Free Basin’ Fridays – even the “Design” is “Free”

Friday, February 24th, 2012

What’s that? Are we getting all cryptic again? Well, let us speak plain – for this week’s Free Basin’ Fridays we’re loading you up with the softest soft-psych this side of a pin wheel lollipop, The Free Design. Out of print on CD for the last few years, copies of our reissues of these seminal albums were fetching upwards of $50 on Amazon, but now we have them back in print with more accessible prices.

To celebrate this, we’re giving away the first five albums on CD. Nice heavy stock digipaks with detailed liner notes, rare photos, and lovingly remastered audio (not to mention all the bonus tracks). The list includes:

For your chance to win, leave a comment below (favorite Free Design song/album, when you first heard the Free Design, etc.) with your name and email address. Winner will be announced next Friday 3/2!

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42 Responses to “Free Basin’ Fridays – even the “Design” is “Free””

  1. nopussyfooting says:

    *BUBBLES* – Unstoppable happiness.

  2. Bryce E says:

    The first album Kite’s are Fun is my all time favorite. Gotta love the title track “Kite’s are Fun” first remember listening to them while I was burning 1,000 promo cds in the old lita basement. Been hooked ever since!

  3. Cheyenne F says:

    First heard the Free Design while digging for cool 45′s in a record store & found a radio promo copy of Kites Are Fun/The Proper Ornaments. Loved them ever since!

  4. j.bliss says:

    heard “love you” in an ad and sought them out … beautiful music.

  5. Lucio says:

    2002 – A Hit Song, from Heaven/earth. I have the brazilian edition (press 60′s) and this is fabulous.

  6. Jason says:

    I first discovered them through association with Stereolab’s track “The Free Design,” when their “Cobras and Phrases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night” album came out. Such amazing vocal harmonies blow a lot of other more famous groups of the time out of the water. “Make the Madness Stop” and “The Proper Ornaments” off “Kites Are Fun” gets stuck in my head all the time. So good.

  7. Nil says:

    Miss them the first time around, not this time.

  8. Joshua Davis says:

    Heard Heaven/ Earth through a coworker in our work kitchen. Great music for making food to.

  9. Henry Bob says:

    My favorite album by them is kites are fun.

  10. David Newman says:

    “My Very Own Angel” immediately transported me to the first time I knew I was in love with the woman I would marry. It is one of those basic tunes that has pure magical properties.

  11. Jim Bruzzese says:

    My favorite FD song is Little Cowboy. “Little cowboy, you’ve been ridin’ since the early mornin’ sun
    Find the mavericks where they’re hidin’, ropin’ dogies one by one
    With your six-gun always ready, for the bad guy strikin’ you down
    On your pinto strong and steady, you can run them right out of town.” So much fun! Great to see these back in print.

  12. Sam says:

    Like many others my favorite track is “Kites Are Fun,” which a friend put on a mix for me years ago. Their debut album is my favorite and the only one I’ve really spent any time with. I’ve been returning to them recently (always looking for more music like the Association, Harpers’ Bizarre, and the Beach Boys) and would love to dig further into their discography, thanks so much for these reissues!

  13. Brady B. says:

    I first heard The Free Design almost ten years ago when I stumbled upon a short-lived web-toon called “Julius & Friends”, based on the popular characters created by designer Paul Frank. One episode featured no talking at all, just the song “Love You” by The Free Design as the characters tumble down a rabbit hole and travel about in a wonderful dream world. It was absolutely magical, so sweet, innocent and sentimental that it actually made me cry! I immediately sought out the song, which led me to delve further into the group’s catalogue, and I have now become a huge fan.

    PS) If you are interested, you can still see this charming animated video here :

  14. Donovan Friesen says:

    I’m pretty sure I was read about The Free Design on some website, and I was intrigued I’d never heard of them. I looked them up on and listened to a few samples and was blown away – every single track sounded amazing! I can’t believe I never heard about them earlier.

  15. Jon White says:

    None I’ve heard have ever failed to take me to a different place, but the first, and best was Kites Are Fun.

  16. Kaley says:

    Ooh, these would be nice.

  17. mikeB says:

    Just scored the Stars / Time / Bubbles / Love LP. I put it on and cant stop listening to side one. Butterflies are free, why arent we!!! Unbelievably cool shit

  18. Rob says:

    Never heard the full Free Design albums as they were too expensive on Amazon by the time I discovered the band, but always loved Butterflies Are Free. Sound samples sound amazing!

  19. jerry says:

    have bought many LITA reissues but never got around to these. first heard them in the early 70s my older sister had the kites are fun album and played when love is young over and over and over and over.

  20. admin says:

    Thanks for sharing that video link, Brady! Amazing!

  21. Matthews says:

    Excited to pick these up! I regretted missing them before. Thanks.

  22. Gavin says:

    1st heard them when I picked up the 2×10″ _Bubbles_ comp purely on a whim, as it looked so great. Got it home to find it sounded as good as it looked!

  23. THOMAS NEWMAN says:

    Free Design is one of my favorite vocal groups along with 5th Dimension, The Carpenters, Beach Boys, Harper’s Bizarre, The Association, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, etc. My favorite album of theirs however is “One By One” which isn’t being reissued. “Friendly Man”, “Thank You Friends” – some of their songs can really reduce you to tears they’re so beautiful.

  24. Spike says:

    First heard 35 years ago when my high school choir sang ‘Kites Are Fun’ and the director played the recording. Been listening to them ever since!

