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

LIVING IN THE PAST

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.13 | 293 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars A compilation celebrating Jethro Tull's pre-Prog past

When listening to this compilation, it is hard to believe that it was released in the same year as the mind-bogglingly brilliant Thick As A Brick. You can of course clearly hear that it is the same band, but at a decidedly earlier stage in their rapid musical evolution. 1971's Aqualung had already constituted a major leap forward for the band, and then with Thick As A Brick in the year after they took yet another gigantic leap from an already very high standard. In sharp contrast, this compilation draws heavily on material from the band's pre-Aqualung days and as such inevitably sounds dated. It seems to have been aimed primarily at those fans who were - already at that point in time - living in the past. "Living In The Past" is therefore a perfect title.

This is a nice little time capsule, capturing the band's early evolution from a straightforward Blues Rock band towards Prog, but it never sees them through to full bloom. The material gathered on Living In The Past fits right in with the bulk of This Was, Stand Up, and Benefit (none of which are favourites of mine), and as such constitutes a nice complement to those early Jethro Tull albums. There are even a rare few timeless Tull tunes to be found here (notably the title track, Life Is A Long Song, and Sweet Dream), but most if not all of these are available elsewhere on official live albums (often in improved versions) and none of these represent the progressive side of the band. With the exception of the two live tracks, all of the songs here are in the two to four minute range.

Much of the rest sound just like the leftovers they are. Some of these tracks (notably the two live tracks and the ones from the Aqualung period) can be of great interest to fans and collectors like myself, but for the average Prog fan the interest is probably quite limited. Jethro Tull has got a vast discography to discover, so there is little need to dig as deep as this unless you are a fan.

Living In The Past is a compilation the bulk of which covers a relatively weak period in Jethro Tull history. A new and much more interesting chapter in the band's long career had already begun at this point. It remains a fine historical document and a nice addition for fans and collectors, but its relevance for Prog is minor at best.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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