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BENEFIT

Jethro Tull

Prog Folk


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Jethro Tull Benefit album cover
3.90 | 706 ratings | 73 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. With You There To Help Me (6:17)
2. Nothing To Say (5:12)
3. Inside (3:49)
4. Son (2:50)
5. For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me (3:49)
6. To Cry You A Song (6:12)
7. A Time For Everything (2:43)
8. Teacher (3:59)
9. Play In Time (3:48)
10. Sossity, You're A Woman (4:30)

Total Time: 43:19

Bonus tracks on remaster (2001):
11. Singing All Day (3:07)
12. Witch's Promise (3:53)
13. Just trying To Be (1:37)
14. Teacher (original UK mix) (3:49)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson flute, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Martin Barre / electric guitar
- Clive Bunker / drums, percussion
- Glenn Cornick / bass

Guest musicians:
- John Evan / piano, organ

Releases information

LP Chrysalis CHR1043 (1970)
CD Chrysalis 7243 5 35457 2 7 (2001 remaster)
CD Chrysalis Records (USA) 35457 (2002)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tsevir Leirbag for the last updates
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JETHRO TULL Benefit ratings distribution


3.90
(706 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
23%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
47%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

JETHRO TULL Benefit reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This 1970 release, the band's third album, is the first of the early Tull recordings that, to my taste, merits a 5-star rating. By this time, the group's sound had jelled into what most fans would say typifies classic Tull: less blues-rooted than its (excellent) predecessor, with Anderson's unique flute and Martin Barre's hard-edged guitar to the fore. There's not a single weak track, and the absolutely essential "Inside" and "Teacher" (one of my all-time favourite Tull songs) appear here.

This disc is a must for followers of the early Jethro Tull!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#16240) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 08, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

After the resounding success of Stand Up and the non-album hit-singles surrounding it, proving that it was possible to have singles and still be a respected artist with intricate arrangements, Tull released in spring 70 their third album in 18 months. With an unchanged line-up (this rare enough to be mentioned), the quartet chose a hard direction, sometimes foraying in hard rock. The sound is definitely not as slick as on Stand Up, but this helps the album gain its own personality. The album sees the appearance of keyboardist John Evan for the first time, but still as a guest.

Unlike most JT fan, I find this one is not as nice as the sound is not as round (as on Stand Up) and is more aggressive and squarer (as in To Old... and Minstrel ITG). I have a tendency to think that Martin Barre was trying to get more implication with the creation and every time he did so, the overall sound gets tougher, rockier and harder. There are still many fine songs on the album such as "With You", "Play In Time" (with its scarily twisted distortions checking if the needle was not getting wrecked), the great folky "For MC, Jeffrey And Me", "Inside" (bringing us back to their debut) or "To Cry You A Song", but some tracks are relatively weaker (Nothing To Say, Son, Time For Everything?) and make repeated listenings of this album somewhat arduous! Thankfully it ends better than it started.

