He was just 25 years old. “Paul Rodgers was about three feet from my face. “And everybody knew what he wanted it for.”. , Kossoff's guitar playing was also much in demand for session work and he contributed solos on several albums including: Jim Capaldi's Oh How We Danced (1972) and Short Cut Draw Blood (1975); Martha Veléz's Fiends and Angels (1969); The Amazing Blondel's Mulgrave Street (1974); Uncle Dog's Old Hat (1972), Michael Gately's Gately's Cafe (1971) and Mike Vernon's 1971 album Bring It Back Home..
The live album Free Live! In September, the band were due to play a festival in Belgium to launch their debut album. “There was an instant spark,” concurred Rodgers. Then came the night in December 1965 when he saw Eric Clapton with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in concert.
“Backstage afterwards there was champagne flying everywhere, like the Grand Prix,” remembers John Taylor.
Within a year, Kossoff had joined the north London blues group Black Cat Bones and impressed them with a confidence and stagecraft that belied his 5ft 3in stature. Blackwell wrote him a cheque for £20,000 on the spot. Free were on tour when they were told the single had jumped from No.30 to No.4 and they were due on Top Of The Pops the next day. Simon Kirke has said "He clearly had a predisposition." “It started howling and feeding back. Five months before his death, Kossoff told a journalist, “There’s nothing outside music, I have no hobbies, I just want to play.” That was always part of the problem.
But disaster had struck early in the tour after Kossoff attacked John Glover with a whiskey bottle. “God bless Wendell, but he wasn’t Koss, and this wasn’t Free,” says Rabbit Bundrick. I didn’t know what to do.”.
I’d never seen him look like that good before. Paul attended his first concert, Tommy Steele at the London Palladium, aged eight. , Aged nine Kossoff started classical guitar lessons with Blanche Monroe. Once again, it all fell apart in Newcastle, where he had a seizure backstage at The Mayfair. Ride On Pony 5. That was the end.”. , In 2012, one of his most famous and iconic guitars, a 1959 Gibson Les Paul, was recreated and made into a limited edition reissue by Gibson and named the 'Paul Kossoff 1959 Les Paul Standard'. “They sort of dragged me out of my pit,” admitted Kossoff. However, in Paul Kossoff’s case, parts of 1973 and ’74 were lost to his escalating drug use, which, for a time, also included heroin. © Free was Kossoff’s life.”. “Paul was a lovely person,” says Taylor now. Kossoff considered its soulful slow blues Be My Friend “the best thing we’ve ever done”. But as John Glover observes, “It was Free against the world. Glover was impressed by Koss’ playing, and approached Chris Blackwell for a record deal. I remember getting into Koss’ car and his dad had stuck these typed-out instructions on the dashboard: ‘Are you fit to drive?’, ‘Turn on headlights’…”. BA1 1UA.
And in the meantime, 17-year-old Simon Kirke was a drummer in search of a gig. “Geoff was the top promoter in the north east, but I was the manager and this is what I do.”, In January ’75, to test Kossoff’s reliability, Glover put him on the road with John Martyn: “He played a few songs a night with John, and it was great – for a couple of weeks. Footage from the show captured them at the height of their powers; Kossoff wincing and gurning as if every note played was having a physical effect on his being. “I loved him to death,” he said, in a statement more prescient than anyone could have imagined. Taylor, Glover and the band, except for Rabbit and Terry Slesser, were due to fly to New York that night with the master tapes for 2nd Street. At the heart of their appeal is Paul Rodgers’ voice and Paul Kossoff’s spare, soulful guitar playing. Free played a ‘final’ show at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse on May 9 1971, and then flew home – separately. Black Cat Bones knew what was coming. The subsequent UK tour saw flashes of the old Kossoff, but far too many moments of high farce and terrible chaos. On one occasion, bassist Terry Wilson kicked Koss’ door in and physically removed a dealer from his hotel suite. Worse still, Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers were clashing: Rodgers resented the bass player’s self-appointed leadership; Fraser thought the band’s singer looked down on him. What united these songs was a rawness, and a guitarist whom, to quote Alexis Korner, knew not to play too many notes and knew how “to use silence”. “And Paul would go off into a dream-like state more than the rest of us.”, Frustratingly, when Kossoff was straight he could still play beautifully. Looking for some great streaming picks? How about we help him and put the band back together, just for a tour?’”. But he also had a taste for what his father called “dangerous pursuits… the risky rather than the peaceful”. “And we also had reels and reels of Paul playing on his own.” Molten Gold, with Paul Rodgers on vocals, and the John Martyn collaboration Time Away were exquisite reminders of just how good he could be. Taylor was tasked with driving Kossoff to the airport in the morning. Songs Of Yesterday 7. Mr. Big 6. On tour, Koss could be perfectly lucid one minute, but when the Mandrax kicked in, he’d struggle to find the switch on his amp. Mark Blake Check out our list of the month's most anticipated films and shows to stream from home. Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Brian May and Joe Bonamassa are just some of those who’ve paid homage to Kossoff and his sound. Both albums showcased the band's blues- and soul-influenced sound, a style that was in contrast to some of their progressive and heavier counterparts at the time. Docherty allowed him to drink alcohol, but the guitarist insisted on crème de menthe, not the most popular drink in Sunderland: “So I went round every pub in town, buying whatever they had left in the bottles.” At the end of the night, Koss would stagger up the 24 flights, with Docherty goading him on like a regimental sergeant major: “And it worked. Before long, he was playing in a school group and upsetting the neighbours by rehearsing in the Kossoff’s garage.
