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Articles Home » 1993 Articles » Free, Mark - 1993 Long Way From Love
Free, Mark - 1993 Long Way From Love

ARTIST: Mark Free
ALBUM: Long Way From Love
LABEL: Now And Then
YEAR: 1993
CD REISSUE: 1999, Frontiers, FRCD 009


LINEUP: Mark Free lead and backing vocals * Paul Lewolt, Terence Elliot, Tim Godwin, Pierre Gauthier, Dirk Price, Tony Sciuto, Troy Dexter, Danny Jacob - guitars * Paul Markovich, Tomie Reeves, Steve Hopkins, Claude Gaudette, Robin Randall - keyboards * Joel Hamilton, Tomie Reeves, Sylan Boulduc, Paul Lewolt, Steve Hopkins,Erik Scott - bass * Roger Larocque drums * Tomie Reeves, Erik Scott, Steve Hopkins - drum programming * Joan Stone, Diana Dewitt - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Someday You'll Come Running * 02 Stranger Among Us * 03 Come Back For More * 04 The Last Time * 05 Hard Heart To Break * 06 High Life * 07 State Of Love * 08 Slow Down The Night * 09 Look Love In The Eyes * 10 Never Be A Next Time

If anyone apart from me has the keys to the GLORY-DAZE kingdom then it would have to be former vocal great Mark Free. The track record speaks for itself. Stints with King Kobra, Signal and Unruly Child, plus the many vocal demos that he sung on - all stuff of legend. Of course Mark has since undergone a gender change, but before he did, he left us one quite brilliant album - the AOR/pop rock of 'Long Way From Love' which was one of the first albums released by then fledgling British label Now And Then. The material on this album is a collection of songs written by the mother/daughter combo of Judithe and Robin Randall. They initially took form as demos, but because the guys at Now And Then were so enthusiastic about the material, they managed to convince everyone that releasing it as a set of songs under Mark Free's name would be a good idea. I doubt Free and the Randalls ever saw much of a financial return, but the response generated by the melodic rock community over the following years lends one to believe that this was the best AOR album of the 90's decade! Tall order indeed, considering these were demos to start with..

The Songs
Opening up with 'Someday You'll Come Running', this one has been covered previously by FM and Airkraft. A nice update, but things really take off with 'Stranger Among Us', the synths and punchy sound reminiscent of Starship in their 80's heyday. Free's voice sails into the stratosphere on 'Come Back For More', a pleasant mid-paced ballad containing more emotion than a Poll tax debate! 'The Last Time' is a song filled with drama and desperation, perhaps in keeping with the song title, whatever the case it's more glorious AOR. 'Hard Heart To Break' with it's tick-tock keyboard lines is probably the pick of the pure AOR tracks on the album, a great track. 'High Life' is kinda quirky, but aren't those keyboard lines nicked from Don Henley's 'Dirty Laundry'? lol.. 'State Of Love' punches above its weight, a harder edged track with a Van Stephenson vibe about it. 'Slow Down The Night' is an OK sort of track, but I passed quickly to the far superior 'Look Love In The Eyes', which is supported by a strong backline of synth layers, though the chorus could've been better. The album closes with the superb 'Never Be A Next Time', another album highlight for me.

In Summary
Mark toured UK as part of the Gods Of AOR event put on by Now And Then during October 1993, which many readers may remember if they were in attendance. There is some live footage on You Tube of Mark from this event, well worth watching. This album has seen two reissues in recent years. Frontiers reissued it in 1999, while more recently Swedish label Dino also managed to secure permission to reissue it. Free issued another solo album during 1995 called 'Tormented', but by then, Mark had undergone a gender change - becoming Marcie Free. Due to the shifting circumstances in Mark/Marcie's personal life, it is highly unlikely that we will ever see another solo album from him/her. Hopefully I'll be proved wrong. All in all, a good solid collection of demos, but as for best AOR album of all time, well I'll just remind people that these were demos after all and the production isn't top notch, but it was great to have them released in any case.

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#1 | george_the_jack on July 19 2009 22:01:55
One of the best AOR albums of the 90's! I'm surprised that George had missed it all this time and reviewed it just now.
#2 | gdazegod on July 20 2009 01:25:47
I viewed this album more as a set of demos, rather than a proper album, hence my reluctance to review it sooner.
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