Cortland, 1969-71, 1973
Freeman Sound was formed by L.J. Fortier (drums), Kurt Sunderman (bass), Ray Escott (vocals), Buster McCarthy (bass) and John Harrow (guitar). Most of the band members were students at Lakeview High School. The band was planned as a four piece to be called "Lickety Cricket" but when Harrow's previous band, the Difference Between (which had included L.J), broke up, he joined up.
The Freeman Sound played local high school dances and teen clubs through the first half of 1970. On Sept. 26, 1970 they won the WNIO/Starshine Productions Battle of the Bands which enabled the band to record a 45 for the Starshine label. The 45, recorded at United Audio, included the live favorite "16 Tons" and the original "Singing My Own Song" - which is a super example of teenage rock-n-roll sentiment of the time. The 45 was a local hit, getting airplay and selling out the pressing. Starshine productions and the band entered into a deal where Freeman Sound would be the 'house band' at Starshine's Zodiac Club, which included a portrait of the group as a mural.
The Starshine gig lasted until the end of 1970, where a combination of factors, including some legal issues between the Zodiac Club and its neighbors, stalled the band's momentum. In the while the band continued to write and perform original songs. In early 1971 the band decided that they could not work things out and disbanded.
In the fall of 1971 John Harrow reunited with L.J. Fortier in a 'project' called Old Friends and New Acquaintances. The result was a 45, one of the first records done at the new Peppermint Productions, and issued on the Freeman label. Other members included Paul Bires (who had been in the Difference Between), Gary Sloas (Holes in the Road), and Brian Wingrove.
In 1973 Freeman Sound was resurrected by L.J Fortier and Ray Escott, as an attempt to make a professional recording and touring band with a heavier sound. Problems with management and personal commitments doomed the new band early on, and they only played a handful of gigs.
In 2005 the World In Sound label released a CD of Freeman Sound and related recordings, including the 45 sides, one of the Old Friends recordings, and several recent recordings of original 1970 Freeman Sound songs done in the style of their time. L.J. Fortier has long established web site with Freeman Sound history -