Fontella Bass – 1972 – Free (The Paula Recordings)

Fontella Bass will always be remembered for her hit Rescue Me. That didn’t mean she didn’t record anything else of quality afterwards, just that it didn’t make the charts. Free is a perfect example of her post Rescue Me work. Most of the tracks are mellow Soul with a Southern feel to them. The best of those is the powerful delivery and message of Talking About Freedom. In between are some more upbeat and really catchy cuts like “Hold On This Time” and “I Need To Be Loved”. Oliver Sain, who Bass use to sing with, produced the album.



1 To Be Free (3:59)
2 Hold on This Time (2:28)
3 I Want Everyone to Know (3:05)
4 I Need to Be Loved (2:31)
5 Talking About Freedom (3:23)
6 I Need Love (2:33)
7 Wiping Tears (2:24)
8 Now That I’ve Found a Good Thing (2:46)
9 Who You Gonna Blame (2:46)

10 It Sure Is Good (2:49)
11 I’m Leaving the Choice to You (3:06)
12 Home Wrecker (3:32)
13 It’s Hard to Get Back In (2:54)
14 My God, My Freedom, My Home (3:43)

15.Rescue Me [New Version] (2.46)

Original Free album brown tracks.

White tracks are bonus.

The Reviews


Very righteous work from Fontella Bass – an album done after her time at Chess Records, and after her work in Paris with the Art Ensemble Of Chicago – in a heartfelt, southern soul mode that’s totally great! Fontella’s back working with producer Oliver Sain, who first brought her fame back in the 60s – but the sound is a bit more sophisticated than before, drenched with roots from gospel and country soul, but also inflected with some of the more righteous modes of the early 70s too. Fontella’s vocals are incredible – with a range that should have made her one of the leading ladies of soul in the 70s.


If Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me” is the best soul single that Aretha Franklin never made, then Free is the lost classic that deserves space in any record collection housing worn-out copies of the Queen of Soul’s I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You and Spirit in the Dark. Reuniting Bass with producer Oliver Sain, who helmed her classic mid-’60s sides for Chess, Free draws on the singer’s gospel roots to forge a deeply spiritual and moving examination of post-civil rights America. Cuts like “To Be Free,” “Talking About Freedom,” and “My God, My Freedom, My Home” showcase the remarkable power and poignancy of Bass’ vocals, couched beautifully by Sain’s nuanced, blues-inspired arrangements. This excellent, well-annotated reissue includes the original 1972 Free LP in its entirety along with four bonus tracks — excellent stuff from a singer unjustly dismissed as a one-hit won.


Buy the AlbumFontella Bass – 1972 – Free (The Paula Recordings)


Conversation for album: Fontella Bass – 1972 – Free (The Paula Recordings)

  • robert
    Posted at 01:10h, 06 May 2008 Reply

    excellent selection. thank you!

  • DJ Abe
    Posted at 02:05h, 10 May 2008 Reply

    Thank you…..

  • albgardis
    Posted at 00:47h, 12 November 2008 Reply

    Great album, thank you very much!

  • Chris
    Posted at 18:17h, 12 March 2009 Reply

    Just heard rescue me on the wireless….i will give it ago. Thanks

  • cleffdeadly
    Posted at 13:27h, 08 December 2009 Reply

    having only ever heard ‘rescue me’ this was a real suprise.fantastic album from start to finish, a real gem nikos, cheers!

  • santoscurser
    Posted at 13:04h, 18 January 2014 Reply

    I first found out who Fontella Bass was from an Art Ensemble of Chicago (avant garde jazz) album. She is great on the few appearances she has with them (her vocals are on this too) After hearing her there I would always take notice when any soul stations or TV ads made reference to “Rescue Me” and i sadly just assumed there was little else to hear. This stuff reveals what excellent “pop-music” she made so made back then. thanks
    BTW i got cutoff songs on the copy of New Look (How Glad I Am, and Gee Whiz are incomplete) maybe that is my download got messed up, i will download again and check and get back to you

    • santoscurser
      Posted at 21:58h, 18 January 2014 Reply

      I am right.. “the barbara recordings”, those two songs get cut off before the end

      • santoscurser
        Posted at 22:01h, 18 January 2014 Reply

        …”the Paula Recordings” lol

  • Nikos
    Posted at 23:50h, 18 January 2014 Reply

    New links added. Thank you.

  • JMAbreu
    Posted at 15:04h, 25 January 2020 Reply

    Thank you.

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