Free ‘The Vinyl Collection’ Review

Well I couldn’t wait to open the boxset – finally all the classic Free albums remastered and with original (allegedly) packaging. Alas, I only have 2 LPs from the 70’s (I missed their heyday) and a number of CDs, but doing a trawl on the web and there are plenty of people beefing about all the faults with the packaging.

Universal are claiming that the LP covers have been faithfully replicated – It would appear not quite 100%. But perhaps the original artwork was lost, and this is the best they could do in the Photoshop department? Many photos on various LPs look like facsimiles!  Many too many faults in the packaging include:

free-front

  1. Incorrect picture for Fire & Water LP (Free Live instead) on the back of the box
  2. Sleeve photos not quite as sharp as originals on a number of LPS
  3. Free Live LP does not have the printed stamps
  4. Free Live fold out envelope flap, although the lower half isn’t glued
  5. Font style/size issues on sleeves and labels…
  6. Fraser/Rodgers credit on all albums have been reversed to Rodgers/Fraser
  7. Fire & Water LP has a lyric inner sleeve, however the inner sleeve lyric for ‘Heavy Load’ is on side 2 (it’s the last track on side 1).
  8. Highway LP has German gatefold sleeve (not available on the UK release)
  9. Highway LP picture on reverse is not embossed
  10. No Island blue inner for Free at Last LP.

Oh and a nice accompanying booklet of rare band photos and some historical archive information would have been nice!

All in all a missed opportunity to make this the ultimate box set, but it’s a belter – go out and buy it now, you’ll love it.

free-back
Free Vinyl collection – dodgy box cover!

 

Plus points

  • Simply can’t fault the music, the remasters by Andy Pearce are first class!
  • A must for any Free fan – £79.99 at What Records – a bloody bargain!
  • You get to touch and feel the covers and inspect the minutiae whilst listening to a band at their peak.
  • You get a download code (MP3 320 kbps) for all of the LPs plus a copy of ‘The Free Story’.

Marko 9 November 2016

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