Play Each Song HERE


1. You Must Remember (Jones) 
Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
2. Back To My Home Again (Blair) 
Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
3. Boogie Band (Jones) 
Vocal: Bill Hillman
4. Hey Valerie (Jones/Blair) 
Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
5. Estevan Coal Train (Jones)
Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
6. Hey Gizella (Jones) 
Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
7. Listen To Me Cry (Bill Hillman) 
Vocal: Bill & Sue-On
8. Who's To Say (Blair/Jones) 
Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
9. The Truckin' Song (Blair)
Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
10. My Love Song To You
(Jones) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
11. In Love Again (Jones) 
Vocal: Sue-On Hillman
12. Go Play Your Ever-Lovin' Game
(Jones) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood



Alan Jones

Terry Fleetwood

Bill Hillman

Sue-On Hillman

Ian Hunter

Ken Blair

Bill ~ Ken ~ Terry

Colin Bennett

FREE SPIRIT ~ MGS-2001 ~ Maple Grove Records


If variety is the spice of life, this album has it all. Whether you prefer the crying country sounds of BACK TO MY HOME AGAIN, the driving beat of HEY GIZELLA, the nostalgic 'rock' sound of GO PLAY YOUR EVER-LOVING GAME, or the romanticism of IN LOVE AGAIN, all illustrate well the remarkable range of talent to be found in FREE SPIRIT.

The members of this unique group take their roots from a variety of backgrounds - Canadian, British and Chinese. Prairie dance halls, British pubs and clubs, and Oriental life-styles have all influenced the musical development of FREE SPIRIT. As a result of this, the music produced here reveals a surprising melting-pot of ideas from many musical styles and eras - including Swing, Rock and Country & Western.

In producing this album of twelve original songs and arrangements, FREE SPIRIT have simply expressed what has occurred naturally to them. The result is an exciting blend of melodies and sounds which can be readily enjoyed by everyone. So now, sit back and experience FREE SPIRIT.

Click on each title to hear the song
1. You Must Remember (Jones) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
2. Back To My Home Again (Blair) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
3. Boogie Band (Jones) Vocal: Bill Hillman
4. Hey Valerie (Jones/Blair) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
5. Estevan Coal Train (Jones) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
6. Hey Gizella (Jones) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
7. Listen To Me Cry (Bill Hillman) Vocal: Bill & Sue-On
8. Who's To Say (Blair/Jones) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
9. The Truckin' Song (Blair) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
10. My Love Song To You (Jones) Vocal: Terry Fleetwood
11. In Love Again (Jones) Vocal: Sue-On Hillman
12. Go Play Your Ever-Lovin' Game (Jones) Terry Fleetwood


Terry Fleetwood: Lead & Back-Up Vocals ~ Harmonica in 5 ~ Piano in 3
Bill Hillman: Lead Vocals ~ Rhythm & Lead Guitars all songs
Sue-On Hillman: Lead & Back-Up Vocals ~ Percussion
Ian Hunter: Drums in all songs ~ Tenor Sax ~ Back-Up Vocals
Ken Blair: Bass in all songs ~ Rhythm Guitar in 9 ~ Back-Up Vocals
Al Jones: Piano in all songs ~ Organ in 6, 10, 11

Produced by Al Jones with invaluable assistance from Bill Hillman
Arrangements by Free Spirit
Recorded at Century 21 Studios, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Engineers: John Hildebrand, Colin Bennett
Conversion to digital MP3 format: Dave Weston
Photography by Photography Unlimited, Brandon, Manitoba
Bi-plane courtesy of Ken Gowler, Brandon


Free Spirit! - A remarkable group of six professional workers whose considerable musical talents have, up till now, been hidden in second place behind their working professions. However, they now are doing what thousands of others would love to do but never have the chance - that is, break out of a work routine to let their voices be heard in a medium they really enjoy - Music.