  25. I discovered the Free Design in the mid 90′s and love them ever since ! They continue to influence me to this day ! I even write about them on my book on Bubblegum & Sunshine pop (out in France)

  26. Neal says:

    Heard Bubbles playing at a record store and nearly shat myself with happiness. Being an avid Stereolab fan, it was a ‘I must know who this is and buy it immediately.’ I love all of the records for different reasons, so fair to say I embrace the full catalog. Now just need them on vinyl (wink-wink). This group makes me happy as a clam. Even the sad songs have a joyous shine to them. It’s all in the angelic harmonies and that smooth-as-butter jazz grooves. What a beautiful time for music.

  27. Vince says:

    Favorite Free Design song: “Children’s Waltz”
    First heard Free Design due to Stereolab.

  28. Matthieu says:

    The Free Design music makes me feel there’s a beautiful future waiting for us somewhere, as colorful and elegant as their covers.

  29. Eric Falardeau says:

    I was reborn when I first heard You Could Be Born Again!

  30. Recordmaven says:

    So many favorite songs… “Don’t Turn Away,” “Dorian Benediction,” “The Proper Ornaments,” “An Elegy,” “I Found Love,” “Where Do I Go,” the list goes on and on! Great to see these back in print! Thanks again, LITA. Can you also reissue the greatest-hits “The Redesigned Originals, recorded by the Free Design?” That was a good collection and matched the fabulous “Redesigned” CD. My favorite on “Redesigned:” Caribou’s take on “Dorian Benediction” – but all the remixes were really good.

  31. Paul Kessler says:

    I’m at a loss to remember them. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard them. But if you’re giving them away for free…

  32. R.P. says:

    I first heard “I love the sunrise” when my brother played the first album in the late 70s. Then rediscovered them on YouTube.

  33. Mark Murray says:

    We dont have this exquisite music in Australia, unless these come this way ( Down Under!) The CD’s deserve a holiday here, free of charge on me. I’ll look after them, and take care of the needs.

  34. James McCollum says:

    A fan since first heard “Kites Are Fun” back in the day. Got all of the reissues earlier in this new millenium,except “Kites”,’cause,well,I had my favorite cuts on the Spain reissues comps .Felt left out when the first bunch went OOP.Ordrered the new version a few weeks ago and was pleasently surprised that the cardboard version(which I have mixed feelings about)still contained the newsy liners inside.I have original copies of all of the Project 3 LPs,including a WLP of “Sings for VIPs”.Had a WLP of “Kites”,but let my kids play with that decades ago(sigh).Billy Cobham signed my “Bubbles”just last year,as he was surprised he was on this(an early studio gig).Also,I have LITA’s vinyl remix EPs(still sealed ,as I use the CD as my go to listening copy).How good are/were the Free Design?Well,their cover songs sometimes pale against a Chris Dedrick original song.And they covered a couple of Lennon/McCartney tunes.How about a 45 PS for Record Store Day?

  35. Fabian Broicher says:

    I first found out about The Free Design last year, by recommendation of my music teacher, who is a lot into that kind of obscure late 60ies/early 70ies bands (Heads, Hands and Feet, anyone?). He played me ‘…Sing For Very Important People’ (on vinyl, that is!) and I was absolutely blown away by that record. Kites are Fun is amazing, Love You is great, it’s all so wonderful…!!!
    Unfortunatly neither me nor my music teacher have the possibility to digitalize vinyls, and – as you rightly wrote – the CD re-issues were just too pricy for me, so I never again had the chance to listen to them ‘properly’ (not on YouTube, etc.)
    So this is an amazing chance to pick amazing albums up (and I’m very, veerry curious to listen to the stuff I haven’t heard yet). And I, of course, would love to win these copies.

  36. Jason Rahn says:

    I first heard the Free Design about 15 years ago. I bought a number of their cds from Siesta Records (I think that is the label). I just remember hearing Kites Are Fun and Bubbles and falling in love with every aspect of them, from their song structures to their unbelievable harmonies. I have since picked up many of vinyl reissues (from LITA) and just last weekend found a used copy of the Vol. 1 Remix EP. I also have a Chris Dedrick solo cd that is equally amazing. I think I would definitely pick at least one of their albums to be a desert island pick. I just love them.

  37. Kirk says:

    I’ve been waiting for these for a while. Well, Heaven/Earth really, missed that one the first time around. I starting getting into them wen they reformed to cover The Beach Boys’ Endless Harmony. Have the Siesta vinyl, Cosmic Peakaboo, etc… If I had to pick a favorite, it would be When Love Is Young. Such a gorgeous song, and Sandy’s voice is just unbelievable. They’re all good, though. Bubbles, Ivy On A Windy Day, One by One, on and on…

  38. Gerald says:

    Favorite song, Bubbles. Awesome group.

  39. Sandra Dedrick says:

    What a pleasure to read all these comments about the Free Design!!

    Singing in this gtoup with my siblings was so much fun and remains one of the highlights of my life!!

    Sandra Dedrick

  40. Pierre Dumais says:

    Sandra Dedrick of The Free Design, has just produced a new CD of songs and lyrics by her brother Chris. I have heard the master. Her singing is beautiful and the songs are outstanding. The album was produced by Sandra as a tribute to Chris who was an commanding composer and arranger.

  41. admin says:

    Thanks for chiming in, Sandra! You know the Free Design will always have a special place in our hearts. It was so nice to see everyone’s comments.

  42. Jef says:

    first i heard of free design from siesta records releases. kites are fun is my favourite.
    hope you guys could reprint some of the LP’s as well.

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