The remastered version boasts another four bonus tracks, three of which from a December 69 session, the exception being "Singing All Day" closer in time to Stand Up and sounds like it also. If it was not for Inside on the original Benefit album it might sound out of place. Witch's Promise is a delightful and maybe the best thing on the remastered album, while the short "Just Trying To Be" is a charming ditty and Teacher is another catchy track even if I find Anderson's singing very odd at time. All four tracks were previously available on the LITP collection, but add excellent value and quality to the original album. Still a classic Tull album, but I would recommend this album only after you have gotten past the essential albums such as Aqualung, Stand up and TAAB!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#16216) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The beneficiary of a rich sonic contrast that brought elements of light (acoustic guitar, John EVAN's piano) and dark (Martin BARRE's guitars) into the mix. "Benefit" is a noisier, heavier record than anything the band had done to date and a harbinger of what would follow ("Aqualung" et al). Where Stand Up played up the band's acoustic side and thus had a bluesy gentility to it, "Benefit" bares its teeth in the distorted, drenched electric end of the musical spectrum. IAN ANDERSON had already shown a penchant for animalism in his flute solos; now taking a wider berth behind the boards, he was able to carry that style over to the other instruments, notably for the electric guitars. The folk sensibilities remain, but they're subordinated to rock riffs that suggest LED ZEPPELIN on a lighter scale, especially on the riff-driven "To Cry You A Song" and "With You There To Help Me". To the dismay of some, ANDERSON was also growing more indulgent in his lyric delivery, dripping with disdain on "Son", "Nothing To Say" and "Play In Time". In many ways he was becoming the FRANK ZAPPA of folk/rock, creating intricately knotted ribbons of music on which to hang his effigies. As a result, the pockets of youthful optimism ("Inside", "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me") now sound disingenuous and out of place, the first casualties of the new TULL. To balance the darkness, ANDERSON would come to rely on humor to rise above the fray he'd made; "Teacher" (with its clockwork precision) is part of a select company of TULL songs that pokes fun at philosophizing ("Fat Man", "Thick As A Brick edit #1") for example. The album ends with the didactic, delicious "Sossity; You're A Woman", an acoustic wonder that holds its own with the best of them (including the first half of "Stairway To Heaven").

"Benefit" affords the listener their choice of the hot sun or cool shade; that is, without the inhospitable heat of a bright concept hanging over their heads. Some saw it as the end of the line, others the beginning, making it one of the few TULL albums most fans can agree to enjoy.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#16229) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I've been always having a difficult time trying to review this album. Ten years ago (1992-93) I was in my JETHRO TULL phase, and I was often letting people know my likings for these guys. Ten years later, it turns out that "Benefit" remains one of my favorites. I find this album a more mature offering than "Stand Up", and the sound quality is definately much better. Yes, it's a more difficult album to get in to than its predecessor, that's why "Benefit" had received its share of criticisms. New member John Even provides piano and organ, making it easier for the keyboard parts (after all, the piano and organ on "Stand Up" was from ANDERSON himself), although he was credited as an official member yet. My favorite cuts include "With You There To Help Me", "Nothing to Say", "Inside", "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, and Me", "Play in Time", and strangely, I also like the acoustic "Sossity, You're a Woman".

Many of the songs on this album point towards the direction of "Aqualung" (like "Nothing to Say"), especially from Martin Barre's guitar work. Also only half the songs features ANDERSON's flute work. The reason was that ANDERSON wanted to demonstrated that the band could still float without his flute on some of the cuts, and it works. In fact, on side one, only "With You There To Help Me" and "Inside" features his flute. As for "Teacher", the hit on the album, apparently it only appeared on the American version, and "Alive and Well and Living In" was on the British version ("Teacher" was released as a single there - the flip side being "Witches Promise", you get to hear all these songs, as well as "Alive and Well and Living In" on the double album set "Living in the Past"). "Benefit" sure makes me wish it was 1970 again (even though I wasn't alive in '70). Great stuff.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#16239) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2004

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars A new decade had started and Jethro Tull's evolution was almost defined, the blues oriented "This Was" and the still jazzy but more eclectic "Stand Up" were left in the past, the band had found the progressive folk sound that was going to be their trademark until today.

Ian is perfect with his characteristic vocals and unique flute but the most important feature is the way he blends the soft acoustic guitar with Martin Barre's electric and aggressive instrument, creating a mixture between the countryside and the city that gently merge into the same atmosphere, simply perfect and totally different to the previous albums where acoustic and electric guitar seemed to be playing different melodies.

Also important is the addition of a powerful pianist as John Evan who's style is much more technical than David Palmer. It's important to notice that John Evan had already played with Ian Anderson in The Blades and John Evan Band, so it was easier for them to join again in Jethro Tull.

