Review Summary: ‘Tis a Heartbreaker indeed.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
This was Free’s sixth and final studio album. The band is finally back after their last two (let’s put it a bit mildly) unsuccessful records. Unfortunately, nor this one was meant to be a worthy follow-up of their first three albums but still it’s an underrated, solidly produced and well performed record; their first without bassist Andy Fraser who left the band in 1972 and who was until then providing most of the bulk of Free’s catalogue alongside Rodgers. Like this wasn’t enough, Paul Kossoff was technically no longer an active member of the group due to his severe drug addictions, but he’s present throughout much of the album, letting the pseudonymous “Snuffy” taking care of the rest of the guitar parts.
The record starts with the banging ‘Wishing Well’. Rodgers performance is amazing and very characteristic of the lead singer of Free and Bad Company, and the guitar parts are outstanding. Then there’s ‘Come together in the morning’ which is as emotional as it’s catchy refrain-beautifully composed with an eerie Kossoff solo. ‘Travellin’ in style’ is one of their best country-rock successes, with a horde of string instruments – a really ‘travelling’ song to listen to. You’ll also take notice of John “Rabbit” Bundrick’s keyboard playing, who is one of two additional members recruited by the band after Fraser’s departure.
Heartbreaker, the title track is a dark blues-rocker worthy to bear the album’s name. I just wish it was a little faster – as a matter of fact I wish Free in general had tried to play a bit faster, they would have been a total blast! I won’t say much about the other four remaining songs of the album since they’re quite similar to each other (four country-gospel originals) and don’t have much significance or pay tribute to the band’s artistic/creative value. Don’t get me wrong, their performance is spot on and Rodgers is finely tuned with Bundrick’s keyboard but to be honest with you I found this kind of dull for Free’s reputation and deliverance. Nevertheless the album’s last song ‘Seven Angels’ has to be credited to some of their strongest numbers with a brilliant bass riff and shrieky lead parts.
The album was a decent ‘swan song’ for Free, and in my opinion the first half of the album ranks amongst the band’s finest work.