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Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull

Prog Folk

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5 stars Back in the day when men were men and rock stars rocked, there was the legendary Isle of Wight concert. As Ian ANDERSON so eloquently states in the liner notes of "Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle of Wight 1970": It was England's Woodstock and the last gig HENDRIX played before his untimely demise. While this venue notates the end of an incredible decade for rock music, full of history, color, and culture, it also gave us one of the most significant live events in the history of the genre. It was a turning point for many bands just as its American counterpart.

Before JWTHRO TULLl became progressive rock heavyweights with their classic album "Thick As A Brick" they were a hot n' 'eavy blues rock band with few rivals. It is amazing to look back while listening to this live gem, JT only had three albums out when they recorded this performance.

I always get a lot of feedback when I post a JT review and I am sure to the delight of those that feel the band have not recorded anything noteworthy since 1978 (which I think is nonsense) will be snapping up this dandy of a CD like a kid in a candy store. This is probably the best live JT performance I have ever heard. They were young, raw, hungry, and anxious to impress. I think once a band gets beyond that stage and they reach the sought after stardom with all the trimmings that come with it, it suddenly changes their attitudes, perceptions, motivations and musical output; well for most it works that way.

Martin Barre is on fire on all eight tracks. Each song has tremendous passion and all the elements of a blues-rock event reminiscent of CREAM (who are reuniting for series of concerts in 2005) in their heyday . just awesome power and energy oozing out of every note. ANDERSON sounds as prolific as ever, leading the band with conviction. The year is almost over and it stands as one of the best albums I have heard in 2004, even though it is nearly 35 years old! What amazes me is the timelessness of some music. Then again, performances and bands like this come around once in lifetime and that is what makes it special for fans of the band.

Report this review (#34184)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just bought this album this afternoon, and all I can say is: fantastic! It's another reason why JETHRO TULL are one of my all-time favourite bands. Although I love the folk whimsy of Songs From the Wood & Heavy Horses, there is very little of that to find here: we have a young and eager-to-impress blues/rock/folk band, which in my opinion, out-performs CREAM whom they were compared with so often. A lot harder than most Tull recordings, but it is still an absolute essential for all fans. My favourite songs would have to be "Dharma for One" (with a huge drum solo) & "My Sunday Feeling". It is also interesting for collectors, as it has a live performance of "My God": BEFORE it was released on the Aqualung album. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#34185)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Raw, hungry and energised. This is Tull cirq 1970. This recording shows what a explosive act early Tull was. No theatrics just pure hard edged Tull rock from start to finish. However , there are moments of subtelty provided by John Evans keys. The recording is great for the age and is a must for all Tull fans. Highly recommended .Cannot wait for the DVD which is slated to emerge this year
Report this review (#34186)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Despite some background noise and problems with the tunning, a great live album by early Tull. Really energetic jams and improvisations. Martin Barre and Ian Anderson really took the stage out, because Glen Cornick and Clive Bunker weren´t exactly inspired... You can see that on the extented boring version of DHARMA FOR ONE. The great track here would be the MEDLEY, but this early version of MY GOD it´s also very intersting. A great live album by Tull.
Report this review (#34187)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have always been a little skeptical of live albums, but as a completionist, I was forced to buy this album when it was released. After saying that, I also must say that I was not disappointed with this album what so ever. It is a little raw, and slightly out of tune, but the imperfections is what makes this album great. They extended each track to keep it fresh and also gives a reason to listen to this instead of the studio versions. They also played a song previously unrecorded (My God) which makes this album even more special. A must for any Tull fan.
Report this review (#34188)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars i cant stop listening.. I grew up a Jethro Tull fan as a youngster buying Thick as Brick because the newspaper packaging was cool.. had no idea what was inside or who they were. I love medieval rock as I like to classify some of the vibe and tone of JT excellence. To the reviewer who thought Bunker was uninspired on this live offering.. Huh? He is insane.. reminiscent of Keith Moon in his hayday.. Love the My God insight as the record company must not have been too keen on "JewishChristianMuslim" and "Graven Image Catholic".. Priceless!!!!!
Report this review (#36922)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars oh what a gem coming out of someone's vault this was... along with the companion DVD.