Not in the level of Aqualung or Thick as a Brick but Benefit is a well balanced album with no fillers that includes some masterpieces and tracks that will be part of Jethro Tull's repertoire in later gigs. my favorites from this album are:

"With You There to Help Me": This is the song that would introduce me to the Jethro Tull's world, still can remember the impression that made on me the contrast between the acute flute, Ian's low vocal tone and Barre's breathtaking chords. Some drastic changes that are softened by the characteristic flute make of this song an underrated classic.

"Nothing to Say": The electric guitar introduction leads immediately to Ian's voice, a track that advances step by step to a peaceful development when the listener is expecting something more aggressive, but the beauty of the song is precisely that contradiction.

To Cry You a Song": Another track that became a classic in Tull's concerts, probably the most eclectic song, folksy and soft but with some echoes of their blues past that suddenly changes with a frenetic guitar solo that is a pleasure for those who love the harder edge of Tull.

"Teacher": A very beautiful song where Ian's voice and Glen Cornick's bass make the difference along with the psychedelic keyboards and ultra fast flute, a true masterpiece.

"Sossity, You're a Woman" is the perfect closer a song which proves that Jethro Tull has also a classical side, the acoustic guitar soft but complex is simply delightful and the melodic flute that blends with the tune completes the scene.

Not yet the peak of Jethro Tull's creativity but already fantastic Benefit is a very solid album that deserves a special place in every collection. I know that other releases are more mature, but in my book this outstanding album deserves no less than 5 stars

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#16241) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I`m not a fan of Jethro Tull, because I don`t like very much the "one-man bands", I mean, the "owner of the name-composer-producer-boss and his musicians-employees", which is what Jethro Tull is for me. I only have listened to some of their albums (a long time ago to: "Stand Up", "Thick as a Brick", "A Passion Play" (I remember that it is a good album), "War Child", "Too old to rock and roll...", "Songs fom the Wood", all of them because someone lent them to my older brothers) and I only have 3 of their albums: "Benefit" and "Aqualung" (recorded in a cassette from two of my brothers` record collections) and "A" (which I bought because I liked the band called "UK" and because former UK member Eddie Jobson appeared in this album as guest). This album "Benefit" is very good, better than "Aqualung", in my opinion. Is more a "Rock" album than a "Folk- Rock" album as there are a lot of guitars and drums. In this album, Ian Anderson wasn`t the only original member of the band so this is stiill more "an album made by a band called Jethro Tull", with a very good line-up and with very good guitars by Martin Barre (who was recording his second album with the band). My favourite songs from this album are: "With you there to help me", "Nothing to say", "To cry you a song" (with a melody which sounds similar to Bach`s music, I think; the best song of this album and the most Progressive), "A Time for Everything" and "Teacher". I also like the cover design: it was a very original idea for a cover.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#16244) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 15, 2004

Review by Jimbo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While being a hugely succesful effort on its own, Benefit is slightly inconsistent, and weaker as a whole than Stand Up, if you don't mind me saying so. Nevertheless, it could be argued that this is where Anderson finally found the "classic" Tull sound, and the album is ultimately a bit less blues-oriented. This album has a few of my all time favorite tunes, namely "With You There To Help Me", "Nothing To Say" and "Teacher". That said, some of the songs are a bit forgettable -- it's been a while since I listened to this album, and I can't remember how the melody of "Play In Time" goes. The album is smoother than their earlier works (has a natural flow), and it sounds more professional, but at the same time, I miss the energy of Stand Up and the raw enthusiasm of This Was. A fine collection of songs, this one, and a safe bet for anyone wanting to look into Tull, but possibly not as essential as their future works would turn out to be.

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Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In Benefit Jethro Tull went to a harder and darker feel with a growing cynism in Ian's song- writing. The band is now joined by Mr John Evan, the keyboard player from that John evan Band from which Tull had metamorphosed two years previously. he made it clear he would only work with JT for a year or two a the most, but he remained (thanks God) for the next ten years. Sadly Benefit it's the last for Glenn Cornick, gone to form Wild Turkey. The best songs in my opinion are With You There To Help Me (with the famous back-played flute intro), To Cry You A Song (of which there's a great cover performed by Hughes in the tribute album Magna Charta-A Collection Of Tull Tales) and the powerful Nothing To Say. In the Chrysalis 2001 remastered edition are found the excellent 1970 singles Teacher and the acoustic The Witch's Promise coupled with the nice Just trying To Be and Singing All Day.

