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Jethro Tull - This Was CD (album) cover

THIS WAS

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.32 | 858 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

One of the first pop/rock records to feature a flute, (but Jefferson Airplane had been using them sporadically since spring 67, when this one is from October 68), this album is the start of a long and successful string of excellent albums, always daring if sometimes flawed. And as you might guess this debut is hardly perfect, but still a must for progheads. While strongly bluesy but with a very present folk influence, the album boasts an unusual four instrumental (a record for the group) and a real tightness for such a young group.

Get a load of Serenade To A Cuckoo (where the Tramp/Mad Flauter learned and lived on Jazzman Roland Kirk's stuff) and tell me this is not worth four stars at least. Listen to the guitar solo of Cat's Squirrel and then to War Pigs of Black Sabbath and you will hear what Iommi learned from J T as he replaced Abrahams for four weeks, as Mr Barre is still to come. Get a whiff of Beggar's farm and tell me that this better than anything from Minstrel (tension between the guitars and the superb flute interventions). Listen to the claghorn on Dharma For One, and every other track is a minor gem in its own right, especially the My Sunday Feeling and A Song For Jeffrey.

Mick Abrahams will leave JT after this one and create another fine outfit called Blodwyn Pig in the honour of the Tramp with whom he was having disagreements about musical directions. If you listen well to those two albums from BP, you will see that although bluesier, this should also be on this site, and one really wonders if it was musical differences they disagreed upon. Two very much underrated albums as well as this one from Tull.

Back to This Was, the remastered version comes with a few bonus tracks including a lovely jazzy instrumental One For John Gee (yet never available elsewhere), the Love Story (sounding a bit like Song For Jeffrey) and Christmas Song (the first Tull track to feature strings), both available as non-album singles and on the compilation Living In The Past. Great added value to this debut and making it even more essential to have.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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