Great live set from, obviously, the Isle of Wright Festival 1970. This live album is a must have for fans of their early albums, of which I am one. Benefit being my favorite Jethro Tull album hands down. A nice selection from each of their previous three studio albums, plus the real gem for me.. an intense performance of My God which was to come on the forthcoming Aqualung album. On display is why I am such a big fan of early Tull, bassist Glen Cornick. Listening to this live performance vs. the studio version on Aqualung sort of leaves the studio version lacking. Why... listen to that overdriven Thunderbird bass when it enters in the second verse. Man.. as a bassist myself... it just makes a great song that much better.

The rest of the songs are excellent as well... Dharma for One is as good as a drum solo can be without actually seeing it (see future review on the!). I didn't care for the bass solo on Bouree, where the heavily distorted bass works well in spots... a feature bass solo.. it sounded like hell hahahha. A shame because his solo is a masterpiece of a bass solo. My Sunday Feeling kicked off the disk, and this was a really fun one to hear live from the debut album. The song selection of the album is great, and the performances are inspired and highly energetic. An energy you can see as well on the DVD.

Rating this however. Ian Anderson said it best in the liner notes... no prog rock on this album. That was soon to come with the unfortunate firing of Glen Cornick following the American tour that followed this show and the next album Aqualung. So while this album is first class and a GREAT listen. I'm giving it 3 stars. If looking for live Tull.. prog-wise.. go with Bursting Out.

Three stars.. GREAT but not essential but once again.. not reflective of the quality just not a classic live prog album.

Michael (aka micky)

Report this review (#82259)
Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is really a fabulous document. What I donot understand though is why it took more than thirty years to release the live performance of the Tull at the Isle of Whight. A mystery. How happy would have been the million of fans to get this in those ancient days. At the time, the Tull was already well established. "Stand Up" has been number 1 in the UK so the Tull will be at the high in the hierarchy of bands to play there.

Actually they will play the last day of the festival (on Sunday, August 30th). After Donovan and before Jimi (Hendrix).

As usual, the band sounds very hard on stage. The opener "My Sunday Feeling" is absolutely fabulous. The band explodes really from the first seconds of their set. Really great and already a highlight.

The best moment of this live set is IMO the track "My God" (almost a year BEFORE its release). This complex Aqualung track is superbly rendered (no choir of course but a superb flute solo).

Some songs though will not please that much in this Wight festival : "Bouree" for instance with a useless bass soloing in the middle. Even this track is as "hardened" as it can be (but it shouldn't be).

Another one is "With You there to Help Me" : there is a long piano improv which is completely out of tune here. The fanstastic studio version from "Benefit" is definitely better.

"To Cry You a Song" on the contrary pleases me better than the "Benefit" version : Ian's voice has not been "doctored" here. That was exactly what I was hoping to hear in the studio version. So, I can only be pleased. It is another highlight.

"Dharma For One" is a classic of the Tull's performances in those days but this track has never been a fave of mine. Quite extended, it will be the pretext of a drum solo which is better appreciated when you can SEE it. Rather average (the track, not the solo although we do not reach the levels of Ian Paice or John Bonham's ones).

"Nothing Is Easy" was already a good rocking song on "Stand Up" so you can imagine how strong it can be in this live version. Gorgeous. This is music history and is really representative of a (golden) era.

The sound is really great. Four stars.

Report this review (#107775)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I disagree, this is the companion CD to the DVD! Or you could just get the DVD+CD package for cheap and get the best of both worlds.

The CD contains some tracks that for whatever reason weren't filmed and not included on the video release. For that alone it gets a nice plus, it's great to listen to a full concert that sounds decent.

The playing is absolutely full of energy, the atmosphere of the immense audience surely influenced their synergy. It was recorded of course in 1970 at the Isle Of Wight hippie fest (UK's answer to Woodstock) and as such has a selection of tracks from the band's first three releases, and a prototype of My God. (Aqualung) It's an excellent summary of their early folk rock period.

Essential for Tull fans and those that appreciate a beautiful live recording.

