Freeloader - The Path Of Least Resistance (CD)
Freeloader is a young rock band from the Florida panhandle whose twin-guitar attack is reminiscent of some of the finest hard-rock bands of the 70s. Their relentless touring schedule has made them intimately familiar with the roadhouses, truck stops and Waffle Houses of the South. They are scraggly van-sleepers who rarely do their laundry, but who nevertheless pride themselves on their irresistible attraction, and can't pass a woman sitting alone at the bar without trying their luck...
Sadly, all bullshit. Freeloader is four old-timers from the Boston music scene who have recombined in endless band permutations. Nat Freedberg is the
singer, songwriter and guitarist. Jim Janota is the drummer (Nat and Jim played together in the Upper Crust), Charles Hansen is the lead guitar player, and
Jim Haggerty plays bass.
Freedberg released a solo album last February called Better Late Than Never. It was, and remains—even with the passage of a couple of months—a fine album. But he continued to write songs that were more "rock" and didn't really fit the style of the recently released album. He returned to the studio with producer Ducky Carlisle and recruited the aforementioned crew of hard-bitten rock veterans to jam out the songs.
There are two covers on the record, "Rag Doll," which was originally done by the Four Seasons, and which in Freeloader's hands sounds like it might have been
the B-side to "Cherry Bomb" by the Runaways; and Billy Preston's funk classic "Will It Go Round In Circles," which the band duly reduces to a blunt guitar-rock
cudgel. That leaves eight originals... but Nat only had seven. So he quickly penned the garage-rock anthem "Ten Songs Make an Album," the day before it was due to be recorded.
Ten songs it is—ten of the finest slices of hot rock and roll to be served up in a couple of decades. Crank it up on the car stereo and blow past a speed trap. The
management is not responsible for songs left unattended in your brain after listening.
These guys redefine the meaning of the word "old," and belong to that class of ossified musical objects that can only be identified by radiocarbon dating. Nat, the oldest and probably most decrepit, has been a pallid, furtive habitué of the Boston music scene since the early '80s. His previous bands were the Flies, the Titanics, the Satanics, the Clamdiggers, and the Upper Crust. Janota is widely admired as the best rock drummer in Boston, a distinction which has done absolutely nothing for him in the way of tangible reward. Likewise, Haggerty is in great demand on the Boston circuit, holding down the bass in multiple bands while the front-people warble on earnestly about whatever they believe to be interesting and important. Hansen is a world-class guitarist, teaches at Berklee, and plays in several bands, but he too could only loosely be termed a billionaire.