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Jethro Tull - Stand Up CD (album) cover

STAND UP

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.03 | 849 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Jethro Tull's sophomore album was a transitional effort, and is still relatively underappreciated in the context of Tull's larger career arc. But in retrospect the album, and its 1970 successor "Benefit", shows exactly how strong a band This Was (sorry fans, I couldn't resist...)

With the departure of guitarist Mick Abrahams, Ian Anderson assumed complete control of the music, the scope of which grew considerably, and seemingly overnight. The band's debt to the Blues is acknowledged in the opening notes of "A New Day Yesterday", the title itself pointing toward a novel cross-mix of musical touchstones. But after that it quickly becomes obvious that Anderson isn't "Living in the Past" anymore, despite having a hit with the non-album single of the same name, also in 1969.

It's odd that the best known track here isn't even a Tull original: the J.S. Bach cover "Bourée", a concert favorite for decades to come. But elsewhere on the album are several hidden gems that didn't survive into the band's later set lists. "Look Into the Sun" is one of the lovelier Ian Anderson ballads; ditto the somewhat edgier "Reasons For Waiting", the latter integrating a string arrangement more effectively than on future Tull albums. Elsewhere a touch of late '60s psychedelia rears its head in "We Used to Know" (pity about the unresolved fade-out), and the hard-hitting "Nothing Is Easy" still has the best extended rock 'n' roll coda of all time.

Arguably the same, succinct energy of the 1969-1970 Jethro Tull wouldn't be heard again until the "Songs From the Wood" album, seven years later. The original "Stand Up" LP was supposedly hobbled by an uneven production (although the recent CD reissue sounds fine to these old ears), and new guitarist Martin Barre hadn't yet asserted his position within the newly configured line-up. But, growing pains aside, and without the conceptual baggage of future releases, the album does exactly what its title says, with renewed confidence and vigor.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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