A great album, but not one to start with... It's better Stand up as a beginning... anyway 4 stars are the right pay to Ian Anderson and company!!

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Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As Ian Anderson wanted the music of Tull had somewhat less blues influenced, the band did prove it through their follow-up album "Stand Up" (1969) which I already reviewed in this site couple of months ago. "Benefit", the band third album released in 1970, confirmed the band departure from blues to their own Jethro Tull Sound combining the heavy use of flute and acoustic guitar as rhythm section which anchored their music into what people mentioned later as progressive folk music. Even though it's hard to deny that there is a bit influence of blues in this album - as was the case with many classic rock music released during late sixties and early seventies. By the time this album was released there was no such term as progressive as a commonly used language by music critics at the time. Just to put things into perspective, by the time this album was released, The Beatles released "Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band" three years in advance (1967), King Crimson was releasing their second album "In The Wake of Poseidon" after the success of debut album "In The Court of The Crimson King" (1969) which most people reckon as the birth of prog rock. Genesis was releasing their second album "Trespass" and Yes "Close To The Edge" was not born yet. Looking at this perspective it's quite clear the "Benefit" has its own standing in their musical style.

The album kicks off with ambient flute work in "With You There To Help Me" followed with floating vocal line and rhythm section. The music style is a blues-rock with hard edged guitar work (melody) by Martin Barre. The flute demonstrates its role during short interlude. It's a warm opening track. Acoustic guitar plays as rhythm section and strengthens the "folk" image of the band's music. But if we observe the music in great detail, I can confirm that structurally and style-wise this track is a prog rock. "Nothing To Say" (please do not confuse with other Tull's track "Nothing's Easy") has a mellower in style but maintaining the floating singing style of Ian which later become his trademark. Very cool and very enjoyable - Martin Barre's soft riffs are stunning. "Alive And Well And Living In" continues the music with a styke that has become Tull's sound as you can find this with even later album of Tull like "Heavy Horses". Next tracks "Son" and "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me" are excellent tracks as well with the latter uses acoustic guitar fills as main rhythm section.

The best favorite track out of this album is probably "To Cry You a Song" which also became a title of tribute album released by Magna Carta (see my review in this site under Various Artists). This song forms its style in heavy rock with soft guitar riffs as main rhythm section with dry singing style by Anderson. It's melodically very strong and it has a good composition with excellent variations of electric guitar work. I can hardly hear flute sound in this track but still this one still represents great Jethro Tull Sound! You can also enjoy the tribute version in To Cry You A Song performed by Glenn Hughes (formerly with Deep Purple). "A Time Foe Everything?" brings the flute back into music but Martin Barre's guitar is still dominating the music.

"Inside" has a different style than its previous tracks whereby flute is now floating, accompanying Ian's singing. It's really cool having this track presented after relatively rocking track. "Play In Time" bring the music into upbeat tempo with aggressive flute playing style and energetic singing augmented with soft guitar riffs - unique to Jethro Tull's music. The intertwining sounds of guitar and flute is stunning. "Sossity: You're A Woman" concludes the album with a mellow nuance with great acoustic guitar fills as main rhythm section accompanying voice line. This drum-less track is really powerful. As usual, flute provides great inserts throughout the song.

Overall, it's an excellent album with tight composition, powerful songwriting and flawless performance. This album has put a strong foundation for the future of Jethro Tull's music. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Sunday, October 09, 2005

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars I made an unofficial research and discovered that Jethro Tull had their work released in Brazil before other giants like Pink Floyd, King Crimson and even Moody Blues... probably they were the first prog-band heard in this part of the World!

