video has some good clips of Andy, in Mr. Big Andy is more active with the guitar solo so guess who is on the tape, also seeing that Paul Rogers is in the band and Andy is the bass player. . .well you can figure it out. Not a bad video all and all but, if I was to watch a music video it would probally be one of the King Crimson ones or one of the Alice Cooper ones.
  8. I would love to find a video from the "Billion Dollar Babies" tour. I saw that one live, and it was one of the most entertaining things I have ever seen.
  9. I hear that F5, there isn't much out there with the original band which was the best version in my opinion, there is one called Prime Cuts that is kind of a documentary it is pretty good but doesn't have enough Dennis in it, there is another called Welcome to my Nightmare that is OK but the video and sound quality are low, there are 2 more from the 80's not bad but the band members lack compared to the original and Welcome to my nightmare lineups. The new one Brutal Planet has a lot of new songs in it but the band is more up to par than the last two tapes, I think it is only available on DVD.
  10. I saw the Nightmare tour also. Suzi Quatro
    was the opening act! Remember her? And her brother Michael?
  11. Darn F5 I wish I was old enough to have gone to that stuff but I was 10.

    Above my computer is a tour poster from that concert I even got it nicely framed so I can keep it forever. In big letters at the bottom it says "Special Guest Star SUZI QUATRO"
    I remember her from the show Happy Days.

    The tour poster is from the Memorial Coliseum
    June 20, 1975 8:00pm

    Glad to meet another fan, I first got into AC because of the song Schools Out, I bought it when I was in sixth grade, a few years latter I listened to the rest of the album and wanted to be a bass player. Some great bass on that disk. :)
  12. Alice was so good back then. I can't say that I've heard much of his new stuff in the last 10 years or so, I think he really hit the top with "Nightmare".
    The earlier stuff with Dennis Dunaway had some wonderful bass work. "Billion Dollar Babies" and "School's Out" both have some fantastic bass on them. His recorded tone was great.

    Suzi Quatro is best remembered for her Happy Days gig I think. She was much more popular in Europe. That's a shame, because her band rocked pretty heavy.

    Her brother Michael was/is a very talented keyboardist who put out a couple of albums- one had Rick Derringer and Flo & Eddy on it. Very bizarre. I wonder where the Quatros are these days....

    Anyway, back to Free...........
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Andy's music career has been bizarre to say the least. He was out of Free by 1972 and never again got into a commercially successful prject.

    I have a few of his post-Free LPs. The best is the first Sharks album (a band that never got it's due to say the least). He then seemed to give up on the bass and became a songwriter instead. I have a late 70s solo LP of blue-eyed soul material cut in Muscles Shoals where he just sings. He sounds a lot like Paul Rodgers!!! The last album I know of was one recorded for Atlantic in the mid 1980s. He also collaborated with Frankie Miller (another unsung UK rocker) in the 80s.

    His style on bass fascinates me, it's like a combination of Jack Bruce and Paul McCartney. His outrageous phrasing and "less is more" approach still sound fresh today, I think.

    It's interesting to compare Free with Bad Company. While Mick Ralphs or Boz Burrell were very "meat and potatoes" compared to Kossoff and Fraser, Ralphs' songwriting and arranging skills were the secret ingredients that Free was lacking.
  14. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    brianrost you hit the nail right on the head! It's to bad we never got to hear his post Free bass playing evolve.
    Do you know what he's doing now??
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...after all these years, I finally plunked down the $7 & picked up Fire And Water(my only Free album was their Live one). Anyway, wow...the 1st tune is exactly what Bad Company became.
    Fraser-gurus: Was Fraser playin' his Gibson bass on this record? And is it me or what; the last tune, "Alright Now", sounds so much 'better'(the mix, engineering, blend)than the rest of the disc.

    Also, since this thread has mentioned Dennis Dunaway-
    I was bored last night & transcribed both "Blue Turk" & "Crazy Little Child", 2 of DD's buried 'gems'(IMO).
    There's about a 50+ bar 'jam'/improv/quasi-'swing' section in "Blue Turk"; maybe Dunaway doin' his impression of "So What"(?). The entire solo section is a swing/walk in "D minor"...kinda raw vs. more experienced Jazz walkin', nevertheless, IMO, it sounds like DD has a clue & is searchin'.
    The verse figure is pretty 'funky', too...the long chromatic descent(from the highest "D" on the "G"-string down to "Bb" on the "A"-string)is too cool! ;)

    "Crazy Little Child" is from Muscle Of Love(got this disc for Xmas back in '73, FINALLY found it on cd last week for $14!...SOLD!).
    The tune is a shuffle/Blues...nice ensemble playing by all. How weird is a clarinet solo on a '70s Hard Rock album?! ;)
  16. Hey JimK.
    I have never seen Andy play anything but a Gibson.
    I agree for some reason All right now does sound a lot cleaner that the rest of the disk. Maybe the recorded it elsewere or with some one else behind the console.

    DD one of my favorites.
    The long walk on Blue Turk is heaven to me.
    Another great on is near the end of Elected on BDB.
    The lyrics are perfect Alice. Alot of the songs have a Funky/Jazz bass groove. Public Animal, Looney Tune are great. Muscle of Love is a labeled as a low point for the original band but I think it has some real good tracks. Hard Hearted Alice aways hit a sweet spot with me, Muscle of Love has a great riff with the bass keeping pace with the guitars nice classic muddy chord slides. Woman machine, Big Apple dreaming, Crazy little child, and Teenage Lament '74 all missed hits but still classics in their own way.
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    When I resurrected this thread, I thought you'd swing by.
    Thanks for that info on Fraser.

    I definitely agree with you about Dunaway; he's listened to a bunch of R&B..."Public Animal" is a cool tune; "Long Way To Go", too has an R&B-ish groove with some a funky bass figure(towards the end) + a jazzy walk down here & there.

    Another one of his staples-
    The OPEN-string drone(usually the Open "D")found on "Dead Babies" & "Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets".

    Now, I'm kinda miffed I never bought Pretties For You...held it in my hands many times, never pulled the trigger! ;)
    That's OOP, right?
  18. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Not exactly true. While they weren't big in the US, his post-Free band, Sharks, were successful in Europe. They are one of my favorite bands, and Fraser's stamp is everywhere. The song "Snakes and Swallowtails" centers on a great bass line. He also worked with Frankie Miller for a while.

    Funny you mention the Quatros - I got to open a show for Michael Quatro around the time he released Paintings.
  19. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    great thread guys!
    i love both DD and Free and you gave me great informations. thanks!
  20. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    And while we're on the subject of Dennis Dunaway - also one of my favorites - one of his coolest lines was in "Blue Turk". I still play around with that opening of "Gutter Cat vs. The Jets", too.