Report this review (#110607)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
4 stars I'll never know quite why early Tull was always tossed in with Led Zep. If you hear the live shows, that bitchin' organ and guitar trickery will always make me think of Deep Purple with a flute. Besides, weren't the Zepsters always about creating some kind of eerie groove? Tull wasn't about that. They was about rockin'.

Case in point: we open with "My Sunday Feeling." Haven't I used that sentence somewhere else? Oh well. The live version is no different from the studio save for two things: first, it slams you WAY harder. And secondly, the guitar solo is much, uh, for lack of a better word, better. It's louder, faster, and cooler. Further proving that Martin is the superior guitarist.

The album's "surprise" number comes in the form of a pre-album, rough around the edges "My God." It still blows you away, I love it when Martin holds that single note (and Ian's remark about the intro always cracks me up), although the gothic chant mid-section has been switched out for a kind of proto-flute solo improvisation. No sin there, none at all.

"With You There to Help Me," an all time personal favorite, starts out REALLY well. They couldn't create the lush psychedelic sound of the studio, so they didn't try; instead, those crazy Tullers retooled the song, like those little piano arpeggios John plays on the pianer under the opening. Very cool that. Unfortunately, it ultimately morphs into "By Kind Permission Of!" What can I say? It's just like the Living in the Past version, just without the psycho intro. Too bad; I had high hopes for that track.

"To Cry You a Song" though comes off brilliantly. The guitar soloing is just as powerful on stage, if not more so, and Clive Bunker definitely smacks the drum kit like he never did in the studio. Also, notice how the instrumental parts are sped up for some reason. The birth of speed metal? Blackmore who?

"Bouree" is next. That song's great, of course. The bass solo is extended somewhat, but, what can you do? It's a live hard rock album! An artsy one! SOLOING! Wait, uh oh..."Dharma For One." It's...uh, well, it's "Dharma For One." Need I say more? It's padding for an extended drum solo that's not really different from the Living in the Past version.

The good material on this album is pretty even, but I'd peg the best number as "Nothing is Easy." It was good in studio, but it's brilliant on stage. The way Ian speeds up and slows down the vocals? Great. And the little solo spots everyone gets? Also great. I love John's trippy organ.

Oh, but it's not over yet. We have one final song, a medley, if you will. "We Used to Know" is given the "With You There" treatment; new, different life on stage. And it's still great. Amazing soloing from Ian and Martin (how could they keep it up?); and the instrumental midsection that conjoins the two songs is probably the best of its kind on the album. I mean, it's better than "By Kind Permission Of" or some drum solo. It's not consistently enthralling or anything, it just happens to be the most interesting; Marty really is quite good on that six string. It's still overlong; he has several places to shift into "For a Thousand Mothers," he just happens to choose the farthest off. "Mothers" goes off great, maybe more rockin' on stage than on the album, with the infamous coda still in tact.

Now, this album was always guaranteed four stars based solely on song power. First off, all my favorite songs from the first four Tull albums are here (well, "Serenade to a Cuckoo" is not, but its spiritual brother "Bouree" is, so, it all works out). In fact, barring "Dharma," no song is without its merit. Also, the Tullers play to their guts out on stage (Bunker's psycho drumming and Cornick's fat bass are better than they are in studio, all of the additions from John's keyboards feel perfectly natural ("With You There," "Cry," "Nothing is Easy," that...medley thing, even "Dharma"), and Ian and Martin are god-like geniuses. Or at least real good). In fact, this album showcases their abilities to play as coherent group, but still maintain their individual musical quirks. But there's more to the album than that.

It's also one hell of an archive document: it proves that the Tullers could really play on stage (although the Ian banter and instrumental breaks would improve over time), and they were really embracing progressive ideals. Now, Ian claims in his silly liner notes that you'll find no prog rockery here. Hmm. Then explain the screwing up of "With You There" and the interesting timing on "Cry You a Song?" I mean, the man even said that Tull could be considered a combination of the Who, the Moody Blues and Tiny Tim! If that doesn't scream "progressive," I don't know what does.

