Tons of Sobs
Tons of Sobs is the debut album by English blues rock band Free, released in the UK on 14 March 1969. While the album failed to chart in the UK, it did reach #197 in the US. Free are cited as one of the definitive bands of the British blues boom of the late 1960s even though this is the only album of their canon that can strictly be called blues rock. According to bass player Andy Fraser, the title effectively summed up the album.
|Tons of Sobs|
|Studio album by|
|Released||14 March 1969|
|Recorded||October and December 1968 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London|
Free were a new band when they recorded Tons of Sobs, and they were extremely young; none of them were yet twenty and the youngest, Andy Fraser, was just sixteen years old. They had achieved a following through constant touring, and their debut album consisted for the most part of their live set-list.
With the band signed to Chris Blackwell's Island Records, Guy Stevens was hired to produce the album (he later became notable for producing early albums for Mott the Hoople and The Clash's legendary album London Calling ). He opted for a minimalist attitude to production, due to the extremely low budget of about £800, creating a very raw and raucous sound – although it may have been that the relative inexperience of the band was also a contributing factor to this. As such the album is a marked contrast in production terms from the band's later albums. The simple nature of the recording meant that many tracks translated well into a live setting and several songs from this album were still performed even when the band had written and recorded many more for subsequent records.
The majority of the album was recorded over the course of a few days in October 1968. Originally slated for a November release, the album was delayed to early 1969 due to the late addition of their cover of "The Hunter". This track was a mainstay in their live sets and was recorded in a December 1968 session at Stevens' insistence.
|Rolling Stone||(negative) |
- Side one
- "Over the Green Hills (Pt. 1)" (Paul Rodgers) – 0:49
- "Worry" (Rodgers) – 3:26
- "Walk in My Shadow" (Andy Fraser, Simon Kirke, Paul Kossoff, Rodgers) – 3:29
- "Wild Indian Woman" (Fraser, Rodgers) – 3:39
- "Goin' Down Slow" (James Burke Oden) – 8:20
- Side two
- "I'm a Mover" (Rodgers, Fraser) – 2:56
- "The Hunter" (Booker T. Jones, Carl Wells, Donald Dunn, Al Jackson, Jr., Steve Cropper) – 4:13
- "Moonshine" (Fraser, Kirke, Kossoff, Rodgers) – 5:04
- "Sweet Tooth" (Rodgers) – 4:54
- "Over the Green Hills (Pt. 2)" (Rodgers) – 1:58
- Bonus tracks
Recent CD reissues contain several bonus tracks:
- "I'm a Mover" (BBC session) (Rodgers, Fraser) – 3:04
- "Waitin' on You" (BBC session) (B.B. King, Ferdinand Washington) – 2:15
- "Guy Stevens Blues" (Rodgers, Fraser, Kirke, Kossoff) – 4:39
- "Moonshine" (Alternative vocal) (Fraser, Kirke, Kossoff, Rodgers) – 5:09
- "Sweet Tooth" (Early take and alternative vocal) (Rodgers) – 4:53
- "Visions of Hell" (Fraser, Rodgers) – 3:46
- "Woman by the Sea" (Fraser, Rodgers) – 3:30
- "Over the Green Hills" (BBC session) (Rodgers) – 3:51
- Paul Rodgers – vocals
- Paul Kossoff – lead guitar, rhythm guitar
- Andy Fraser – bass guitar, piano
- Simon Kirke – drums, percussion
- Additional personnel
"Walk in My Shadow"Edit
- Tommy Bolin recorded a live version at Ebbets Field, Denver in 1975, released on the deluxe 2CD version of Teaser (1975) in 2015.
- Leslie West covered it on the album Got Blooze, 2005.
- Joe Bonamassa recorded "Walk in My Shadow" (though titled and sang it as "Walk in My Shadows") on his 2014 album A New Day Yesterday.
- Paul Rogers has a version on the 2014 album, "The Royal Sessions".
"Wild Indian Woman"Edit
- "Wild Indian Woman" was covered as "Wild Injun Woman" by Alexis Korner on his 1970 Both Sides (Live & Studio Recordings) album.
- Peter Thorup used the same title on his 16 Tons Trio album, 1987.
"I'm a Mover"Edit
- Energy, featuring Tommy Bolin, played "I'm a Mover" on the album Live at Tulagi in Boulder and Rooftop Ballroom in Sioux City, recorded in 1972, released 2003.
- In 1978 Dennis Matumbi released "Rolling Down the River" (aka "Rowing Down the River" by Dennis Bovell) a reggae version of the song, arranged by Horace Andy, which uses most of the lyrics (clearly inspired in the first place by "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke) .
- German rock band Craaft recorded it on their album Craaft in 1981.
- Iron Maiden covered it, appearing on the B-Side to their 1990 single "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter".
- Paul Rogers has a version of it on his Live in Glasgow album, 2007.
- Wolfgang also covered the song on their 2001 album, Black Mantra.
- Temple of the Dog performed a cover on their 2016 tour.
- Strong, Martin C. The Great Rock Discography, 6th edition. Edinburgh: Canongate Books 1994, 2002. pp. 392–3.
- Sutcliffe, Phil. Notes to Tons of Sobs by Free. Universal Island Records Ltd. 1968, 2001.
- Free - Tons of Sobs (1969, Remastered 2001) album at Discogs