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20.4.09

Paul Kossoff




Paul Kossoff - The Best Of Paul Kossoff - 2003 - Track

Seventeen great tracks involving the late, great Paul Kossoff. During his short life, Paul played with bands like the legendary Free, Black Cat Bones, and Back Street Crawler. He is a very much underrated guitarist, and some of his greatest playing can be heard on Free's classic "Tons of Sobs" album

TRACKS / COMPOSER/S

The Hunter - Junior Wells, Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Booker T. Jones, Al Jackson, Jr.
The Stealer - Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff
Ride on a Pony - Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser
The Highway Song - Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff
Fire & Water - Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser
All Right Now - Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser
Mr. Big - Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff, Simon Kirke
Little Bit of Love - Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff, Simon Kirke
Molten Gold - Paul Kossoff
Back Street Crawler - Paul Kossoff
Hoo Doo Woman - Paul Kossoff
New York, New York - Mike Montgomery
Jason Blue - Mike Montgomery
The Band Plays On - Terry Wilson
Some Kind of Happy - Terry Wilson
Selfish Lover - John "Rabbit" Bundrick
Stop Doing What You're Doing - Paul Kossoff, Mike Montgomery, Terry Slesser

N.B: Tracks 1 - 8 with Free; Tracks 9, & 10 with Paul Kossoff ; Tracks 11 - 17 with Back Street Crawler

MUSICIANS

Conrad Isidore, Clive Chaman, & Jean Roussell play on "Back Street Crawler", & Jess Roden plays on "Molten Gold"

FREE

Paul Kossoff Guitar
Paul Rodgers
Simon Kirke
Andy Fraser

BACK STREET CRAWLER

Paul Kossoff
Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson - Slesser
Mike Montgomery
Tony Braunagel
John "Rabbit" Bundrick

REVIEW

In the early '70s, Paul Kossoff was a much-heralded young guitarist from a much-heralded young rock band called Free. In a short period of time, Kossoff and his cohorts punched out some classic rock. A brief solo career followed for the inspired axeman, but his untimely death in 1976 from a drug-related heart attack put an end to the potential that his peers and fans were looking forward to seeing fully realized. All one can do is celebrate and enjoy what this stylistically unique and utterly precocious musician left behind, and this 17-track disc, which culls Kossoff's best work from both his days with Free and as a solo performer, is an excellent way to do just that. A player who made his name with unusual phrasings, brazen fills, and an intuitive use of sustained notes -- and rarely going for fretboard-smoking speed -- Kossoff had a prototypical signature sound. His ability to do the work of two guitarists -- Free, for the most part, was a barebones guitar/bass/drums/singer outfit -- was one of his greatest strengths and, despite a good deal of studio dubbing, you can hear it in places on this album. The best cuts are definitely the eight Free tracks, which include the raunchy "The Hunter," the good-time rock-blues of "Ride on a Pony," the dramatic "Fire and Water" and "Mr. Big," and the band's all-time classic, "All Right Now." On yet another Free number, "The Stealer," Kossoff delivers one of his most searing solos, ripping arcane sounds from his Les Paul as if communicating a secret language through the instrument. The material from Kossoff's solo disc, Back Street Crawler, and the band of the same name which he subsequently assembled, is not to be sniffed at either. The songs, with the possible exceptions of "Molten Gold" and "New York New York," may not be as distinctive, but Kossoff's playing is. Throw in the fact that this album also features the singing of the inimitable Paul Rodgers (who later formed Bad Company), the stunning bass work of boy wonder Andy Fraser, and a swag of other fine musicians, and this one's vintage, baby, vintage. © Adrian Zupp, All Music Guide