The members of this unique group take their roots from a variety of different backgrounds - Canadian - British - and Chinese. As a result of this their music reveals a surprising melting-pot of ideas from many styles and eras, including swing, rock and country & western.

In producing an album of twelve original songs and arrangements, Free Spirit have simply expressed what has occurred naturally to them. The result is a surprising variety of melodies and sounds which can be enjoyed by old and young alike.

Free Spirit Features:
Al Jones - Piano & Original Material
Terry Fleetwood - Lead Vocals, Harmonies, Piano
Ken Blair - Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Back-up Vocals, Originals
Ian Hunter - Drums, Sax, Back-up Vocals

With Guest Artists:
Sue-On Hillman - Lead & Back-up vocals, Percussion
Bill Hillman - Vocals, Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Originals

Recording anecdotes and original lyrics in preparation
The sessions took place at Century 21 Studios on Salter Street on
Thursday the 13th and Sunday the 16th and 23rd of February, 1975.
The album was completed the next month in two additional sessions:
Sunday the 2nd and 9th of March, 1975.


The first time that elements of "Free Spirit" came together was during the mid 50, when Terry Fleetwood, Ian Hunter and myself, Alan Jones, were students at Worcester College for the Blind, in the city of Worcester, U.K. This was a boarding school for boys between the ages of 11 to 18, with varying degrees of site loss, from total to those who could read print with some visual aid. The College gave us a first rate education, with Braille as the essential learning medium, and music, mainly piano, as an optional program. I had come from my previous school in Newcastle, equipped with some classical piano training, but when encountering braille music, which cannot be read and played at the same time, my frustration caused me to divert to play by ear and instinct, discovering Blues and pounding out Boogie woogie on whatever pianos were available. 

Terry and Ian were discovering music in the same way, with participation in the somewhat rudimentary college band providing the main focus. Career alternatives were, and still are, very limited for the visually impaired, and on leaving WCB. all three of us chose physiotherapy as the best option open to us, and this again brought us to the same students' residence in London for physio training around 1960. Here, I took up the Tenor Sax, joining our student jazz band, introducing me to swing and modern jazz arrangements. A short interview and recording for an Australian radio station was probably the highlight for this group. Occasional employment playing Pub piano, plus visits to listen to music at the Skiffle Cellar and Jazz clubs, added to my musical education while in London.

Meanwhile, Messers. Fleetwood and Hunter formed an R & B group, specialising in Stones, and Beatles music, which continued on after their graduation, to become quite successful, playing multiple Club contracts, and at many interesting venues such as Chiselhurst Caves, and their own Nightclub in the London's Theatre district. They were also offered a contract to do a tour of the Armed Forces bases in Europe, but instead, chose to reject what some would have considered major career moves for musicians, in favour of their Hospital work and families.

Following a series of extraordinary coincidences, my Physiotherapy career propelled me as a landed immigrant to Brandon, Manitoba, Canada in May 1963. On seeking musical contacts through the local Barbershop Chorus, I was lucky enough to team up with two other outstanding members of "Free Spirit", Ken Blair and Bill Hillman, adding piano and sax to their trio of guitars and drums. Serving up Country and Western and Bill's current Rock guitar music at rural dance halls was yet another new and fun experience for me, despite encountering some wonderfully out-of-tune pianos, and providing a sitting target for the local moth and mosquito population. The band broke up when Bill and Ken quit to pursue their teaching careers.

Ken and I did get together later as part of a trio playing a regular weekend gig at one of Brandon's hotel lounges. Our third member added accordion and a Ukrainian flavour to the musical mix. Unfortunately, due to the generosity of the patrons who provided us with far more beer than we could ever drink, We fell afoul of the bizarre liquor regulations in place at that time, which allowed no more than one glass of beer or liquor in front a person at any time. Since the inspector caught us with as many as 20 glasses lined up on the piano, our further "dry" participation at the lounge was short-lived.