But there's really only one reason why you'd really want this album: because it rocks. Hard. HARD. Admittedly, you can overlook the little flourishes and not see the emerging prog rockers on stage. But what are they then? I dunno...folksy, bloozy, psycho proto-metal heads? Sure, that wraps it up pretty neatly.

Report this review (#123693)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars WOW! This is what I call ... realizing my childhood's dream! Yeahhh ...!!!

When I was teenager, about 15 years old, I knew Jethro Tull for the first time (musically) through an album called "War Child". I knew the name before through a local music magazine which was very famous at that time : Aktuil. It was from this magazine that the image of Jethro Tull depicted through an old man with a long hair, holding a flute and sometimes play acoustic guitar. Yes, it was Ian Anderson's! After that I knew a cassette labeled as Jethro Tull "Living In The Past" where I knew "Dharma For One" for the first time. This song quickly became my all time favorite. My chief reason of liking this song was its dynamic vocal style and the bass guitar solo and long drums solo. It's so great for my taste! At that time I imagined how the band could ever play it "live". And now .. thru this DVD I could have seen them. AWESOME!

This DVD can be considered as documentary. But it does have live concert as well and combined with comments from Ian Anderson. I like the story before the concert was begun, in fact just before the sound check was made. The organizer and Tull's manager wanted the audience who were already there one day before the show (it's because of a festival - many people slept at the venue). The fights between the organizer and the people (crowd) and the fight between Tull's Manager and the organizer were presented clearly. Oh man .. it's so oldies and it's so seventies...!!!!

When the show by Tull starts, I really enjoy how Ian Anderson sings and plays his flute and at the same time making a fantastic stage act. He moves his body around and controls his pitch as well as distance to microphone really well. It's a very entertaining performance. The other person that I enjoy watching is the drummer Clive Bunker who looks like John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. He plays his drums dynamically and energetically. Glenn Cornick also plays his role excellently. All songs performed here in this DVD are masterpiece: " My Sunday Feeling" (5:20), "My God" (7:30), "With You There To Help Me" (9:58), "To Cry You A Song" (5:40), "Bourée" (4:34), "Dharma For One" (10:10), "Nothing Is Easy" (5:36) and Medley: "We Used To Know/For A Thousand Mothers" (10:37). I especially love when "My God" is performed as well as "Dharma For One". The drums solo is long and so interesting. I think Clive Bunker is one of few great drummers in progressive rock music.

Despite not so good picture quality - hey, this is 1970 man ..! realax ....! - I truly enjoy the concert and the comments from Ian Anderson (2004). It's a masterpiece of prog rock concert!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#130689)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is Jethro Tull captured brimming with the spit and vinegar of youth prior to their superstardom. The songs are often inspired and so drenched with adrenaline that any gaffes and sloppiness are drowned in the exuberance and explosive craziness of Ian Anderson and gang. This live album is a real hoot to listen to. Standout songs are "Nothing is Easy", "My Sunday Feeling", and a spastic medley of "We Used to Know"/"For a Thousand Mothers". Tull's appearance at Wight can be seen as a coming out party for a band on the cusp of international fame, and they certainly outperformed most of the other acts at the festival. Tull's 1978 Bursting Out live album is a worthy look at Tull at the height of their stardom, but it in no way matches the energy found on the Isle of Wight recording, which is an important document of rock history and a damn fun one.

Worth the price of admission: "My God", with Ian Anderson doing his best 'Mad Dog Fagin' and still tinkering with the lyrics prior to its inclusion on the album Aqualung, and a towering "To Cry You a Song".

Report this review (#392356)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The Isle of Wight festival was held in late August, 1970 with plenty of heavyweights taking the stage including JIMI HENDRIX, MILES DAVIS, THE WHO, THE DOORS, ELP and many more. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded this island no doubt wanting to experience what they had heard about the year before in America at Woodstock. JETHRO TULL at this point had released three albums and were a hard rocking Blues band on the cusp of being known world- wide the following year with the 1971 release of "Aqualung" that many including myself believe would be their best album when it is all said and done.

