Free – Tons Of Sobs (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgTons 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. According to bass player Andy Fraser, the title effectively summed up the album.

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 Free01minimalist 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. (by wikipedia)

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.

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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. (by Dave Thompson)

This album was the start of one of the most intersting UK groups from this period … and the rest is history !

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Personnel:
Andy Fraser (bass, piano)
Simon Kirke (drums, percussion)
Paul Kossoff (guitar)
Paul Rodgers (vocals)
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Steve Miller (piano)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Over The Green Hills (Pt. 1)” (Paul Rodgers) 0.51
02. Worry (Rodgers) 3.28
03. Walk In My Shadow (Fraser/Kirke/Kossoff/Rodgers) 3.31
04. Wild Indian Woman (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.40
05. Goin’ Down Slow (Oden) 8.23
06. I’m a Mover (Rodgers/Fraser) 2.57
07. The Hunter (Jones/Wells/Dunn/Jackson, Jr./Cropper) 4.14
08. Moonshine (Fraser/Kirke/Kossoff/Rodgers) 5.05
09. Sweet Tooth (Rodgers) 4.54
10. Over The Green Hills (Pt. 2) (Rodgers) 2.08
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11. I’m a Mover (BBC session) (Rodgers/Fraser) 3.06
12. Waitin’ On You (BBC session) (King/Washington) 2.18
13. Guy Stevens Blues (Rodgers/Fraser/Kirke/Kossoff) 4.44
14. Moonshine (alternative vocal) (Fraser/Kirke/Kossoff/Rodgers) 5.12
15. Sweet Tooth (early take and alternative vocal) (Rodgers) 4.56
16. Visions Of Hell (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.50
17. Woman By The Sea (Fraser/Rodgers) 3.23
18. Over The Green Hills (BBC session) (Rodgers) 3.52

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The 2001 reissue the first of the seven albums released in the Island Remasters series. When the CDs are lined up together, images of Paul Kossoff and Paul Rodgers can be seen.

Laura Cannell – Hunter Huntress Hawker (2017)

FrontCover1.jpgOn the dark edges of folk music lingers Laura Cannell, a violinist and recorder player who uses traditional instruments to evoke unearthly, ageless narratives. Her fourth album is a series of improvisations recorded in a church on the crumbling coast of Covehithe in Suffolk, roaring into life under her fiddle’s curved, baroque bow. This technique involves the four strings being played simultaneously and the effect is aggressive, unsettling, but also primordially beautiful, the harmonies of the drones often clashing cruelly before resolving themselves. Many moments are also unapologetically, uncompromisingly difficult. The harsh, stabbing playing in Blacksmith is like a metalworker’s studio in sound, while Air Splinters Through feels freshly torn from a horror soundtrack. It’s not a record for early mornings. But while this music feels ancient, it also feels brutally alive, as if a giant was waking from long slumbers, about to make its way in the world. (Jude Rogers)

The musical explorations of British fiddler and composer Laura Cannell travel between early music, folk traditions, and earthy avant-garde improvisations. A native of Norfolk, Cannell studied at the London College of Music and University of East Anglia before founding the inventive folk ensemble Horses Brawl with guitarist Adrian Lever and cellist Jonathan Manton in 2003. Following the group’s 2005 debut, Manton departed and Horses Brawl remained a duo on subsequent releases like 2007’s Dindirin and 2011’s Wild Lament.

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For their fourth LP, 2012’s Ruminantia, multi-instrumentalist Andre Bosman replaced Lever, while later that year Cannell embarked on a new collaboration with experimental harpist Rhodri Davies. Setting down her fiddle, she focused on recorder and vocals for the duo’s Feathered Swing of the Raven.

Her solo debut, Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth, was released in 2014 and featured ten live improvisations recorded in single takes in a Norfolk church. A haunting mix of overbowed fiddle compositions and eerie double recorder pieces, several of the album’s songs were later remixed on the Black Earth Remixes EP. Her follow-up, Beneath Swooping Talons, arrived a year later via the Front + Follow label, marking a rare release issued outside of her own Brawl Records imprint. Released in 2016, Simultaneous Flight Movement continued her evolution with more deeply nuanced performances that drew from her eclectic influences and ample imagination. In addition to her solo work, a new collaborative project emerged called Oscilanz, which featured Ralph Cumbers (Bass Clef) and drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat, About Group). Cannell’s fourth solo outing, Hunter Huntress Hawker, arrived in 2017. (Timothy Monger)

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Personnel:
Laura Cannell (violin)

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Tracklist:
01. Speckled and Dappled 0.42
02. Gathering 0.46
03. Blackwater 6.56
04. Persuasion 3.13
05. Awaken Waken 2.38
06. Breathe Now 0.56
07. Blacksmith 4.53
08. Air Splinters Through 0.57
09. Under Deep Leaves 0.37
10. Nordhalla 4.10
11. Lines Of Copper Gold 2.54

Music composed by Laura Cannell

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