Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Music from Free Creek CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.15 | 9 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars MUSIC FROM FREE CREEK is one of those strange releases that only could've come out in the free spirit era of the late 1960s / early 1970s. This various artists album went under the fictitious band name FREE CREEK but in reality was a collection of session recordings from 1969 that included dozens of musicians including the famous names Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Keith Emerson, Buzz Felten, Mitch Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and Dr. John.

This album featured 18 tracks, each with a different set of musicians basically performing jamming sessions on various themes and sometimes cover songs from famous bands such as The Beatles' "Mother Nature's Son" which inadvertently caused a logically nightmare concerning copyrights and other legal wrangling. The sessions were recorded in 1969 but wouldn't find an actually release until 1973 in England on Charisma Records and in the US on Buddha Records as a double-vinyl set. Lake Eerie Records finally rereleased a remastered CD in 2006.

This is basically a show up and let loose set of material here. All these impromptu showcases a diverse set of musicians in the moment with no worries or pressures from record company execs. Given the rather spontaneous nature of the whole thing, these tracks turned out pretty damn good i must admit with particular kudos to Keith Emerson's amazing adaptability to craft keyboard solos around virtually anything. The album is mostly instrumental but a few vocal parts do occur.

Most of the tunes are based on a bluesy rock style with soloing and period organ sounds but Linda Ronstadt offers some country rock tunes which have been universally deemed as sounding out of place and break's the otherwise seamless flow of the album's constant nature. I tend to agree with these although for country rock songs Linda does an amazing job and the musicians are quite competent as well. My favorite tracks are more of the boogie shuffle styled ones such as "Earl's Shuffle" featuring Harvey Mandel on lead guitar and Jimmy Greespoon playing a mean organ while augmented by an excellent slide guitar.

Tracks like "Getting Back To Molly" exemplify the free spirit mood on this release. With a jamming bluesy groove of Eric Clapton on guitar with Dr John joining in as a second guitarist, the baritone vocal deliveries of Earl Down and the backing Free Creeks Singers offer the perfect glimpse into the sounds of an undisclosed bayou in Louisiana as if Parliament, Three Dog Night and Taj Mahal had secretly gotten together to record. There are also rumors that many other artists participated in these sessions but due to legal reasons remained anonymous. Such names that are brandished about in Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan.

Apparently the then 19-year old organist Moogy Klingman provided an interview for the booklet on the reissue recounting the tales of working in these projects. This is certainly one of those albums that gives a glimpse into a less controlled aspect of the music industry for the era it was crafted since by 1969 rock music had become the dominant music form and controlled by the record industry with an iron fist. I wouldn't call this album essential by any means but it is a much more brilliant and pleasing to the ears experience than i expected it to be. Well worth checking out despite the rather ridiculous album cover art of a chained young Tarzan(?) waiting to be consumed by a bird of prey! Definitely one for the anomalous release in the history book!

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.