MICHAEL PENN Free-For-All + “Free Time” EP (1992)

Free-For-All (1992)
The Talented Penn Brother

Many fans would probably recommend Michael Penn’s 1989 debut album, March, featuring the minor hit, “No Myth.” And… you can’t go wrong with that one. But, it’s Penn’s under-the-radar sophomore release, Free-For-All, that sets a pop standard that even he’s yet to equal. Penn can deliver acoustic material with a veteran’s ease, not unlike a Peter Case or
a T-Bone Burnett, but it’s his rockers that shine brightest. “Free Time” and the pun heavy “Seen The Doctor” embody that inventive 60s spirit where instruments morph with each verse, harmonies wander in and out of the mix and Revolver is in the air. Regarding his compositional chops, take special note of Penn’s powerful bridges, amping the standard verse-chorus-verse template into a full, 3D experience. Married to singer Aimee Mann, Michael’s kin are actors Chris & Sean Penn, making him Madonna’s ex-brother-in-law. Which is rather pointless. Five out-of-print albums (March, Resigned, MP4 & Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947, being the others) and Penn hasn’t made a bad one yet. Free-For-All is an obscure pop great that, like the other 4, lingers at Amazon (HERE) for only 1¢.

Long Way Down (Look What The Cat Drug In)
Free Time
Seen The Doctor
By The Book
Slipping My Mind
Strange Season
Bunker Hill
Now We’re Even

“Free Time” (1993)
The CD single for Free-For-All‘s “Free Time,” featuring the Butch Vig remix, along with two live tracks and an excellent acoustic rendition of “Seen The Doctor.” Also a penny at Amazon.



Free Time (Butch Vig Remix) (4:09)
Rising Steam (Live) (5:40)
By The Book (Live) (4:41)
Seen The Doctor (Acoustic) (3:11)


  • Capt. Willard
    November 2, 2010 - 20:20 | Permalink

    Get them HERE.

  • Rob From Amersfoort
    January 16, 2011 - 20:01 | Permalink

    I bought every CD and CDS he made, I think he is an amazing songwriter and recording artist. MP4 is downright brilliant. Years ago, when I first heard ‘Free-For-All’, I did not understand why he started the album with a slow acoustic song. It doesn’t help in selling the album. But it grows on you, and now I consider the opening track to be one of his best songs, with a wonderful chamberlin solo by Patrick Warren.

  • W
    January 16, 2011 - 20:04 | Permalink

    Thanks for commenting, Rob.

  • Colin H
    October 17, 2011 - 12:03 | Permalink

    I’ve loved March and Resigned since each came out, but somehow had never seen this album around until an earlier post of it you made, and have never hear the other 2 at all. Thanks again!


  • Supersonic75
    January 29, 2014 - 18:24 | Permalink

    Thanks, Willard….

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