A story of rock Phoenix who bares it all but still leaves some questions unanswered.
For all its good-timey stance, rock 'n' roll often leads to sadness and madness - it's rooted in blues, after all - and Andy Fraser knows that better than many. One of the best British bassists at 16, he was a self-proclaimed leader of FREE whose biggest hit, which gives a title of Fraser's autobiography, marked their undoing because the success it had brought went against the grain of that rootsiness and set Andy on the quest of self-searching that, what with the man's abandon in all his deeds, resulted in tragedy. Lesser mortals would give up to HIV and cancer, but not Andy Fraser who scratched his way back to normal life, to music and performing, so in his case what sounds like preaching in the beginning of this book is fully justified: and doesn't "All Right Now" sounds like a mantra to begin with?
It's an honest book, where Fraser admits to his strengths and foibles that are tangled in an integral way which makes Andy's very personality, and there's a lot of personal stuff in here. Surely, for the most readers the main focus of it all is FREE, and although this story was told before, the Mr. Big reveals the band's inner mechanisms, one gem being a characterization of himself as the group's brain, Simon Kirke as the brain, Paul Kossoff as their soul and Paul Rodgers as the voice. Fraser doesn't dwell much on his famous attempt to "kidnap" the former Paul and save Koss from drugs, even though while mentioning it he goes as emotional as in other touchy places of the narrative, yet however Andy tries to suppress it, a rivalry with the latter Paul, his "All Right Now" co-writer, seems to be seeping through, as if the author is still looking for his erstwhile mate's approval of the music he does. He goes beyond that team, of course, and expands on his creative friendship with Frankie Miller, another survivor, and Robert Palmer, both having had hits penned by Fraser, although one of Fraser's ensembles, TOBY, remain as blind a spot as ever.
At the same time, Andy doesn't turn a blind eye on his family situation, his coming out as gay, and the circumstances of falling down that well of sorrow from which he emerged even more belligerent than ever: when he compares those who, unlike him, don't support Barack Obama to homophobes, Fraser comes across as the same cocky teenager that rocked the Isle of Wight crowd in 1970. He returned there 42 years later with his protege named, surprisingly, Tobi, to see his music matters more to the masses than the politics Andy discusses in the last, the least compelling, part of the book. To those familiar to his story, the passages by his co-author Hughes, the instigator of the tome, may feel redundant but they provide a solid context to the narrative, and it's him who points out that Andy Fraser's most famous song allowed him to pay for his treatment. As it was, he's chosen the luxury of life over the life of luxury, so indeed, it's all right now.