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Jethro Tull - This Was CD (album) cover

THIS WAS

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.32 | 731 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars The debut album THIS WAS by one of progressive rocks most celebrated bands JETHRO TULL is a strange little album when you come to this after hearing all the music that came after. THIS WAS the last holdout for me in the JT canon. What we get here is a democratic JETHRO TULL where instruments vie for the limelight, various members contribute to the songwriting and musical styles change at the drop of a hat offering one of the most diverse sounding JT albums in their entire discography. After the band took the name of the famous agriculturist after their formation in 1967, they didn't waste any time putting together a bunch of material for their first album. This is the one album to feature Mick Abrahams as the guitarist and his love of the blues is stamped on each and every track which is, of course, the main reason he and Ian Anderson butted heads over musical direction.

The album starts out with "My Sunday Feeling" sounding almost like a regular JT song from the "Stand Up" or "Benefit" albums upon first listen but then not too far into it, it's clear that this sounds like Ian Anderson joined Peter Green's version of Fleetwood Mac as the flautist. It sounds rather strange but actually works. I do believe JT was the first band to incorporate flute into a rock sound as a full-time instrument. The album has other quirks too like the instrumental "Serenade To A Cuckoo" which has a swanky jazzy exotica feel to it. "Dharma For One" incorporates perhaps the only extended drum solo on any JT album and "Cat's Squirrel" is a heavy hard rock blues track that could possibly be adopted by Cream. Perhaps the most recognizable cut on THIS WAS is that of "A Song For Jeffrey" as it seems to be the song that sounds most like early 70s TULL. It has a beautiful melody that has both flute and harmonica, a nice bluesy slide guitar and Anderson's vocals reminding me of the sound effects he utilizes on "Aqualung."

All in all not a bad debut. I actually find myself liking this one. Although a little inconsistent in its sound and layout it has enough good quality material to make a good listen and the surreality effect is worth the price of admission alone. Although I prefer the democratic approach to songwriting and band efforts, it is clear that once in a while a strong personality like Anderson has more than enough talent to warrant the role of musical dictator and in the case of JETHRO TULL I think it all worked out for the better by his taking the helm and steering the band into the progressive seas that spawned all those classic gems that would come later. Abrahams would go on to continue his blues guitar playing in Blodwyn Pig and we all know that Martin Barre's entry would cement a new sound that would carry the band to great heights. THIS WAS and IS a recommended album.

I have the 40th anniversary remastered edition and it's chock full of all kinds of goodies including John Peel BBC Session recordings, unreleased tracks, different versions of tracks in mono and stereo and cool extensive packaging and liner notes as well. 3.5 rounded up

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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