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.[2] 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.[3] According to bass player Andy Fraser, the title effectively summed up the album.[4]

Tons of Sobs
Tons Of Sobs.jpg
Studio album by
Released14 March 1969
RecordedOctober and December 1968 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London
GenreBlues rock[1]
ProducerGuy Stevens
Free chronology
Tons of Sobs


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 [1979]). He opted for a minimalist attitude to production, due to the extremely low budget of about £800,[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic      link
Rolling Stone(negative) [7]

Track listingEdit

Side one
  1. "Over the Green Hills (Pt. 1)" (Paul Rodgers) – 0:49
  2. "Worry" (Rodgers) – 3:26
  3. "Walk in My Shadow" (Andy Fraser, Simon Kirke, Paul Kossoff, Rodgers) – 3:29
  4. "Wild Indian Woman" (Fraser, Rodgers) – 3:39
  5. "Goin' Down Slow" (James Burke Oden) – 8:20
Side two
  1. "I'm a Mover" (Rodgers, Fraser) – 2:56
  2. "The Hunter" (Booker T. Jones, Carl Wells, Donald Dunn, Al Jackson, Jr., Steve Cropper) – 4:13
  3. "Moonshine" (Fraser, Kirke, Kossoff, Rodgers) – 5:04
  4. "Sweet Tooth" (Rodgers) – 4:54
  5. "Over the Green Hills (Pt. 2)" (Rodgers) – 1:58
Bonus tracks

Recent CD reissues contain several bonus tracks:

  1. "I'm a Mover" (BBC session) (Rodgers, Fraser) – 3:04
  2. "Waitin' on You" (BBC session) (B.B. King, Ferdinand Washington) – 2:15
  3. "Guy Stevens Blues" (Rodgers, Fraser, Kirke, Kossoff) – 4:39
  4. "Moonshine" (Alternative vocal) (Fraser, Kirke, Kossoff, Rodgers) – 5:09
  5. "Sweet Tooth" (Early take and alternative vocal) (Rodgers) – 4:53
  6. "Visions of Hell" (Fraser, Rodgers) – 3:46
  7. "Woman by the Sea" (Fraser, Rodgers) – 3:30
  8. "Over the Green Hills" (BBC session) (Rodgers) – 3:51


Additional personnel
  • Steve Miller – piano (thumping)
  • Guy Stevens – producer
  • Andy Johns – engineer
  • Mike Sida – front cover photograph
  • Richard Bennett Zeff – inside cover photography

Cover versionsEdit

"Walk in My Shadow"Edit

"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.[10]
  • Peter Thorup used the same title on his 16 Tons Trio album, 1987.[10]

"I'm a Mover"Edit


  1. ^ "The Top 30 British Blues Rock Albums of All Time". Classic Rock. Future plc. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Free Tons of Sobs Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra, S. T. Erlewine, eds, All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues (Backbeat, 3rd edn., 2003), pp. 700–2.
  4. ^ a b c Free - Tons of Sobs (1969) album at Discogs
  5. ^ a b Free - Tons of Sobs (1969) album reviews at
  6. ^ a b Free: Sob Stories at
  7. ^ Leimbacher, Ed (18 October 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (44): 37.
  8. ^ a b Tommy Bolin – Teaser (1975, 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition Box Set 2015) at Discogs
  9. ^ a b c d "Walk in My Shadow" by Free at
  10. ^ a b c "Wild Indian Woman" by Free at
  11. ^ a b "I'm a Mover (Live)" by Tommy Bolin at
  12. ^ a b c d e "I'm a Mover" by Free at
  13. ^ a b c Free - Tons of Sobs (1969) album at
  14. ^ Free - Tons of Sobs (1969) album at

External linksEdit