Free – Tons of Sobs (1969)

Artist Credit
Steve Cropper Composer
Donald “Duck” Dunn Composer
Andy Fraser Bass, Composer, Guitar (Bass)
Free Primary Artist
Al Jackson, Jr. Composer
Andy Johns Engineer
Booker T. Jones Composer
Simon Kirke Composer, Drums
Paul Kossoff Composer, Guitar
Steve Miller Piano
James Burke Oden Composer
Paul Rodgers Composer, Vocals
Guy Stevens Producer
Junior Wells Composer

Although Free was never destined to scrape the same skies as Led Zeppelin, when they first burst out of the traps in 1968, close to a year ahead of Jimmy Page and company, they set the world of British blues-rock firmly on its head. The band was a blistering combination of youth, ambition, and, despite those tender years, experience that across the course of their debut album, did indeed lay the groundwork for all that Zeppelin would embrace. The fact that Free and Zeppelin were cut from the same cloth is immediately apparent, even before you start comparing the versions of “The Hunter” included on both bands’ debut albums. Where Free streaks ahead, however, is in their refusal to compromise their own vision of the blues. Even at its most commercial (“I’m a Mover” and “Worry”), Tons of Sobs has a density that makes Zeppelin and the rest of the era’s rock contemporaries sound like flyweights by comparison.

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