BIO



Throughout the years, rock music has been littered with talented musicians whose lives were cut short due to drug-related deaths. Free/Back Street Crawler guitarist Paul Kossoff was one such casualty. Kossoff was born in London, England, on September 14, 1950, and early on studied classical guitar (before giving up on the instrument by his teenaged years). But upon discovering the British blues-rock movement of the '60s, Kossoff's interest in guitar perked up once again, especially after catching a John Mayall's Bluesbreakers live show with Eric Clapton. Kossoff soon purchased an electric guitar (a vintage Gibson Les Paul, which eventually become his trademark guitar) and began playing in local bands. Through one such band, Black Cat Bones, Kossoff became good friends with their drummer, Simon Kirke, who would serve a prominent part in Kossoff's musical future. Eventually feeling that the band had reached its zenith, the band broke up after the Black Cat Bones backed bluesman Champion Jack Dupree on a song called "When You Feel the Feeling." Kossoff and Kirke set out to form another group, hooking up with vocalist Paul Rodgers and bassist Andy Fraser, the quartet decided to go by the name Free (which was supposedly christened by British blues icon Alexis Korner). Just as the new band signed a deal with Island/A&M Records, Kossoff had fully blossomed into an outstanding guitarist, renowned for his fluid, slow, and melodic leads and bluesy riffs. Free issued a pair of albums in the late '60s that went largely unnoticed -- 1968's Tons of Sobs and 1969's self-titled release -- as Kossoff grew slightly disillusioned by the group's lack of commercial progress and tried out for guitar openings in such groups as the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull. But big-time success would prove to be just around the corner for Free as their 1970 release Fire and Water spawned the massive hit single (and eventual classic rock standard) "All Right Now" and helped secure the group a spot at the esteemed 1970 Isle of Wight Festival (which also included performances by the Who and Sly & the Family Stone, as well as one of the final performances ever by both Jimi Hendrix and the Doors). But, this would prove to be Free's commercial apex as after one more release, 1971's underappreciated Highway, the group brokeup. In the wake of their split, Free's record label issued the concert set Free Live, while its members indulged in other projects. Both Kirke and Kossoff decided to stay together, forming the short-lived Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit, along with bassist Tetsu Yamauchi and keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick, issuing a lone self-titled release the same year. To the delight of fans, Free's split was short-lived as the quartet reunited in 1972, offering a strong "comeback" album, Free at Last. But behind the scenes, things were in disarray: Kossoff, by this time, had developed a dangerous drug dependency, which led to Fraser's exit from the band. With Yamauchi taking Fraser's place in the lineup (and Bundrick on board for good measure), the new lineup of Free attempted to record a sixth studio album, but due to his problems, Kossoff's input was minimal (with Rodgers and another guitarist subbing in for Kossoff). When Free supported the resulting album, 1973's Heartbreaker, with a tour, Kossoff was replaced with Wendell Richardson and upon the tour's completion, Free split up once more, but this time for good (as both Rodgers and Kirke would go on to form Bad Company). The same year as Free's swan song, Kossoff was able to pull himself together long enough to record a solo album, Back Street Crawler, which surprisingly featured contributions from his former Free bandmates (as well as Yes drummer Alan White). Happy with the results, Kossoff decided to form a full-time solo outfit, named after the title of his solo debut. In addition to Kossoff, Back Street Crawler featured singer Terry Wilson-Slesser, keyboard player Mike Montgomery, bassist Terry Wilson, and drummer Tony Braunagel and the lineup signed on with Atlantic Records to issue a total of two releases -- 1975's The Band Plays On and 1976's Second Street. But Kossoff's health kept worsening; while in a London drug rehab in 1975, Kossoff narrowly escaped death when his heart stopped beating and he had to be revived. Undeterred, Kossoff continued on his destructive path and on March 19, 1976, Kossoff died from a drug-induced heart attack while on a plane flight from Los Angeles to New York at the age of 25. In the wake of his tragic death, a 16-track career retrospective of Kossoff's, titled Koss (after his nickname), was issued in 1977. Subsequently, several British Kossoff releases were issued in the '80s on the Street Tunes label: 1981's The Hunter, 1982's Leaves in the Wind, 1983's Mr. Big, and 1984's Croydon June 15th, 1975. The late '90s saw a renewed interest in Kossoff and another career retrospective was issued, 1997's 14-track Blue Blue Soul, as well as five-disc Free box set Songs of Yesterday, and a Free biography entitled Heavy Load -- The Story of Free. © Greg Prato, All Music Guide

5 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINKp/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

i'm constantly following your blog - always great music, for every taste.
i have even found music that i was searching for years.
i have, occasionally, written comments - you always find the time to answer or to refer to them.
but i must confess i don't feel i'm doing enough - after all you invest time & money to this blog.
so, i wish you could place a donation button somewhere to help me show my appreciation & support to your efforts.
grateful for the music, the blog & the time you spend to answer the comments i drop.
bye bye for now and consider what i just said before
Th.D. - Greece

DSJ said...

Thanks, great guitarrist

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, DSJ. Thanks for comment. Paul was a very underrated, and unfortunately he wasn't around long enough to do more work. I'm sure he would have produced some great solo work. Come back soon, DSJ

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Th.D, and hello Greece! Thanks a million for your comments. You are very kind in your donation button suggestion. I honestly post music for genuine music music lovers, and I really don't think much about expenses, etc. Your appreciative comments are payment in themselves. However, your idea is so kind that I will certainly consider it. Thanks again, and we'll talk again soon