FREE Wish­ing Well

Richard Bar­rett takes a look at this lat­ter­day Free clas­sic with tips on tone and tech­nique, plus a full tran­scrip­tion and back­ing track.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

This clas­sic Free track has the lot: great riffs, fan­tas­tic feel, cool tones, neat pro­gres­sion and a tasty but not-so-dif­fi­cult-to-play Paul Kos­soff solo. Just toss in a coin and off you go!

Recorded dur­ing the ses­sions for their fi­nal al­bum Heart­breaker in late 1972, Wish­ing Well re­mains one of Free’s most en­dur­ing hits – even though it’s far from typ­i­cal when com­pared to the ma­jor­ity of their pre­vi­ous out­put. Their unique blend of soul and rock had usu­ally been topped with Paul Rodgers’ peer­less vo­cals and Paul Kos­soff’s ex­tra­or­di­nary gui­tar skills – all in the con­text of stripped down ar­range­ments, with min­i­mal use of ef­fects or other ‘mod­ern’ pro­duc­tion tech­niques.

On this track, we find a much big­ger sound­ing line-up fea­tur­ing multi-lay­ered har­mony vo­cals awash with re­verb; heav­ier, more sim­plis­tic gui­tar pow­er­chords and a dense, com­plex mix that must have seemed very mod­ern in­deed when it was re­leased in 1973. There are sev­eral rea­sons why we’re hear­ing such a dif­fer­ent band to the one that recorded Fire And Wa­ter and All Right Now a cou­ple of years ear­lier. Bassist Andy Fraser had left in mid 1972 – not only was his style ex­tremely dis­tinc­tive, but he had co-writ­ten some of the big­gest hits with Paul Rodgers. John ‘Rab­bit’ Bundrick had joined full-time on key­boards, help­ing to fill the gap left by Paul Kos­soff’s of­ten in­con­sis­tent per­for­mances, caused by his de­clin­ing health and wors­en­ing strug­gle with drug ad­dic­tion.

This is al­most cer­tainly the rea­son Kos­soff’s taut, in­ven­tive rhythm gui­tar is ab­sent from this par­tic­u­lar track. There doesn’t ap­pear to be a defini­tive mu­si­cian’s list­ing for Wish­ing Well. In fact, Kos­soff is not cred­ited as hav­ing played on it at all! He ap­pears on the al­bum’s cred­its as an ad­di­tional mu­si­cian, how­ever, con­tem­po­rary ac­counts, in­clud­ing the first-hand mem­o­ries of drum­mer Si­mon Kirke, in­di­cate that Kos­soff did in­deed play the lead gui­tar. It’s cer­tainly in keep­ing with his soul­ful, eco­nomic style. It seems the rhythm gui­tars were tracked by both Paul Rodgers and ‘Snuffy’ Walden (who would later be­come a very suc­cess­ful film and TV com­poser – any­one re­mem­ber The Won­der Years?).

There are al­ter­na­tive mixes out there, in­clud­ing one with Snuffy Walden tak­ing the solo in place of Kos­soff, but our GT ver­sion is mod­elled af­ter the clas­sic UK sin­gle re­lease. Due to the mul­ti­ple gui­tar over­dubs, we’ve ar­ranged the tran­scrip­tion to com­bine the main points of the rhythm gui­tar with the over­dubbed lead fills and solo – in much the same way you would to play through in a sin­gle ‘pass’ for a live per­for­mance.

We’ve left one of the rhythm gui­tars on the back­ing mix (panned slightly to the right, as on the orig­i­nal track) to help recre­ate the ‘wall of sound’ and give sup­port for the solo parts. Th­ese ap­pear to have been played, or pro­cessed, us­ing a Les­lie ro­tat­ing speaker cab, more tra­di­tion­ally as­so­ci­ated with the Ham­mond or­gan. You can still hear traces of Paul’s fa­mous vi­brato through the ef­fect – al­most im­pos­si­ble to copy, but we’ve done our best! The pri­mary ob­jec­tive is to play with the ut­most com­mit­ment and this will get you closer to the sound re­quired here than any elu­sive set­ting on amps or ef­fects. Go for it and have fun!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.