Free and Easy
The Very Best Of
Finch & Henson

album cover

Tracks:

  1. Oh Brother (You've Got A Long Way To Go)
  2. Free And Easy
  3. Hey Operator
  4. Belinda Lou
  5. Roland, The Headless Thompson Gunner (a Harambee song: Brian does not appear on this track)
  6. Love You A Little More Everyday
  7. Lonely Spaceman
  8. Kokstad aka On The Road
  9. Cherry Rose
  10. Good Times
  11. Playgrounds in Paradise
  12. Lazy Woman
  13. Ghost Wind
  14. Naturally
  15. Some People

Musicians:

  • Brian Finch: vocals, guitars
  • Ken E Henson: guitars

Release information:

1993, Tusk, WOND 116

Review:

Fine singing and songwriting from the duo of Brian Finch and Ken E. Henson. According to the liner notes by David Marks, Finch and Henson have paid dues "6 nights a week sometimes five hours a night for twenty years." They've also been in a few bands that have brand-name recognition: Freedom's Children, Abstract Truth, LeeMen Ltd., and others. They've also worked with some greats: 'Mutt' Lange, Kevin Kruger, and David Marks at 3rd Ear Music, and some musos who have worked with Finch and Henson call them greats.

I put this CD on expecting a folkier sound, but the cool steel breeze of 'Oh Brother (You've Got a Long Way to Go)' blew in instead. The title track song 'Free and Easy' is eminently sing-along-able. 'Belinda Lou' was a hit for Finch and Henson and also appeared on the first 'Sharp Cuts' compilation. The only cover tune is a fine version of Warren Zevon's 'Roland, the Headless Thompson Gunner'. The songs on 'Free and Easy' range from electric folk to spacey rock, as with 'Cherry Rose' and 'Lonely Spaceman'.

Some songs are pretty rock, and there is nothing wrong with pretty music. Other songs have moody vocals and soaring ethereal guitars ('Playgrounds In Paradise'), down home country ('Good Times' and 'I Love You a Little More Everyday'), or melodic and hooky ('Lazy Woman'). Fine songwriting, excellent guitar-playing, convincing singing -- what more does one ask for?

Brian's singing is always convincing. He lives the song he is singing and is not a human jukebox that mechanically turns out a performance, but a quality singer and songwriter. Henson consistently plays lovely leads and plucks beautiful fills, as on 'Free and Easy'. He picks a note-filled guitar and seems to be trying to empty it of notes.

I can't say Ken and Brian sound like Loggins and Messina, because they don't. Nor can I say they are like the Eagles, though there is a touch of California in their sound. I can't make those comparisons because the Finch-penned songs, and the one Finch and Henson share credits on (the driving 'Kokstad'), all sound like Finch and Henson. Thirteen songs are Brian Finch compositions -- and he composes a fine tune. Finch has plenty of music in him, and plenty of ways to say it.

Some songs are punched into rock territory by a back beat and assertive guitars. In the book, 'History of Contemporary Music of South Africa', Chilvers and Jasiukowicz describe Henson as "...master of the laid back guitar", but to me he sounds more like a master of finesse playing.

Just as a live show by Finch and Henson goes down well with the audience in Durban or Cape Town, I am sure a Finch and Henson show would be a hit with a Texas audience at Luckenbach Dance Hall, 22 miles down the road from here.

Kurt Shoemaker, Texas, March 2001

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