The band here come across as being very confident and relaxed, no doubt a seasoned live band who could "rock" with the best of them. Ian Anderson is very engaging, charming and humerous as he talks to the audience between songs. Some feel 1978's "Bursting Out" is their best live album but I prefer the rougher, edgier in your face TULL where it's anything but smooth or without it's warts. It's hard to believe this wasn't released until 2004, this is a real find for me. I have to quote some of Anderson's words as the band prepares to play in front of this massive crowd. He says "We're going to do some old songs, some new songs and one or two we've never played before it seems. The first one is a really old one, i've forgotten this one I think." "They're really excited" he exclaims to his band-mates(haha).

"My Sunday Feeling" is an older track from their debut album "This Was". This is a hard rocking tune with the flute and drums standing out. Check out the guitar before 3 minutes. Barre really impresses throughout this show. "My God" was from the forth-coming record "Aqualung" so this was new to even TULL fans here. It opens with intricate guitar and part way through Anderson says "This is actually the beginning". Funny stuff. This along with "Dharma For One" are my two favourite tracks on here. It kicks into gear hard at 2 minutes and the contrasts between the beauty and angst is priceless. Ripping guitar followed by flute and some killer drum work. A flute solo follows including some avant flute and vocal sounds. An incredible performance. "With You There To Help Me" from the "Benefit" record is up next. Beautiful piano and flute melodies to start as the vocals join in. It turns fuller before 2 minutes as contrasts continue. A change 4 minutes in as we get a calm with piano only. Flute joins in around 5 1/2 minutes as they seem to improvise until it kicks back in at 9 minutes.

"To Cry You A Song" from "Benefit" has a very cool guitar melody throughout. Vocals come and go as does the ripping guitar. Great tune. "Bouree" from "Stand Up" is the most laid back tune overall i'd say but check out the bass solo after 2 minutes. The flute and bass work so well together on this one. "Dharma For One" from "This Was" like most of these tracks surpasses the studio versions. Hey we get some organ in this one to start and it turns heavy before a minute as the vocals join in. The vocals and heaviness are the highlights for me. More organ after 3 minutes and a drum solo after 6 minutes to almost the 9 minute mark. "Nothing Is Easy" from "Stand Up" is a good hard rocking song with vocals. Organ as well and man these guys could make some noise. It ends with a medley of "We Used To Know" and "For A Thousand Mothers" both from "Stand Up". The first starts off with a feel-good mood including vocals and then we get a heavy instrumental section 2 minutes in. Barre is almost Iommi-like before 3 minutes to end the first part of the medley. The second section is drum and guitar driven for the most part and both impress big time.

What a show these guys put on! No doubt they gained a lot of fans that day who would eat up their next album "Aqualung". A must-have live album for TULL fans.

Report this review (#1314529)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars It's hard to find fault in anything about this excellent live performance by the seminole genre standouts, Jethro Tull. Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 shows a great band playing at what is very near their greatest, filled with '70's flair, high production values, and genuine musicianship. Tull earns their reputation in this record that highlights their early career.

The album kicks off with the rollicking "My Sunday Feeling," which right away displays a heavy and raw tone. The excellent rhythm section of Bunker and Cornick drive forward with fuzz-heavy gusto and energy, while Barre's guitar just plain cooks.This pretty much goes for the entire album, which keeps the quality and energy level high throughout. This is a heavy, hard-rocking album, occasionally broken by moments of quite.

The production is first rate, capturing a perfect mix of feedback and realism of the show while also enough clarity for us to pick out each player's work. In the live setting one can really appreciate how busy and ambitious Jethro Tull's musicianship really is, especially in the rhythm section, although I suppose everyone has their favorite. Ian Anderson maintains a strong presence, with strong vocals and stage persona and flouting, but each member gets a chance to show off. This is perhaps most evident in the numerous extended soloing, as well as the very strong performances on "Bouree" and "Nothing is Easy". Great stuff!

With a setlist containing a variety of songs from the group's pre-Aqua Lung era, Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 is not to be missed for even casual Tull fans; when it comes to ambitious art-rock of the era, they're the real deal.

Setlist: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Stage/Energy: 4 - Live Experience: 4

Report this review (#1495549)
Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | Review Permalink

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