By 1966, I had assumed a Charge position at the hospital with responsibility for recruiting Therapists to staff our expanding department. Since Canadian-trained Therapists were in short supply in those days, I turned to my known colleagues in the U.K. to help out. Terry Fleetwood was the first "Free Spirit" member to land in Brandon in June 1966, Ian Hunter joined us two years later. Both guys brought good PT experience and a wealth of musical talent with them. 

With Terry's arrival, a trio with Ken Blair soon evolved, and we gradually became well known around Brandon and area as "The Three and Easy." Ian's eventual arrival completed a very versatile quartet, with Terry and Ian the talented showmen, and Ken and I contributing the basic driving foundation. Our main line-up was Fleetwood bass guitar and vocals, Blair guitar, Hunter drums and Jones organ. Terry could also double on drums or organ allowing Ian or I to play Tenor sax. Ken would also double on bass and provide occasional lead or back-up vocals. Terry could also breathe a mean blues harp, and most of these talents did come to the fore on the Free Spirit album, (esp. Estevan Coal Train) and enabled us to provide music suitable for anything from school grads or parties to dinner dances, and Officers' club functions at the nearby Canadian Forces bases - not to mention Ukrainian weddings!

Loading up our equipment trailer with Hammond organ, drums, amplifiers, etc. at the end of each working week for months on end, The "Three and Easy" ventured forth to play venues anywhere within a 100 mile radius of Brandon. Ken was our only driver, so be it 30 degrees below zero in the winter snow, or 90 above through crashing prairie thunder storms in the Summer, Ken never once failed to reach our destination, often not returning home ‘till after three in the morning. A close, well-knit musical group was the result, which enjoyed considerable success and was a source of great friendships which endure to today. 

In the early 1970s, Ken and I were the first to tire, phasing out of the group to try our hand at song writing. Terry and Ian recruited a new keyboard player, Roy Edwards, and their trio continued to enjoy success, garnering their own regular weekly show on local Television, as well as an FM radio series. 

Meanwhile, Bill Hillman and multi-talented wife, Sue-On, were similarly occupied climbing higher and travelling even farther with their unique Country & Western combo than we had done. They were also delving in to recording their music, with Bill being a prolific song writer. 

Once Ken and I had put together enough songs to complete an album, our former "Three and Easy" colleagues and the Hillmans, generously offered their considerable talents towards the recording. All had busy work and music commitments, so time was short. Once the basic rhythm tracks were laid down, everyone had on-the-spot input towards the mix, and almost before we realised it, it was done!

And so "Free Spirit" blossomed forth. Bill and Sue-On's experience and knowledge of the recording industry was a crucial ingredient in the successful final product which you now see before you, in all it's vintage glory! We all sincerely hope that these tracks bring as much enjoyment to you who download them, as they brought to us in their production. In making them available, as COMPLETELY FREE DOWNLOADS, "Free Spirit" lives on! 

 Following the completion of the recording, little was done to promote the album, although one or two songs did receive some radio play. The Hillmans carried on their dynamic way, as evidenced in their excellent web site: www.HillmanWeb.com

Ken Blair continued his work as a school teacher in the Brandon area until his retirement. Thanks to modern digital technology, Ken is back to the enjoyment and challenge of recording. Having added keyboard playing to his guitar prowess, he is aranging and producing CDs from his basement studio, with friends, the Van Makelberghs, contributing vocal and drums for mainly country and western songs. Ken continues to live in Brandon with his wife, Peggy. 

By 1977, the three remaining "Free Spirit" members had left Brandon, going their separate ways heading west. This was precipitated by the amalgamation of Brandon's two hospitals and consequent upheaval, establishing a pattern of adversarial wrangling and over-administration which has mushroomed throughout the Canadian hospital system ever since.

