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Already Free

4.6 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Nearly a year in the making and brimming with a newfound focus on original material, Already Free is The Derek Trucks Band's natural evolution as they move forward integrating influences that span a variety of musical genres. Known for their blues roots, the group takes this album well beyond blues to incorporate the larger sounds of rock & soul. Already Free, features a stirring cover of Bob Dylan's Down In The Flood as well as the new songs, Down Don't Bother Me and Get What You Deserve. Guest appearances on the album include vocals from Susan Tedeschi and Doyle Bramhall II.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 13, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Victor Records / Sony
  • ASIN: B001KL3GWM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,285 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After releasing the tour de force album SONGLINES in 2006, I have eagerly awaited the follow up from the very talented Derek Trucks Band. While the newly released ALREADY FREE does not match the majesty of SONGLINES, it's still is a very good album by one of the best working bands out there.

To me, this album represents a tightening of their eclectic approach to music, no doubt trying to consolidate their fame as a great live group. ALREADY FREE focuses on the blues/soul side of the band at the expense jazz/world fusion side. While I miss the expansive jams that have highlighted their previous releases, the focus on songcraft and tight ensemble playing does not diminish the joy factor too much. Derek and the band provide a solid set of tunes in a swamp-funk blues style while expanding their songwriting chops and serving up some choice covers. My favorites include the opening semi-obscure Dylan tune DOWN IN THE FLOOD, BACK WHERE I STARTED which features a great vocal turn by Mrs. Trucks, Susan Tedeshi, GET WHAT YOU DESERVE and the slide guitar showcase I KNOW. Actually, all the songs are pretty good, to my ears, there's no real weak link here. The copy that I received also has 3 bonus tracks including a back porch blues called THE CHICKEN ROBBER SONG and a slow simmering instrumental SWAMP, another highlight. Throughout the album the band provides solid backing and provides good space for Trucks to solo. With all his chops, Trucks does not showboat as a soloist. He articulates his message short and sweet and always perfectly within the context of the song.

I hope that by taking a more conservative direction on this release that the DTB can gain some more well deserved recognition. I also hope that with that recognition that the band does on occasion revisit the wide ranging influences that have made their previous albums such a treat for music lovers. In the meantime, I'm sure I'll be getting plenty of listening pleasure from this one.
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By M. Lenda on January 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD
After having read the reviews here and elsewhere, I feel I have to voice a few disagreements... and a few agreements, of course.

Given the two-year hiatus between "Songlines" and "Already Free," I actually had less hope for "Already Free." I wasn't particularly a fan of "Songlines," though it had its moments for me. The live shows were where it was at for me; I have seen Derek Trucks with the Allman Brothers 3 times and with DTB 2 times, each show being a spectacle. I remember one in particular, last summer in Boulder, CO: My buddy took his brother with us, and after a 12-minute cover of "The Weight" (paying homage to Duane Allman's work with Aretha Franklin's version of the song), the kid goes, "... that's f***ing outrageous."

I was convinced that after "Songlines," the studio cuts that this band would put out would be more for the mainstream audience. Hell, I don't disagree that it would be a bad path to take: More people need to hear this man and his band. But to some extent we should wonder if the members of DTB really don't care.

So here's what I think of "Already Free": It's got to be the most wholesome album they've ever put out. (If not, it's a close second to "Joyful Noise.")

One thing that really put me off were the reviews that were expecting Derek to just go absolutely nuts, to rip up the scene and bring back the glory that he so eloquently brought to the slide guitar, and then saying he didn't do any of that on the entire album. (Yes, I found a few reviews like that.) That begs the question, did they just forget half of the album? Derek shines and delivers on well over half of the songs on "Already Free," and if you think he doesn't, just compare it to what he did on his other albums.
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Format: Audio CD
Warm, soulful, bluesy, relaxed: this describes the vibe here. Yet, this is the least Derek Trucks-like the guitarist has ever sounded. The focus has shifted onto the songs and their vocalists; Mike Mattison, Susan Tedeschi, and Doyle Bramhall III, abandoning the more interesting jamming of the past. Mostly, Derek takes a back seat, only really letting loose on three or four cuts. Gone are the elements of Jazz and World music associated with 2006's "Songlines" and other albums. All told, this outing is pleasant enough, yet most fans will find it overly restrained, if not a little stale. Upon repeated listening it simply lacks the payoff of Derek's earlier albums. It seems to be crafted with a more adult-contemporary, or mainstream, audience in mind. It suffers as a result.
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Format: Audio CD
I am already a Derek Trucks band fan. The band is extremely diverse musically, playing everything from Delta blues, R&B, latin, soul, gospel, and jazz fusion to Pakistani qawwali ... and they continually reinvent the songs they play (e.g., the many versions of Soul Serenade). Already Free seems more focused, and more polished, than the band's other studio work ... perhaps because they had all the time they wanted in the new Trucks/Tedeschi home studio.

Already Free has a throwback feel, and seems to build on the Soul Stew Revival theme that Derek and his wife (Susan Tedeschi) were promoting in their recent tour. In an interview with Ryan Sparks, Derek described it as domestic/American roots, and less "in your face and obvious" than prior work. In his words: "It doesn't feel like there's something to prove or that it has to have extended guitar solos all over the place. Not that the next record won't have that, but I feel this was a nice diversion from that and a much more song oriented record."

I bought the "Down in the Flood" MP3 before the album's release, and loved it from the start. The song (a Bob Dylan cover) starts out acoustic and soulful, shifts to electric and funky, and builds to a crescendo (i.e., second guitar solo) like many of my favorite DTB tunes. Other immediate favorites: "I Know", "Down Don't Bother Me" (very different from past live performances) and "Sweet Inspiration" (a classic that Carlos Santana apparently convinced the band to play). The remainder of the album ... particularly "Something to Make You Happy", "Days is Almost Gone" and "Our Love" ... grew on me the more I listened and adjusted to the different tone of this new album.
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Interesting "borrowing" of the Into the Wild cover
Sorry, the only similarity I can see is the sky.
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