What can you say about Paul Kossoff?…, the guitarist for Free…, Alright Now.., Wishing Well… remember those songs?… classics. He was, without doubt, one of the UK’s finest blues guitarists. He was also another one of rocks casualties, he died in 1976 at the age of 25.
When I was a kid there used to be shows on the TV on Sunday evenings, religious shows, and on one of those shows a guy called David Kossoff used to tell stories from the Bible. He used to sit in a big wooden chair and tell the stories to a group of kids sat in front of him.., he was very good too, sticks in my mind vividly. Never did I realise while watching those shows that David Kossoff’s son would become one of my all time favourite musicians later in life.., strange world, but’s that’s what happened.
The thing with Paul Kossoff was that he didn’t just play the guitar, he played it like it was a part of him and he seemed to pour his emotions out through it… like it was crying sometimes. But he was addicted to drugs, very addicted. It seemed that no matter how hard people tried to get him off them he just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, and when Free split up it seemed to make his addiction worse. His life ended on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, his heart gave out. Tragic tale, isn’t it?…, but an all too familiar one in the music business, as we all know. But during his short life he recorded some superb music, not just with Free, but with his own band… Back Street Crawler.. and various line ups featuring his old bandmates from Free.
I would have to have both these songs amongst my desert island digital collection. Some songs are just so good, so wonderful, and yet no one has hardly heard of them. This first song comes in that catagory, the lyrics are so good, just listen to them…, and the guitar playing is Kossoff at his bleeding heart best, the sound he gets from it gives you the shivers. It’s called You And Me, a very special song for me…, one of those songs that goes with you through life, Jim Capaldi provides the wonderful vocals.
The second one is called Molton Gold, from his solo album.. Back Street Crawler. Paul Rodgers sings lead vocal.. the old Free connection… and Jess Roden backs him up, while Kossoff plays the guitar as only he could.
I’ll just say this. If you listen to any of the linked songs on here… listen to these two.. really. Listen to the talent the guy had, the ability to produce a unique sound from the guitar…., the passion and the feeling he put into it. Then sit for a moment and wonder…., wonder how good he would be today if he were still alive. He was playing these in his early twenties, he was still learning… and listen to what he could do.
If I ever had to choose a favourite song… and it would be very, very hard…. You And Me would be hard for me to ignore. You know how it is.., someday it’s your favourite, others it’s not.. we all know those songs. But that one is never out of the top three… never.
*Okay.., as a footnote to this post I’m going to put the lyrics to You and Me on here. You can’t seem to find them anywhere on the internet and people who are searching for them keep ending up here. So, as I know them off by heart, here they are*..
You and Me.., lyrics
There’s no words that can’t be put to music, if you try
There’s no story that can’t be told
There’s no sin that can’t be forgiven, in time
There’s no mountain too high to climb
You and me, we’ve been through storm and rain
And I know, we’ll go through it again
There’s no heart that can’t be broken, in two
There’s no one too hard to cry
There’s no door that can’t be opened, with the right key
There’s just you.., you and me
There’s no words that can’t be spoken, if you want
You can say just what you feel
There’s no spell that can’t be broken, with a will
Everyone can feel free
Everyone can learn to see
There’s just you.., and me
The song was written by Jim Capaldi, and released on Island Records.