Terry Fleetwood took on a charge position, reorganising the physiotherapy services at a senior citizens' complex in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, carrying out some leading work in quality assurance. Here, Terry's life took a radical change in direction, moving from physiotherapy to Christian Ministry, eventually becoming Pastor of his local church. His talents continued to be put to good use in music ministry, in singing, keyboard playing and arranging as part of a gospel quartet who were welcomed at many venues around Saskatchewan. Terry's wife, Lita, son, Leslie and daughter, Angela, all with fine singing voices, 
also became part of the music ministry, combining with him on a crusade to Mexico as well as making numerous appearances throughout his home province.

In 1992, Terry left the harsher climate of the Prairies for the more temporate and beautiful Victoria, BC. Re-establishing himself in physiotherapy, he worked briefly helping in my practice, before gaining a position as physiotherapist, counsellor with pastoral duties in a retirement home in Victoria. He is now semi-retired, living with his wife in Victoria. He plans to do some writing, and soon to establish his own web site.

Ian Hunter left Brandon in 1975 to take a position in charge of physiotherapy services at the Sechelt hospital north of Vancouver, British Columbia, later opening his own private clinic. He also made his mark on the local music scene playing regularly at functions on the Sunshine coast of BC. With his highly professional rhythm and sax-playing ability, plus some keyboard and vocal talent, Ian was a musician from head to toe. A victim of cancer, his productive life was cut short in 1991, leaving behind wife, Christine, and children Jonathan and Naomi, plus the loss of a valued friend and component of the "Free Spirit" group.

Prior to leaving Brandon in 1977, my music involvement continued playing in a trio for occasional functions with Ken Blair and George Van Makelbergh on bass. A hectic six week jaunt to England with the Hillman combo was my musical highlight of 1976. Tourists by day, and entertainers at night, we travelled throughout my native northeast. Centred in Middlesborough, we played at clubs almost seven nights a week for over a month sharing billings and accomodation with itinerant and local entertainers. A great experience which gave us a fascinating glimpse at a different life style. This was followed by a recording session in the bowels of Soho before returning to Canada. 

In 1977, I acquired a physiotherapy practice in Victoria, British Colombia which has kept me busy to this day. In the early 1980s I became friends with Dave Weston, who had music as a prime interest outside his daily professional work. His fine guitar, plus bass and vocals contributed by other friends, provided the basis for many enjoyable jam sessions, together with some in-house recording and a little song writing. I formed a small company to deal with any spin-offs from our musical efforts, the main product of which was the recording and production of two Christmas albums for the Victoria school district's Ukulele Childrens Program. Dave Weston engineered the on-site recording, mixing and final mastering. The projects worked out well, providing a well produced and happy-sounding album for participiting students to sell to their friends and relatives.

Later in the 1980s, I was inspired to do some gospel songwriting by music heard at the Vinyard church at which I was attending at the time. Since then, other than some novelty song writing with a somewhat political theme, I have been absent from the music scene until recent promptings from Bill Hillman and Ken Blair. This renewed contact with old friends plus enquiries from my former students association e-mail group from New College Worcester, (Formally Worcester College for the Blind) has triggered my interest in looking back at our musical past. Converting the "Free Spirit album to a digital format was the first step in ressurrecting this blast from the past for others to hear. Thanks to computer technology, Dave's assistance in converting the analogue recording to digital, and Bill Hillman building the web site, this has now been achieved.

Whether as individuals or together, there seems little doubt that remaining members of "Free Spirit" will be heard from again through projects involving music. Now close to retirement living with my wife Sky in Victoria, I'm sure I will be joining Bill and Sue-On, Ken and Terry in contributing something new, and hopefully of interest for the future. In the meantime, our musical contribution from the past is now on line in the form of "Free Spirit" for all to enjoy.

Al Jones ~ May 28 2006

We share Alan's sense of amazement concerning this project -- and find it hard to believe that it is now over 30 years ago that we worked on these tracks. Actually the Jones-Blair-Hillman association goes all the way back to the early '60s when Al first came to Canada to work as a physiotherapist in Brandon. 