I thought, ‘I’m onto a winner here’.”, But it wasn’t to be. “When those two fell out, it all fell apart,” says Glover. The chemistry between the four was instantaneous. Paul Kossoff wasn’t one of them.”. “My playing was still very primitive at this time, but it had something in common with the way he sang,” said Kossoff. “That guitar and him were as one,” says Digby-Smith, who watched, amused, as another unnamed guitarist picked up Koss’ Les Paul, switched on his Marshall amp and struggled to play a note. Kossoff had been prescribed Mogadon to help with his withdrawal. Following the break-up, Kossoff moved into a house in Golborne Mews, off London’s Portobello Road, and turned it into a drug den/shrine to Jimi.  Kossoff's bandmate in Black Cat Bones was drummer Simon Kirke, and the two went on to play on Champion Jack Dupree's April 1968 album When You Feel the Feeling You Was Feeling. Within a year, Bad Company’s debut album was a US No.1 hit. “I went through a big Hendrix thing, where I was infatuated by him, his music and his death,” he admitted. He used Mandrax among other drugs. And what happened? Kirke wasn’t sure about the band, but loved the guitarist: “He was a little bloke with a mane of long hair.” What impressed him most was that Kossoff wasn’t trying to compete with lightning-fingered players such as Clapton. At a gig at Newcastle City Hall, he collapsed after playing just two numbers.
Sandie shook Paul awake, and then he crawled on all fours – like a dog – pulled a cheque book out of the drawer, signed this cheque and handed it to the dealer.”. Before long, a group of NYPD officers had trooped on to the aircraft.
Paul Rodgers’ description of Paul Kossoff’s “intense, emotional” relationship with music is reinforced by his reaction to Jimi Hendrix’s death. Kossoff was delighted when the band showed up at the Starwood, and Rodgers and Kirke jumped up on stage to jam with them. “Paul Rodgers said, ‘That’s it. He was most notably a member of the band Free. John Glover is certain Kossoff played in an early five-man line-up of Bad Company, and has the tape to prove it (“Rodgers won’t let me put it out.”). Future Publishing Limited Quay House, The Ambury, Koss crept back to Free before anyone noticed. She was good,” says Glover – but it was no use. Following its release, Fraser decided he had had enough, and quit to form Sharks. “But the flight was only 30 per cent sold out, we’d all moved around, so I didn’t think anything of it.”.
But he was too stoned, too unreliable, and the group continued without him. Both the album and the single Wishing Well went Top 10. “We were a blues band, so we decided on Free, which we thought was something a bit more nebulous.”. All Right Now was released in May 1970. , In December 2015 Bonhams listed for auction a Gibson Les Paul Standard owned by Kossoff from 1970–1976. Fire And Water 3. Instead, Kossoff meandered between jam sessions and occasional pub gigs. Geoff had promoted enough Free shows to know they were on the skids: “Paul’s playing had gone downhill, and you could see the frustration in Paul Rodgers’ face at the end of every song.”. “Then there was a knock at the door and a dealer outside. “It was almost religious. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? Paul struggled academically, but his strong, squat fingers made light work of forming shapes and chords. “I’d spent four, maybe five years, being one fourth of a whole personality which was Free,” Kossoff told music paper Sounds. I'll Be Creepin' 8. Their name, ‘Free’, reflected the foursome’s stripped- down approach in the post-Sgt. Koss’ girlfriend, Sandie Chard, tried to reason with him – “She stuck around. “We had no tools to help him,” says Paul Rodgers, “unlike today.”.
But the flight was undersold. Walk In My Shadow and a swaggering take on Booker T And The MGs’ The Hunter bottled the aggression John Glover witnessed at the showcase. But it was Island’s way of getting the guitarist working again.
However, in Paul Kossoff’s case, parts of 1973 and ’74 were lost to his escalating drug use, which, for a time, also included heroin. The band played with touring blues piano player Champion Jack Dupree, often supporting Fleetwood Mac and other gigs with Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green. He was most notably a member of the band Free . “There was a lot of recreational drink and drug activity going on,” he says now. He saw Black Cat Bones backing New Orleans pianist Champion Jack Dupree at a pub in south London, and joined them soon after. Kirke found the break-up hard, but Kossoff was devastated. God!’ He really caught my attention.”. He went back on tour and didn’t have a hope of staying clean.”, Shortly after, Kossoff gave an interview to Bob Harris on the BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test. By then, everybody knew the awful truth. Rodgers had caught gonorrhoea and moved into Fraser’s mother’s house in Roehampton to recuperate. Three days later, Black Cat Bones joined Champion Jack Dupree at CBS studios to play on his album, When You Feel The Feeling You Was Feeling. He’d spend days and nights slumped on the sofa in Golborne Mews, Hendrix playing, as dealers and hangers-on drifted in and out. Instead, the light of Free and Back Street Crawler’s Paul Kossoff shone briefly – and burned out quickly, It was the air stewardess’ scream that told them something was very wrong. Paul Kossoff was born on September 14, 1950 in London, England. “I fed him grilled fish, spring cabbage and orange juice,” he recalls. There was a problem. Free toured with Osibisa guitarist Wendell Richardson instead.
Korner suggested his daughter Sappho’s boyfriend, a 15-year-old, part-English, Barbadian and Guyanese musician named Andy Fraser.  The band played the Isle of Wight festival to both audience and critical acclaim, and sellout tours in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Japan followed. As the only one with a licence, Kossoff drove the band’s Transit, clocking up hundreds of miles week after week. A second album, simply called Free, emerged in October.
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