Reasons, well, I listed 2: first, their association with Rolling Stones through the Rock and Roll Circus - since Beatles were disbanded, the Stones were in the crest of the wave; second, they were considered initially a hard-rock or acid-rock band in the same line of Sabbath, Led or Deep Purple and these guys were a kind of fever here by 1970/1971.

The fact is that JT really benefited from these events and got an extreme popularity in Terra Brasilis that I guess that in the prog-scene they lose only for Pink Floyd and the difference is tiny. Ian Anderson is a usual visitor alone or with the band and he is an easy figure on our TV even going to talk-shows and similar stuffs. Also JT had a good start because while "Benefit" was their third work was truly their first prog piece and the first to be released here; new fans received more than they asked for!

And the album itself? A good one, well above the average. For a listener back in the 70s some sounds should have seem quaint, also the flute, the guitar riffs, the arrangements, certain tunes and passages, the singing act; the progressive ears were being educated.

Songs flow smoothly and even the weaker tracks run accordingly; opening track, 'With you there to help me' is one of the album highest points but there's that marvelous flute in the best track 'Inside' or the pleasant 'Sossity', 'Nothing to say' and 'Son'. A landmark and an excellent addition for a music collection. Total: 4.

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Posted Friday, January 06, 2006

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album has received a lot of glowing reviews, almost invariably from people who say it's just as good as STAND UP and nearly as good as AQUALUNG. So let me add my halfpennyworth.

I simply love BENEFIT, and I believe there is not a single weak song on the entire album. Tracks like 'With you there to help me', 'Nothing to say', 'To cry you a Song' and 'Sossity; you're a woman' are as charming and tuneful as anything Jethro Tull have ever done. If the album has remained underexposed in Tull live shows or on compilation albums, there are several possible reasons I can think of. (1) Strange to say, none of the heavier tracks included have attained the (semi-)classic status of 'A new day yesterday', 'Locomotive breath' etc. (2) The album was recorded during a grim period in Ian Anderson's life. I enjoy the way he sings its mournful melodies, but apparently he was not yet capable of writing irresistibly jolly tunes like 'Mother Goose', or deeply felt acoustic songs like 'Wond'ring aloud'. (3) On many of the tracks, lead guitarist Martin Barre performs a surprisingly prominent role. (With double-tracked wah-wah solos and all!) BENEFIT is Martin's album as much as anyone's - something I find highly refreshing, since Martin was still using an old-fashioned blues-rock idiom. This doesn't mean BENEFIT is a guitars-only album: John Evan's keyboard contributions are tasteful and unforgettable.

Every Jethro Tull fan should have a copy of this album, which is far more enjoyable than the turgid THICK AS A BRICK. It's now available with four bonus tracks, all of them superb. For me, BENEFIT firmly belongs to the top five of Tull albums.

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Posted Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Benefit" had been the last album by JT with Glenn Cornick on board and the first one with John Evans adding a new dimension to the band's sound with his piano and organ play. It might stand a bit in the shadow of its brilliant follow-up "Aqualung" and the very good previous one "Stand Up" but I wouldn't consider it that much inferior to those ones. This album has an overall darker and more hard-edged sound compared to its follow-up fitting quite well to my taste preferences and of course there aren't such staple hits here like "Aqualung" or "Locomotive Breath". The next one certainly would feature more elaborate lyrical work by Anderson and more of nice acoustic ballads but here we have just strong more powerful tracks instead. They started here as well experimenting with some production techniques like the backwards recorded flute on "With You There To Help Me" which would become a regular joke on stage by Anderson as he turned his back to the audience to play the opening notes. Two facts might be worth mentioning that is first the lyrics "flying so high" in "To Cry You a Song" which seamed to confirm the rumor that Anderson was a junkie what never been the case of course. The second one is the line "blues were my favourite colour until I looked 'round and found another song that I felt like singing" in "Play In Time" which had been a direct message by him to his critics supporting their earlier blues-orientated approach. "Teacher" became very popular in the US though the band considered it rather a throwaway song. Therefore it might have been put only as bonus in its original version featuring less flute on the CD reissue. We get the excellent track "Alive And Well And Living In" dominated by Evans' piano play instead. Other highlights are "Nothing To Say", "Inside", "For Michael Collins", "To Cry You A Song", "Play In Time" and the more acoustic one "Sossity, You're A Woman" but as said already there's not any flaw on here. Recommended as an essential Prog addition!!

