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6 Jan 2017

Kossoff, Kirke,Tetsu and Rabbit “Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit” 1972 UK Blues Rock

Kossoff, Kirke,Tetsu and Rabbit “Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit” 1972 UK Blues Rock
Digitally remastered reissue of this overlooked Blues/Rock album from the ‘supergroup’ featuring guitarist Paul Kossoff, drummer Simon Kirke, bassist Tetsu Yamauchi and keyboard player John “Rabbit” Bundrick. Originally released in 1971. Paul Kossoff has a deserved reputation for having been an outstanding guitarist, renowned for his fluid, slow, and melodic leads and bluesy riffs. His untimely death, and the manner of his demise sadly often overshadow his achievements. Ork…………… 

Unsurprisingly, this quartet sounds uncannily like Free and its English descendant Bad Company. Drummer Simon Kirke was in both bands. Guitarist Paul Kossoff, bassist Tetsu Yamauchi, and keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick were in Free, although the latter two appeared only in the band’s ragged, final days. The problem with this side project, besides the unexceptional music, is that Paul Rodgers was a vastly better singer than Kirke or Bundrick. This album would be a fine addition for Free and Bad Company completists, but few others….by Mark Allan….allmusic………. 

Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit is the 1972 rock album made by guitarist Paul Kossoff, drummer Simon Kirke, bassist Tetsu Yamauchi and keyboard player John “Rabbit” Bundrick. Recorded after Free disbanded, drummer Kirke elected to remain with guitar player Paul Kossoff forming a quartet with Bundrick and Yamauchi in 1971. Kirke has noted that although initially Kossoff appeared in good spirits and was engaged in making the album he increasingly indulged in drugs often falling asleep between takes or while listening to playbacks.[citation needed] 

By April 1972 Free had reformed with Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers making peace, and Kossoff appeared to pull it together if only briefly. Kossoff resumed taking drugs during the U.S. tour to support the last album by the original quartet Free at Last. On the eve of their Japanese tour Fraser fought with Rodgers and once again left the band, to be replaced by Yamauchi. Rodgers and Kirke elected to fill out the band bringing Bundrick on board as a member of Free for the tour and the last Free album Heartbreaker. 

Although well received and filled with quality songwriting, “Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu, Rabbit” suffered from the lack of a strong lead vocalist like Rodgers. Kirke’s song “Anna” was later re-recorded with Bad Company, the band that he and Rodgers established after the final breakup of Free. 

The album was reissued in 2007 by Ork Records, a division of Cherry Red, in a remastered edition with a 12-page booklet featuring an interview with Bundrick…… 

After Free split up in the early fall of 1971, Andy Fraser formed a project called Toby, while lead singer Paul Rodgers got involved with Peace. With Simon Kirke and Paul Kossoff being left, the two decided to form a project of their own with Japanese native Tetsu Yamauchi on bass and a young, budding keyboard player from Texas known as John “Rabbit” Bundrick. The resulting Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit release remains an interesting footnote within the Free lifeline as this band of musicians would hook up again in the third and final incarnation of Free itself with the Heartbreaker release, but the music contained herein reveals an accomplished and solid effort on the parts of these fine players. Bundrick provides over half of the record’s song length opening with Blue Grass and featuring him on vocals, this is driven by Kossoff’s winding, sharp guitar tone, Kirke’s solid powerful and steady beats along with Tetsu’s fine bass accompaniment. Sammy’s Alright follows and is a rather soulful number with nice harmonies interlaid as Kirke also reveals some solid singing to compliment Rabbit’s lead vocals . Which leads to the next number Anna; a soft track of sorts sung by Simon and is a nice heartfelt tune, driven by Bundrick’s tasteful piano lines. Just for the Box is an instrumental credited to Kossoff and shows off a great groove realized by the quartet turning in a solid jam performance. Hold On follows and is a hidden gem within this set, written by Kirke and Koss and although it starts out a bit slow, it builds itself rather organically further into its wonderful coda that contains some of Paul’s best playing so far, driven along with Rabbit’s purposeful piano lines. 

Fool’s Life is another winner on here continuing much of the same flavor as the previous Hold On, instrumentally dominated by Koss and Rabbit. Yellow House features a lap steel played by B.J. Cole sitting in, and is similar in tone to the previous, Sammy’s Alright, again tapping into the soulful overtones of Free’s previous outputs and you’d swear Paul Rodgers is somewhere in the mix here providing his innumerable vocals to the proceedings! Dying Fire is another entry from Simon Kirke and what it may lack in vocal strength from Simon’s lead vocal is more than made up for by Paul’s searing guitar performance, simply beautiful. Rabbit’s I’m on the Run is another track that features B.J. Cole on lap steel, yet in some ways, this channels a bit of Bad Company in its chorus, while echoing bits of Free in the verses, Bundrick builds this number with his organ and electric piano passages, and the vocal harmonies help it glide along accordingly. Closing with Colours, Kossoff takes the lead vocal on a number that has potential to be a solid track, had it not been for Paul’s vocal deficeincies throughout its duration. It seems a little ragged in its overall arrangement and lacks a bit of distinction from the other numbers included here, despite, once again, Koss’ searing guitar work, nonetheless. 

