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The Roots of Heavy Metal, Vol.4: Little Free Rock

Little Free Rock

When I was first wading my way through collecting all things obscure and heavy, the piece of vinyl I kept hearing about in hushed tones from older dudes was the lone album released in 1969 by an English outfit named Little Free Rock. But even before I could get my flipping fingers good and ready to start digging through those crates, I was warned: This record was rarer than hen’s teeth. If and when it was found, the price was usually the equivalent to a decently working used Volvo. Bummer.

Sometime in the pre-file sharing era of the ’90s, I scored a pricey bootleg copy of it at a record convention. The anticipation for the whole train ride home to finally hear the thing was palpable among me and my other collector buddies. When we got it home and threw it on the turntable, it was definitely worth all the hype, but it wasn’t the steam barreling, mono-browed, mindless behemoth I was expecting.

Tracks such as ‘Dream’ undoubtedly had the riffs to back this record being a monster, but there were also tracks like ‘Castles in the Sky’ that foreshadowed the dramatic sweep some English bands would take a few years down the line under the moniker ‘progressive rock’. Hell, even the ballad on here – “Age of Chivalry” – is a great track that even the most hardened rocker wouldn’t skip over.

Listen to ‘Dream’

At the time I first heard the record, this band was a beautiful mystery to me. But these days, it’s inevitable that any and all bands from any era have a website solely dedicated to their history and Little Free Rock is no exception. At the Little Free Rock website you can have your mind blown by a lengthy history of the band written by their guitarist, Peter Illingworth, read a complete list of every gig they ever played and find links on where to procure the legitimate re-issue of their full length, which was released by the German label Line a few years ago.

So check out the tracks above and below and hear why this record has been so legendary all these years. I hope your ears can withstand the weight.

Listen to ‘Blud’

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