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Jethro Tull - Living In The Past  CD (album) cover

LIVING IN THE PAST

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.11 | 234 ratings

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progwzrd
5 stars This album (my second) was the ONE that pulled me into the magical world created by Ian Anderson and his group, Jethro Tull (my first Tull album was War Child). The coolest thing about the original LP was that it was designed like the hard-bound 78s albums of the day, and complete with pages of color photos and liner notes.

Spanning their first four years as a group, it is mainly an Odds-and-Sods collection of a series of British singles, a pair of live performances from Carnegie Hall, a few outtakes, and a British-only EP from '71. As an added bonus, you get a selection from each of the first three Tull albums (Song For Jeffrey, Bouree, Teacher, Inside (on UK release), Hymn 41, and Locomotive Breath (again, UK release). Depending on which side of the Atlantic you were on, the LP versions were altered (US had "Alive and Well..." and "Hymn 43" and UK had "Inside" and "Locomotive Breath"; the 90's CD issue 'attempted' to combine tracks from both versions sans "Teacher" and "Bouree" for time constraints, but the MFSL version successfully constructed a 2-CD edition with all tracks intact)

Going way against Tull's more theme-based albums, this is a pretty fair representation of how Tull got to where they are today. Starting off with "Song For Jeffrey," we hear Tull back when they were strictly a blues-rock group. From there, we start to hear their folk intentions in "Love Story" and the seasonal "Christmas Song." Next is one of the few highlights, "Living In The Past." "Driving Song" goes back to the Tull's blues-rock phase. Side one of the LP ends with a concert favorite and "Stand Up" highlight: "Bouree."

On side two, we get a classic Tull rocker, "Sweet Dream." "Singing All Day" follows suit with a mix of blues and folk. The hit "Teacher" is up next [fact: those of you who own the US LP, it has a longer fade-out than the common version found on "MU" and the remastered "Benefit". It's about 25-30 seconds longer.] Another hit Tull song, "Witches Promise" appears with such an elegant melody. Those who either owned the British or American edition, either "Inside" or "Alive and Well..." appears, and ending side two: a lovely acoustic number called "Just Trying To Be."

The third side consists of two "filler" performances from a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall [for a drug rehab clinic! (Huh?!!)]. Though it is considered the weakest part of the album, it is worth a listen. John Evans shows off his chops on a medley of classical and jazz pieces strangely titled "By Kind Permission Of", which its musical ideas spawned from Evans' solos in Tull concerts whilst performing "With You There To Help Me" [listen to "Live At The Isle Of Wight", it appears there as well]. Clive Bunker thunders away on the drums on a more lyrical, revamped version of "Dharma For One", which I consider to be the best version on CD or LP.

Side four leaves us with a few more oddities. A longer, re-worded "Wond'ring Aloud", now titled as "Wond'ring Again". "Hymn 43" from AQUALUNG follows. We're now left with the LIFE IS A LONG SONG British EP (five then-unreleased songs in the US). The title song a major hit found on countless Tull compilations. "Up The 'Pool" brings about the idea of a pub song. "Dr. Bogenbroom" is much like Tull's fairytale song-stories. "For Later" is a brief yet a rocker of an instrumental which could've been better in extended form. The album finally ends much like Disc One with another solo acoustic ballad "Nursie". Those of you who own the first three remastered Tull albums, this album is a must-have just for the last five songs, as they're on no other CD as of this point.

It might not be the perfect start to delve into Tull's progressive rock period, but it covers a great overview into how Tull evolved into the bombastic prog rock band we know and love today.

progwzrd | 5/5 |

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