No tags :(

Share it



When this project began in 2017 the majority of those who recorded in rock ‘n’ roll’s initial years of 1947 and 1948 were long gone. A few remained but in the six years since we’ve seen the loss of some of the last remaining giants… Dave Bartholomew and Big Jay McNeely among them.

Yet one name from back then is still with us… and incredibly still making great music.




Living The Good Life
George Freeman may not have gotten a release under his own name at the time, but while working with Joe Morris he gave us what is arguably the first true rock guitar solo on the blistering Boogie Woogie Joe.

Not long after recording that song Morris and company signed with Atlantic where they laid down Lowe Groovin’, a song Freeman had written (and named “The Hulk” before it was changed by the label as a form of payola to “honor” Washington D.C. disc jockey Jackson Lowe) and the record became the first notable seller for Atlantic Records, putting the fledging label on the map in the process. Freeman however was denied writing credit for it and soon left Morris’s band as a result.

While Morris would go on to have notable hits over the next decade before his early death in 1958, George Freeman in many ways had the more rewarding career, one which continues to this day.

Along the way he’s played and recorded in many styles, from his first love jazz to some seriously funky albums in the 1970’s that show he never completely abandoned the rocking sounds he exhibited with Morris way back when.

Now, in 2023, at the age of 95, George Freeman has a new album coming out today entitled The Good Life which includes a new version of Lowe Groovin’, an astonishing seventy-five years after the first rendition was recorded and done in a much different way, starting with an almost druggy psychedelic bent to his playing (which is a high compliment) before taking on more sparse jazz characteristics as it goes along. His guitar absolutely shimmers throughout this track, modernizing it in some ways from the Morris recording we’re used to, yet also returning it to what is surely something in line with the jazz combo origins it must’ve had before they put it on record in late 1947.


We don’t take many days off from reviewing old records around here but we’re making an exception to close out the week for a very good cause. I’ve never personally met George Freeman but consider him a cherished friend of the site. It was through him that I was able to get the only picture of Joe Morris’s band that is available anywhere, as well as clarification on some of the particulars of his stint with the outfit.

More than anything though I’m proud of the fact that through this site, even if just in some small way, George Freeman’s contributions to rock ‘n’ roll, short-lived though they may have been by his own choice, finally began getting noticed and properly credited.

Youtube is full of recent shows he’s put on in small clubs around Chicago and those, along with everything contained on The Good Life, prove that his playing is still the epitome of impeccable timing, taste and talent.

There’s a lot diversity found on the small combo cuts, featuring some thundering drumming at times by Lewis Nash and Carl Allen, the rock solid bass of Christian McBride and the wild organ of Joey DeFrancesco in some of his final recordings before his untimely passing last August, all of which give George the perfect platform to remind everyone what a consummate professional he always has been across all genres and styles for more than three quarters of a century.

From the carousel of sounds on Up And Down to the slightly ominous lines Freeman plays on Sister Tankersley that will have you on the edge of your seat and closing with some of his most haunting ethereal playing on the meditative, almost hymn-like, title track, this is a record that washes over you like a warm summer rain while the sun defiantly remains out.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the ongoing history of rock ‘n’ roll music that Spontaneous Lunacy has provided for free over the past six and a half years consisting of 2,100 (and counting) in-depth reviews of records seven decades old – and frankly if you just enjoy good music played exquisitely – then do yourself a favor and buy or stream George Freeman’s brand new release, The Good Life, today.

Of all of the artists we’ve talked about who created this music that you all attest to love, he may be the last man standing, one who is still as vibrant as ever, and there’s no better way to show your appreciation than to help make this release the success it deserves to be.

Enjoy: The Good Life

Buy: The Good Life

Live a good life… and if it’s half as good as George’s has been so far, consider yourself lucky.