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jethro

Jethro Tull took their name from a 17th century English agricultural pioneer from Berkshire who helped instigate the British ‘Agricultural Revolution’ via pioneering and modernising methods that changed landscapes, something his musical namesakes would achieve themselves. Toil that soil to strike that oil. Black gold!

This 3-disc encyclopedic deluxe-redux (spearheaded by a lovingly remastered overhaul of the album by agent-prog-rock-auteur Steven ‘Porcupine Tree’ Wilson) also features a number of rare recordings (an unreleased version of their jazz-inflected reimagining of JS Bach’s ‘Bouree in E Minor’) four songs recorded for the BBC, live footage of a 1969 Swedish concert (where they opened for Jimi Hendrix) plus both mono and stereo single mixes for ‘Driving Song’ and top 3 hit ‘Living in the Past’. *breathes*

A 112-page forensic tome (with pop-up woodcuttings, it’s the little things) accompanies the audio, which comprises Martin Webb’s historical summary and tribute to the late Tull bassist Glenn Cornick, Ian Anderson’s song-by-song analysis and Nick Logan’s New Musical Express’s ‘on-the-road- reports’. (No sleep Tull) bedtime reading.

Released in the summer of 1969, this ‘zeitgeist’ collection captured the rapidly changing and evolving tempo of the ‘60s’ quickly reaching the summit of the U.K. albums charts and going on to earn gold certification in the U.S.

Stand Up, the follow up to 1968’s This Was Jethro Tull, saw both the addition of guitarist Martin Barre and flautist-singer Ian Anderson’s implementation of folk-rock influences into the group’s blues-jazz sound, a sound that had become old hat. The times were a-changing and Tull were a-leading. A residency at London’s fabled Marquee Club helped hone and tone the new songs.

Kicking off with the tower of powering blues of ‘A New Day Yesterday’ early evidence of Anderson’s distinctive wailing ‘n’ warbling vocals and flaunty flute backed by a progressive rock sound that had yet to become passé and staid. A masterclass in cross-pollination of sounds and styles.

The LP’s centerpiece is indisputably the waltzing and carousing ‘Living in the past’ a knowing nod to their recent (re)incarnation (and a dig at those who remained ‘rooted in naïve idealism), self-confessed ‘party-pooper’ Anderson gleefully witnesses and castigates. A revolution of sound (and mind).

‘Fat Man’s bucolic Wicker Man rave-up dispatches mandolinguistics for the chattering and fattening classes and the epic saga of ‘We used to know’ predates Pink Floyd’s wah-wah post-Barrett reincarnation, a tale of a austere (formative) past (dining on dog food, anyone?).

The quasi-autobiographical ‘For a Thousand Mothers’ sees Anderson enunciate every syll-ab-le, backed by a chugging-boogie that descends into an earwig-out. Alice Cooper was surely taking notes.

The live footage from The Stockholm Konserthuset in January 1969 showcases the transition the band was undergoing, shedding their old selves, ushering new forms.

For audio, techno and more importantly Tullophiles this is the ultimate experience. Extensive, exhaustive and informative. Stand Up and live in this past. It’s a new day today.

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