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Posted Saturday, December 09, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Having gotten this as a Christmas gift, it has been a good 25 years since I've listened to it and I must admit every song came back to me instantaeously. Right from the start, "With You There To Help Me" it has that early bluesy Tull sound, but Barre's guitar is gutsy and jazzy at the same time. Bunker bashes the heck out of his drums throughout and Anderson's voice changes from song to song, raspy at times, hushed other and soars if needed. I can honestly say that this almost matches the classic Aqualung song for song. The only track that bogs down the disc is the last. It's not bad, but lyrically I'm not loving it, (I do believe Mr Anderson is one of the greatest lyricists ever). What I really care about this album is the darkness and cynicism. According to Ian's writing inside the CD sleeve for the re-mastered edition, they came back to England following an exhausting US tour for "Stand Up" tired and a bit ornery. There's not too many dark Tull album's, maybe "A Passion Play" but for the most part this one is darker. Now, how to judge it. From a progressive perspective, it's a three. From a hard rock perspective with a bit of English blues and pub boggie it's a hands down fiver. Going for the middle ground, and seeing as it's more adult brother comes next I'll give it a solid four stars. A must have early Tull album for those who played the more classic ones to death...give it a go!

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Posted Thursday, January 04, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Benefit is the real start of the Tull's great history (IMO). I could not quite appreciate their first two albums but this one is somewhat different. I remember passing by the same record shop for months around my school in 1973. They still displayed this LP sleeve (as well as most of the Genesis ones of the era) and maybe therefore, this album will always have a special place in my collection.

The opener "With You There to Help Me" is a fabulous song : hard rockind, great flute and wonderful guitar. Somehow complex : it is one of my fave and a highlight. "Nothing to Say" is a harmonious song : strong backing work from the band (bass and drumming) although the master's voice is dominent and noticeably trying (and achieving) to articulate as much as possible to ensure listeners understands what he says. Another great 5'14" piece of music (and the second highlight).

"Alive and Well and Living In" is a short but well balanced song : rocking / fluting / melody-ing (?). Not at all a weak track. The instrumentals here are very good. The band is really coping well together here.

"Son" is a weird song made of two parts (easily noticeable). The first one being somewhat hard rocky is right in tune with the first two songs. The second section, although it started folky, finishes like it started : a good Tull rocking tune. The end of the song though seems to be cut. Strange structure.

"For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" starts like a mellow folk song. But with "Benefit" it must have been agreed that no song would be totally folk, so the track will balance between folk and rock. Not too bad.

The vocals for "To Cry You a Song" are quite bizarre. I am not really found of the "special" effects added here. The track though is great : hard rocking at times with great musicianship from Barre. I really would have liked to get the normal Ian's voice format to fully appreciate this song. Great bass playing again by Glenn Cornick.

"A Time for Everything" is again a good song. Same singing work from Ian than in "Nothing to Say". Abrupt end like in "Son". As the album flows, one has to acknowlege that there are no weak track on here. Barre's influence is huge : "Inside" could have been a folky/mellow tune but thanks to his input it turned to be a good rocking song. "Play In Time" really shows how powerful the band can be (even in a studio work). "Sossity" is the sole whole acoustic number. Maybe it is good to rest a bit after such a rocking album !

