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Clare Free - Be Who You Are

Funky Mama Records

Ten Tracks 39mins 11 secs

Clare Free is a Brit who has been playing guitar since she was 12 years old. She is a prolific songwriter and has worked with numerous top-flight musicians including Dino Baptiste who introduced her to Dana Gillespie with whom she worked on tours in India and at the Mustique blues festival (in the Caribbean). She cites her influences as a mix of blues, rock and country and this CD is a good example of all those elements although more blues/rock/pop than straight blues.

Impressively, all ten tracks on the album are self-penned. The opener, ‘Let Me Down Easy’ is a countrified piece with an opening guitar part that sounds like the best of Nashville. Next up is ‘I Won’t Lie’ which IMHO is the bluesiest track on the CD, this has a nice rhythmic hook and features a guitar solo reminding me a lot of Jeff Beck. The lady has some nice chops!

Some of the tracks are barely bluesy at all. ‘Fool To Pride’ is a poppy song, but with what I suspect may be a self-revelatory lyric “Angry, I cut you, made you bleed. My razor tongue got free”. Some nice axe work here too but not enough of it.

Another nice blueser is “She’s An Evil Woman” with a melody which is just on the edge of my consciousness (one day I’ll remember what it reminds me of). ‘Whenever You Need Me’ is kind of rather soppy 1960s pop-song and is best forgotten.

Admirably supported by Hannah Cope (bass and backing vocals), Rhys Firey (Kbds) and Pete Hedley (Dms) this outing shows off Clare’s song writing and guitar playing skills to a Tee. A nice addition to the growing group of ‘girls with guitars’ like Joanne Shaw Taylor and Dani Wilde all of whom are enlivening the UK blues rock scene.

Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South ( a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central). 

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