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Released: November 1969
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Hard Rock
Label: Transatlantic Records
Number Of Tracks: 9
Excellent, prog flavored, heavy hard rock. Well worth investigating probably overlooked a lot.
Little Free Rock
Oliver_White3, on july 25, 2014 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: This would be the only official studio album released by the group and was done in 1969, a rather short but very pleasing and well composed album with original songs done as completely solid rock trio. Little Free Rock was a Heavy Rock Trio from Preston in Lancashire, England. Peter Illingworth (lead guitar and vocals), Paul Varley (drums) and Frank Newbold (bass guitar and vocals). Eponymous album was released in November 1969, and they were an evolution of Purple Haze as they were originally called and their psychedelic nuances created great interest from their conception in early 1968. Purple Haze were a highly respected three piece outfit formed originally performing covers of songs from bands like the Who, Creation, Tomorrow etc. but quickly developing a style and presentation of their own. To avoid association with Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," the name was changed to Little Free Rock from the meaning of their names. Paul means "Little,"Frank means "Free" and Peter the "Rock." // 8
Lyrics: Unfortunately, LFR were then unable to record for Transatlantic or anyone else for that matter, which was sad as the original contract was for 6 albums over a three year period. Peter Green founding member of the original Fleetwood Mac had joined the band for a short period, with gigs arranged at the Marquee and the Lyceum and invited Little Free Rock to perform on sessions for his solo album. Sadly, after only one gig at a club called "The Night Angel Club" in Soho, Peter decided that he was having too much hassle with Ginger Johnson about fees for the recording and he backed out. The tracks were never released.
"Roman Summer Nights" is impressive and shows the band in a psychedelic and new kind of rock form that really sounds like they weren't a trio as they had that much skill and power maybe not as good as the Jimi Hendrix Experience but there is some dreamy mellotron background with nonpartisan guitar solos and a quite nice vocal combination. "Blud" yet again features that beautiful mellotron but progresses beautifully in sync with the guitar and bass riffs and pulls gravity until the final solo and catch bass runs in and the song picks up more pass as killer licks take hold with more smooth and well executed vocals and all out intensity and power of a three man rock outfit really being the whole climax of the album and my personal pick. "Castles in the Sky" brings out a quite nice little riff and then goes into more fantastic settings as the mellotron yet again adds that flair here and along with bass drums sounding like a mix between Cream and the Moody Blues reminding me of a close song by Cream in similar theme on "Disraeli Gears" released but a couple years earlier, however the originality is there in perfection as Peter Illingworth solos in a strong prog rock formation and goes back and forth between great tasteful vocals and solo bits and this band really reaches a great intensity and speed near the end that just keeps me hooked as the mellotron is just rising in the background.
"Dream" definitely has a strong Blue Cheer kind of focus on it with a close sounding riff and emphasis on the whole rhythmic pounding and more distortion added in Hendrix inspiration but with closer to Moody Blues Sounding vocals, there isn't much rough screaming given but still just as heavy. I thought "Evil Woman" would be another cover as Spooky Tooth and Canned Heat but it was totally original with great songwriting there just is always a too short length but the bridges and progression throughout the song and how everything merges is just well thought out. "Age of Chivalry" sounds quite close to a medieval theme type of Deep Purple stuff when they were in there original lineup and great epic glockenspiel to add close to something like "Anthem" which Deep Purple had just done on their self titled album also released in 1969, although not like Rod Evans it's a great combination for being able to sing well and play guitar like this. // 9
Overall Impression: The album does sound dated as most stuff does for the most part but there is also a slight modern and ahead sound and certain tracks like "Blud" and "Roman Summer Nights" really give the album that boost with great guitar work, the only other disappointment is that there isn't enough length but they still had their own semblance even though they were inspired like many others by rock giants at the time.
Deepurpulesque (1968-1969). Proto-prog? Yes, perhaps, but the subject is rather Hard rock and sixties psychedelic blues-rock. The choice of the order of tracks on the CD is different than the original vinyl which is a bit intriguing. And the longest track, relegated at the end of disc originally, is the third track on the CD. The sound has (thankfully) not been remastered so that you has a "sound" typical late 1960 involved the happiness of listening to this album.
One of the best hard rock albums of an era that had not yet invented the hard rock. We are still at the edge of several kinds ... Acid, psyche, prog and heavy. The album offers fine and cutting compounds, a very subtle and understated production with a versatile guitar capable of aggressive solos. For the sixties it's very powerful but expressive and well placed, are a little below the level of competition (Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and others. The very long "Making Time" goes up to ten minutes and is pretext for the usual series of solos that will wound groups hard the next decade.
Excellent, prog flavored, heavy hard rock. Well worth investigating probably overlooked a lot. // 8