Ken Blair and I were working in an instrumental trio in which my guitar was the only lead instrument -- 4-hour dance jobs featuring nothing but the popular guitar instrumentals of the day. We were thrilled when Alan agreed to join the group and add sax, piano and organ to our sound. 

I was even more excited when Alan offered to contact his brother, Keith, in England and have him send over guitar albums by the Shadows. I was already a great fan of Lonnie Donegan, skiffle and trad bands, Cliff Richard, and all the other giants of the British music scene whose records were rather difficult to obtain in Canada. This series of events added tremendously to our band's repertoire.

Eventually the band dissolved, Sue-On and I married in 1966, and we went on to other musical pursuits. Alan, Ken and I drifted apart . . . until almost 10 years later when Al contacted me. He played some of the songs he had written and asked if Sue-On and I would like to join him in a recording project. He also enlisted the aid of Ken Blair and two other fine musicians with whom he had played with back in England -- Terry Fleetwood and Ian Hunter. 

At the time, Sue-On and I were spending much of our free time, while off the road and away from our teaching duties, working at a multitude of recording sessions in Winnipeg's Century 21 Studios. This looked like another challenging venture so, within weeks we were again back in the studio. The two studio engineers were John Hildebrand, co-owner of the studio, and Colin Bennett, who had previously been musical arranger, etc. for the RCMP Musical Ride band.

In Al's Looking Back notes he mentioned one all-night session. Sue-On was part of the reason for this long session. She had spent most of the day sick in bed with a bad cold, but gamely made it to the session to do back-up vocals. She held up fairly well, but as the session dragged on into the night, she started to experience sharp pains in her chest and had difficulty in breathing. The three physiotherapists in the group correctly diagnosed the problem as pleurisy -- and tightened a belt around her chest to ease the pain so she could finish the background vocals. She could only sing two sustained notes at a time, but thanks to overdubbing we strung it all together. When the pain became too severe I took her to the hospital for treatment.

This was one of our few recording projects in which Sue-On didn't play drums. The drum work was ably handled by Ian Hunter, who also did a great job doubling on sax. The songs are performed in quite a variety of styles -- many of them showing the influence of the guys' British roots -- and  they have stood up amazingly well and are still great fun to listen to. I look back with awe at Al's unique songwriting and keyboard work, Ken's bass work which met the challenge of such an eclectic musical mix, and Terry's quite incredible vocal style.

This was probably the last recording session in which I used my original Telecaster with Bigsby and my home-made B-bender, and after listening to the sounds of the instrument I'm tempted to come full cycle and make more use of it in future sessions. 

The album cover was designed in keeping with the "Free Spirit" theme. The photo was taken at Brandon Airport with all of us gathered around Ken Gowler's famous bi-plane with plenty of open blue sky in the background. The bi-plane from the cover is now on permanent display, hanging from the terminal ceiling at Winnipeg International Airport. Kevin Pahl, our keyboard player in our other band, was one of the few pilots who flew it before it was "dry docked."  Fittingly, since Sue-On and I were in the middle of yet another project that day we made it to the photo shoot thanks to Kevin's father, Howard, who flew us into Brandon on that afternoon. 

Soon after the release of this album, Alan returned to England for a visit with family. While over there, he approached an agent and interested him in booking us for a '76 tour of England.  We did a series of 30 nights in halls and clubs with Sue-On on drums, Kevin Pahl on electric piano and keyboard bass, myself on guitar, with Alan joining in on organ in the clubs which had one available. At the end of the tour we recorded five songs for Hillman Album No.6 in a London Soho studio. Sue-On and I returned to England again in '77 and '79 for more tours and recording projects, but by this time Alan's professional career in health care had taken him to Victoria.

Now however, 30 years later, our paths have crossed again. Alan, I do believe it is time to get serious about another music project  -- let's roll again : )

~ Bill and Sue-On - 2006
Brandon, MB 

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