If you’re a devout fan of Free, chances are you already own this. I give this 4 stars as I feel its certainly worthwhile within the 70’s genre of british rock and is a forgotten piece which unearths some great talents on display here. Rabbit would later become associated with the Who, Tetsu would join the Faces, Simon would go onto join Bad Company and Kossoff made a great solo record in Back Street Crawler, would form a band of the same name, but unfortunately would die on a plane flight via L.A. to NY. Within this quick minute of time, this is the result of 4 important musicians and is a nice document of rock history to own. Very solid and worthwhile….By Thirty-Ought Six………… 

Originally released in in 1972, as this was the English blues rock band’s only lp. Completely forgot about this album. My guess is that this lp was released a short time after Free apparently had disbanded. Tracks that are worth mentioning are “Just For The Box” (possibly the disc’s best cut, as it sounds a lot like Free), “Fool’s Life”, the somewhat familiar-sounding “Yellow House” and the well-arraigned “Colours”. Line-up: John -Rabbit- Bundrick - keyboards, organ & vocals, Paul Kossoff - guitar, Tetsu Yamauchi - bass and Simon Kirke - drums & vocals. Couldn’t say for sure but this CD reissue might draw in fans Johnny Winter, Santana and Leslie West………… 

Only album by the quartet Kossoff / Kirke / Tetsu / Rabbit, which was formed in mid-1971 as a result of the demise of Free Mk. 1 (following the release of “Highway”) with the band’s guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke joining forces with Japanese born bassist Tetsu Yamauchi and Texan keyboardist John Bundrick (a.k.a. Rabbit). The band lasted only for a brief period of time, before Free Mk. 2 were re-established in 1972, but the album they recorded together remains a classic example of Blues-Rock. Somewhat similar (not surprisingly) to the sound and feel of the music Free produced, it is more relaxed and features some of the best guitar work Kossoff ever managed to put on tape. Of course the leading vocals of Paul Rodgers are sadly missed, but Kossoff, Kirke and Bundrick handle that department admirably well. In retrospect this albums still sounds great 40 years later and its reissue on CD is a most welcome event. Recommended!………… 

The time was 1971, and one of England’s biggest bands, Free, succumbed to a myriad of internal squabbles and drug addiction, and split for a brief period of time. The band was to splinter in three different directions; Paul Rodgers went off to form Peace, Andy Fraser to Toby, and Simon Kirke & Paul Kossoff, along with John 'Rabbit’ Bundrick and Tetsu Yamauchi, formed Kossoff-Kirke-Tetsu-Rabbit. Their one and only, self-titled album, basically sounded like Free, minus Paul Rodgers. As such, the band shared the vocal duties amongst themselves, and delivered a solid, if slightly unspectacular, album that basically led to Free once again getting back together when the three factions failed to create much of a spark. 

ORK Records has done a nice job on this reissue, as the remaster treatment has given this recording some fine clarity, and there’s a nice booklet complete with a history on the bands plus some photos. As for the music, it’s a satisfying mix of heavy blues rock, pop, hard rock, and some rootsier material. “Blue Grass” and “Just For the Box” are heavier numbers with some stinging guitar from Kossof and Rabbit’s tasty Hammond lines, while “Sammy’s Alright” and “Anna” are more catchy, poppy-blues numbers. The somewhat funky “Fool’s Life” somewhat brings to mind the direction latter period Bad Company would take, while tunes like “Dying Fire”, “Hold On”, and “I’m On the Run” are generic sounding blues-rockers that really fail to generate any sort of excitement, though Rabbit manages to splash some impressive keyboard textures around. Closing number “Colours” is a very 'Free’ sounding piece, complete with searing guitar lines from Kossoff, but his lone lead vocal contribution on the album is pretty weak. History has it that he was mostly a drugged out wreck at this point, and despite some impressive guitar work at times here, one can only imagine how good this album might have been had the guitarist been in control of his life and stayed clean. 

As the story goes, Free reformed shortly after this album was released, but after a few more albums the magic was gone and Kossoff was dead, leading the way for the formation of Bad Company, who turned out to be one of the biggest bands of the 1970’s. While Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu, & Rabbit is by no means essential listening, fans of Free, Bad Company, and 70’s heavy blues/hard rock will certainly want to give this a shot………. 

There’s inevitably a monumental overspill from Free on this one-off album recorded during the months after they split in May 1971, following the perceived commercial failure of their fourth album, Highway, and before regrouping in January 1972. With Paul Rogers and Andy Fraser off pursuing their own projects, Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke recruited Japanese bass player Tetsu Yamauchi and multi-keyboardist John Rabbit Bundrick, fresh from a stint with Johnny Nash. From the dragging mid-paced tempos to the day-glo bursts of Kossoff’s instantly recognisable guitar riffs, Free’s stylistic trademarks are much in evidence. The real big miss is, of course, Paul Rodgers’ voice. Apparently he was asked to sing on the album, but was too busy with his own solo project, PEACE, and so the vocals were jointly handled by Kirke, Rabbit and Koss (the latter’s contribution being uncredited on Colours), though reputedly none were happy with the completed tracks. While the album certainly has its moments, most notably the opening Blue Grass, the instrumental Just For The Box and I’m On The Run, things too often slumber into hazily mediocre balladry. Still, for all that, this remains a must-have item for any self-respecting Free completist….Record Collector……….. 

Bass – Tetsu* 
Drums, Vocals – Simon Kirke 
Guitar – Paul Kossoff 
Piano, Mellotron, Organ, Vocals – Rabbit* 

Last line-up 
Others bands 
B.J. Cole : Guitar session member 
John “Rabbit” Bundrick : Vocals, Keyboard The Who, Back Street Crawler, ex-Free 
Simon Kirke : Vocals, Drums Wildlife, Bad Company, ex-Free, ex-Black Cat Bones  
Paul Kossoff : Guitar Back Street Crawler, ex-Free, ex-Black Cat Bones 
Tetsu Yamauchi : Bass ex-Free 

A1 Blue Grass
A2 Sammy’s Alright
A3 Anna
A4 Just For The Box
A5 Hold On
B1 Fool’s Life
B2 Yellow House
B3 Dying Fire
B4 I’m On The Run
B5 Colours 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..