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Jethro Tull - This Was CD (album) cover

THIS WAS

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.32 | 558 ratings

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sealchan
3 stars My musical home base was 1982 so it took me awhile as I was exploring the pop and rock of my time to trace back through recent musical history and find the first efforts of those bands that I have come to appreciate. Here is my take on Jethro Tull's first album "This Was":

My Sunday Feeling - Upbeat, aggressive blues song, typical of album openner's in general. I enjoy the complex drums and the flute on this song about waking after a night of drinking/partying although that is not my personal thing.

Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You - Laid back, humorous blues song. I'm not a big fan of blues per se so Jethro Tull is bringing me out beyond my usual musical territory here. The subjects (or should I say suspects?) of blues songs seem to be in trouble with someone or other most of the time.

Beggar's Farm - Slightly sinister guitar highlights this songs tale of criticism and libidinous fetters. There is a great jam at the end with Ian Anderson's aggressive flute playing wrapping up this more interesting song. Move On Alone - Sad song with horns that, for me, add a bit of "oh woe is me" sarcasm to the mood of this blues song. Serenade To A Cuckoo - Instrumental with jazzy flute lead. Ian Anderson moans and blows on his flute; very hip, very cool man, dig it! or whatever it is that jazz fans say when they like their jazz. Personally I'm not so much into the jazz sound. Dharma For One - Another instrumental this time with a more aggressive flute melody that switches tone for contrast. This song is more of a rock jam as opposed to the jazzy "Serenade to a Cuckoo". While the musicianship is great throughout the album I especially appreciate the drumming on this song; the solo gives one the impression that Clive Barker, the drummer, is working some great mechanical monster. Great stuff!

It's Breaking Me Up - This song has that classic blues sound with its loping gate and sassy harmonica. The lyrics disturb me a bit because the refrain turns the metaphor around in a way that makes me wonder whether the singer isn't having violent thoughts in response to how the "woman" has treated him.

Cat's Squirrel - Rock jam instrumental.

A Song For Jeffrey - Song starts off with the flute and a sense of anticipation that is nicely answered with a kick butt harmonica and guitar line. Moving through its variations this song reflects what I find I like most in forthcoming work by Jethro Tull. Not sure what the singer is saying or what the lyrics are about but I like it! Probably an essential song for Tull fans.

Round - Another instrumental bringing in a quiet close to the album proper.

One for John Gee - Is this some form of swing? This instrumental has an interesting bass and drum solo.

Love Story - This song has interesting melodic shifts that keeps the forward leaning rhythm moving, leaning back, then moving forward again. The lyrics reflect a more hopeful, less blues oriented outlook; more like rock and roll with the folksy drum (not sure what its called) for a lighter whimsical contrast. A sign of the wonderful instrumentation in Tull songs to come.

Christmas Song - Warning, do not play at Christmas until you have listend to this first! Scathing critique of the average Xmas reveller. Here are some of the lyrics:

So how can you laugh when your own mothers hungry, And how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong? And if I just messed up your thoughtless pleasures, Remember, if you wish, this is just a christmas song.

That should go well with egg nog! Nice building guitar/banjo with strings coming in gives the music a sense of Christmas cheer, nonetheless.

(3 stars) Given that I am not a big fan of the blues or jazz, this album may hold less interest for me than for others. Still I think this album has a bit more merit to it than completion of a Tull fan's collection. For progressive rock fans I recommend "Beggar's Farm", "Dharma for One", "Song for Jeffrey", "Love Story" and "Christmas Song". These songs most anticipate the later Jethro Tull sound and avoid the more bluesy and jazzy songs. Add "My Sunday Feeling" as a good rock song. If your tastes are more open than mine then I think you will enjoy this album as a whole.

sealchan | 3/5 |

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