Four bonus tracks on the remastered edition : "Singing All Day" is a great song with very good keys and bass (again). Fluting is quite melodious. "Witch's Promise" is another track which could have easily fit on the album. Rocking but aerial. Tull. These two bonus tracks are also released on their compilation effort "Living In The Past". Absolutely no fillers. It is no the same with "Just Trying To Be" : quite average track (but it is the first one so far...) "Teacher" is almost a heavy track with a slow rythm. Glenn Cornick is again great (but I have mentioned him so much that he too should be credited for this quite rocking / hard sound of this album).

Although none of the tunes will turn into Tull classic it is a very well balanced effort.

IMO "Benefit" will pave the way for lots of Tull albums from ...the eighties. Like "Broadsword", "Crest" and "Rock Island" but I will have the opportunity to discuss these ones a little later). I would highly recommend the remastered version of "Benefit" to anyone willing to enter their catalogue because :

1. It is a very good album

2. It is really representative of several Tull albums (or individual tracks on later albums)

Four stars.

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Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Filling the gap, the finest example.

One of the finest amalgams between good musicianship and high level of literacy; since it was released in 1970, it was wrapped with progressive overtones, but not because of occasional trends - it's more likely an emphasizing device for wide palette of Ian's ideas. It is true that the album is somewhat inconsistent, but I will stay in it's defence because all the aspects if that inconsistency are:

a) well above the average level of songwriting, b) album works perfectly as a whole, and c) the level of inconsistency is significantly decreased if you don't compare the album with other Ian's conceptual works.

Having said that, I'm defining this album as first yet very successful picture book of a skilled man who will become world-renowned rock pedagogue and methodologist in a years to come.

Are my comparisons too daring? I don't think that's the case, they're simply reflection of Ian's really intelligent work as a whole, and of his work in this particle called "Benefit" whose relevancy is not to be underestimated.

First of all - and that's probably the most important fact, musically-wise - this albums fills the gap between band's first period (of pushing the boundaries of blues) and the second period (progressive, (semi) conceptual works with social themes). It's clearly blues-influenced, but there's no straightforward blues tune on it, progressive elements are more evident in pseudo-baroque riffs ("To Cry You a Song", "Sossity; You're a Woman") than in multipart-compositions ("Son", For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"), and last but not the least, the quality of production increased drastically.

Simply because of that fact this album deserves to be called an essential one, and we didn't scratched the surface yet.

As far as music goes, there's less flute and more piano, clashing the occasional hard-rock bursts and folkish tranquility.

Every track here is telling it's own story, and each one is augmented with excellent music - it's hard to say whether is music the background for the lyrics or vice versa. Whatever it is, it works perfectly. Ian's lyrics are emotional and clever in he same time, and the beauty of the lyrics and the music themselves is not buried under overaccentuated technicality, although this album is of high quality craftsmanship-wise. As any other Tull record.

The album is full of contemplative piano parts, which in correlation with unique Tull trademark - Ian's flute - create a perfect amalgam and pleasant listening experience. The other side of the musical diversity is armoured with barrage fire of hard-rock moments which are not raw or notorious at all; hard-rock presented here is crafted well, reasonably polished, with a spice of furiousness; there are some absolutely astonishing moments where guitar sounds like a snake in spasm lashing both sides of stereo field, an unbeatable trick that surprised even the band members, because apparently it happened in studio by a coincidence.

My point is that this album is monstrously well-balanced, focused, technical and emotional in the same time. It is not the best record that JETHRO TULL ever did simply because the band have half a dozen masterpieces up its sleeve, but as a standalone unit, this is a masterpiece in all possible contexts.

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Posted Friday, January 19, 2007

Review by Chris H
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Is it possible to make a classic album without including any classics songs? Why of course it is!

Jethro Tull's "Benefit", their 1970 release, was the third album by these rock n' roll giants. this album is really what got their career going, and for me it is the beginning stages of that epic Jethro Tull sound. Glenn Cornick is tight the whole way through, and Martin Barre's intense, sludgy guitar riffs are the perfect compliments to Ian's beautiful flute sounds.

