Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Free - Mouthful of Grass

While writing my last review on Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” I took it upon myself to re-listen to all the Procol Harum songs I have on my computer, which was not very many, so I re-listened to my copy of their debut album, the only album of theirs I own, and when that failed to satisfy I took to youtube and listened to “Shine on Brightly” and “A Salty Dog,” thus I was satisfied. As I began putting words to my review youtube auto-played they next full album on the site, Humble Pie’s self titled debut album, it was rocking and groovy so I let it play, and I enjoyed it. Next up Free’s self titled album, so I let it ride.

Free, the band, is one of many early British rock groups that help innovate rock and roll in the sixties. Free is also of important note because they were pianist and singer Paul Rodgers first rock band and he went on to form Bad Company, a very success, radio popular and generally pretty damn good band.

I had never truly heard of Free prior to this moment, though upon deeper listening I confess that I have heard “All Right Now” on the radio before many times, but that is all. I absorbed the debut album with delight and then next on the playlist was “The Best of Free,” alright then. I liked the self-titled album a lot more then the greatest hits and that is an odd outcome in theory; however I believe I can pinpoint the specific factor that made me love the album “Free” and it is the song “Mouthful of Grass.”

I really enjoyed the tracks “Woman,” “Free Me,” and “Broad Daylight” but the song that plays before all three of these is the one that really won me over, “Mouthful of Grass.”

“Mouthful of Grass” is an instrumental at least it has no human voice except the chanting that at time fills the harmony which I assume is Rodger’s voice. The song is primarily a rather simple guitar song. Bass player Andy Fraser plays the six-string in “Mouthful of Grass” and the original demo version contain only the rhythm section played by Fraser and the song is built upon this simple but great guitar part. I presume lead guitarist Paul Kossoff plays the lead section of “Mouthful of Grass” which helps to flesh out the song. Between Kossoff’s guitar and Rodger’s voice “Mouthful of Grass” becomes quite a mellow masterpiece. However despite feeling a little naked on its own, the rhythm section is the truly best and most charming part of the song, as heard here in the solo version:

Solo Version:

As stated so many times before I really, really like the sound of acoustic guitar and in turn I love taking in the sounds of a good guitar song, and that is surely why “Mouthful of Grass” was so thoroughly enjoyed by me upon discovering it. “Mouthful of Grass” is not Free’s most popular song, it is utterly absent from any of their greatest hits compilations, it is not a song of theirs that gets a great deal of appreciation or love from fans and critics alike, hell Free is largely a forgotten band these days. This is the sort of perfect song for a music in review, a band that very few people remember and even fewer talk about have a great gem of a song (several in fact) that few fans remember and effectively none of which talk about.

I consider it an honour to point to songs like “Mouthful of Grass” and have people listen to it, likely for the first time. Great music never dies and the longer you listen and the deeper you dig into the chronicles of classic rock, or any genre, you constantly discover new wonderful things. I had never even heard of Free a month ago just image what I will stumble across next? What will you discover from the past, the present or the future in your ever growing music collection? This is what it is all about, this is what you want as a music lover, this is what I live for.

- King of Braves

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