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Andy Fraser

The youngest of the band FREE, ANDY FRASER (born Andrew McLan Fraser, 3rd July 1952 in Paddington, London) had worked his way from classically-trained pianist to bass player with JOHN MAYALL’S BLUESBREAKERS, and all before he was 15. A friend of the daughter of Blues Inc giant ALEXIS KORNER, it was in 1968 that Andy was suggested to messrs Kossoff, Rodgers and Kirke to the band FREE.
His contributions with gritty singer PAUL RODGERS culminated commercially in 1970 when hard-rock classic `All Right Now’ soared up the charts to No.2, but all was not well within the band as guitarist KOSSOFF was prone to the odd battle with drug addiction. Having bailed out in 1971, FRASER formed the short-lived Toby, alongside Adrian Fisher (guitar) and Stan Speake (drums), but such was the pull of a re-united FREE that it was too much to resist. Taking his final curtain call in 1972 after Top 10 album `Free At Last’, Andy would team up with guitarist Chris Spedding, frontman Snips and drummer Marty Simon in SHARKS. Another brief encounter for the songwriting bass man, he formed his own band after leaving some decent contributions (`Follow Me’, `Brown Eyes Boy’, `Doctor Love’, among them) to the Sharks’ `First Water’ set in ’74; the follow-up `Jab It In Yore Eye’ was without Andy.
The eponymous ANDY FRASER BAND (1975) {*6} (with Nick Judd on keys and Kim Turner on drums) took on a softer approach, although it’d might’ve been a tad better had it included outtake `Every Kinda People’, which later became a hit for ROBERT PALMER.
A solo set IN YOUR EYES… (1975) {*4} packed little punch – certainly commercially – and it was off to California for FRASER as he took up songwriting in a sunnier clime.
In 1984, having penned material for the likes of CHAKA KHAN, JOE COCKER, PAUL CARRACK, ROD STEWART, etc., and now with guitarist Michael Thompson, bassist David Faragher, keyboard-player Bob Marlette and drummer Tony Braunagel (from BACK STREET CRAWLER), he delivered his third set, FINE FINE LINE {*4}.
A vocalist as well as an instrumentalist, the record was a rather low-key affair. FRASER would subsequently find work as a solo artist a bit of a chore, having serious health problems through cancer and contracting AIDS. Finally overcoming and containing these life-threatening disorders to a certain degree, he was back in full swing backing PAUL RODGERS at the Woodstock ’94 fest, as well as (although a decade later) getting around to that elusive fourth solo set, NAKED… AND FINALLY FREE (2005) {*5}.
In 2013, interviewed on Breakfast TV, FRASER discussed at length his “Tears Of A Mermaid” video single, as well as his fight with AIDS/Kaposi’s cancer and his glory days in FREE; he’s also been working extensively with protégé, Tobi Earnshaw. Sadly, Andy passed away at his Californian home on March 16, 2015.
© MCS 1994-Dec2011-Mar2015

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