In the early '70s, Paul Kossoff was a much-heralded young guitarist from a much-heralded young rock band called Free. In a short period of time, Kossoff and his cohorts punched out some classic rock. A brief solo career followed for the inspired axeman, but his untimely death in 1976 from a drug-related heart attack put an end to the potential that his peers and fans were looking forward to seeing fully realized. All one can do is celebrate and enjoy what this stylistically unique and utterly precocious musician left behind, and this 17-track disc, which culls Kossoff's best work from both his days with Free and as a solo performer, is an excellent way to do just that. A player who made his name with unusual phrasings, brazen fills, and an intuitive use of sustained notes – and rarely going for fretboard-smoking speed – Kossoff had a prototypical signature sound. His ability to do the work of two guitarists – Free, for the most part, was a barebones guitar/bass/drums/singer outfit – was one of his greatest strengths and, despite a good deal of studio dubbing, you can hear it in places on this album. The best cuts are definitely the eight Free tracks, which include the raunchy "The Hunter," the good-time rock-blues of "Ride on a Pony," the dramatic "Fire and Water" and "Mr. Big," and the band's all-time classic, "All Right Now".
Released in 1978 after London Town gave McCartney another huge hit, Wings Greatest rounds up McCartney's greatest hits from 1971 to 1978 – which means it skips "Maybe I'm Amazed" but touches on Ram. The main strength of this collection is that it contains many hits that never appeared on any album, and these are among McCartney's very best non-Beatle singles: the eccentric domesticity of "Another Day," the choogling rocker "Junior's Farm," the Bond anthem "Live and Let Die," the piledriving "Hi Hi Hi," and "Mull of Kintyre," a Scottish-styled folk ballad that was his biggest hit in England. And yes, it's fair to peg these as McCartney successes, since some of them were billed as McCartney, not Wings, and as such, this record is a great overview of McCartney's first decade of solo recording, containing many of his very best solo tunes.