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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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J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Before rising into progressive rock stardom, Jethro Tull released this humble debut in 1968. Drawing more heavily from blues than any of their succeeding efforts, This Was is very much an odd album in this British band's discography. On this debut you'll find plenty of bluesy guitar licks, psychedelic overtones, and an (at the time) nearly unheard of use of flute on a rock album. The extended song structures and progressive sound on their later albums is nowhere to be found here, but for what it is, This Was is a fairly decent debut from Jethro Tull. Fans of late sixties' blues rock will want to check this out, even if it's nothing too spectacular.

This Was has a stronger influence from blues and jazz than we would ever hear again from Jethro Tull. The pure blues of "Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You", the jazzy flute in "Serenada to a Cuckoo", and the blues rock sound of "It's Breaking Me Up" will probably surprise those only acquainted with Jethro Tull's later offerings. There are some psych-influenced rock tunes too like "My Sunday Feeling", "Dharma For One", "Cat's Squirrel", and "A Song For Jeffrey" - while all of these tunes also have heavy blues leanings, they should also appeal to those who enjoy sixties' proto-prog music. While the songs may not be nearly as intricate as they would be on later albums, Jethro Tull were clearly gifted musicians from the beginning. All of the musicians are pretty impressive, and Clive Bunker's drumming is particularly interesting - just listen to his drum solo in "Dharma For One"! The production is also pretty good, and while it's not spectacular, it's decent considering when the album was recorded.

This Was is certainly a competent debut from Jethro Tull, but it's fairly unremarkable when all is said and done. The songwriting just doesn't have the power that their later efforts would achieve, and thankfully the band would mature greatly as composers over the next few years. Though this isn't one of the first Tull albums I'd recommend, it should impress fans of sixties' blues rock with a few twists and turns. This Was is a pretty good example of a 3 star album. While this is definitely a solid effort from Jethro Tull, it is not essential within the context of their discography.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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