The show kicks off with "With You There To Help Me", an amazing hard rock stunner that features some of the Tull's best early riffs. One of the highlights of the album, could not have picked a better song to start the vinyl. "Nothing to Say" features an excellent rhythm section, and the highly underrated Clive Bunker provides some great beats to match Cornick's bass. Anderson's voice overpowers most the band however, and it captivates you. The good songs just keep flowing! "Inside" is much slower than the first two, more comparable to the melodic, flute driven Tull that cam before this album. Although it is not a bad song, you as a listener will be expecting the heavy guitar riffs and loud singing instead of the atmospheric tones on Anderson's flute and "love-song voice". "Son" is my favorite A-side track by a good mile! From the high- intensity first seconds of the opening verse until the songs radical psychedelic switch, Martin Barre is on top of his game and the whole song just flies. Anderson is at his lyrical peak on the album, and even the slow half of the song is amazing because of the interesting guitar once again presented. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, and Me" is comparable to "Inside". Once again, not a bad song, but messing with the flow of the album. The slower opening takes away from all of the energy and action that "Son" created before it. Of course the song picks up in the middle and becomes an excellent song, but the flow is already gone and the intensity is gone.

The B-side starts out with "To Cry You A Song", which is another example of pure excellence! The opening music is intense without being overbearing and the singing is amazing. Can't tell if it is distorted or not, but it is heavily psychedelic. The music in the middle is once again, intense but not overbearing with Martin's amazing guitar solo coming into play. Mr. Barre is steadily becoming one of my favorite guitarists. More soloing leads to "A Time For Everything', the shortest song on the album. The guitar matches the flute every step of the way, which makes for quite an interesting concept. The pairing of the guitar and flute really brings out the good sense in the vocals as well. Another perfect song. "Teacher", the most recognizable song off of the album, is surprisingly one of the weaker songs here. Surely the fans could have picked a better song to represent the album, but this is still an excellent song nonetheless. Another heavy and rockin' guitar riff brings the song up, but the lyrics are a tad bit of a letdown compared with the amazing pen productions on the other songs here. Still an amazing song, don't get me wrong. The flute rave-ups are still a nice touch as well. Speaking of flute rave-ups, that is exactly how the next song, "Play In Time" starts. Barre picks up where Anderson leaves off, and then some more heavy vocals come out and this song is on par with the tone of the album still. I really find it hard to say a negative thing about this album! After the rock-hard outro on "Play In Time", the amazingly beautiful "Sossity, You're A Woman" beings. Very laid-back, this is an atmospheric musical piece that brings a nice ending to a perfect album.

Many have said it before, but I will echo the saying that "Benefit" was the arrow that pointed them to "Aqualung", even if I do prefer "Benefit" of the two. This is undoubtedly the early Tull masterpiece, and one of their career's best. Also, this is a highlight for anybody with ears, let alone progressive rock fans. The mixture of folk and heavy, hard rock brings an interesting concept that made a masterpiece. 5 stars.

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Posted Friday, February 23, 2007

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars So Stand Up was a good album, but it had two things against it: first, the sound quality was a little muddy, I'll never understand that. Secondly, the band wasn't always gelling as a unit. I don't know. With Benefit we clear up both those issues. The sound on Benefit is crisp, the nicest album until Passion Play in that sense. The band also plays as a unit pretty consistently. Unfortunately, something else is gone. Diversity.

Yep. All the songs on Benefit tend to follow a pattern: they blatantly mix gentle acoustics with sludgey guitar. It's also very dark within and throughout, the darkest album to date. However, I have nothing wrong with that pattern. In fact, there's almost nothing on the album that pisses me off, which makes for a fairly even listening.

The opening number is "With You There to Help Me," possibly the earliest song to enter my echelon of "just really, really good Tull numbers." It's an acid drenched ditty with spooky voice and flute and fuzzy guitar. And clapping. Listen closely for the laugh effects, and out of tune (purposely...I hope) piano under the main melody. I love the coda: an endless flute/guitar showdown. Yep. This is Tull's psychedelic album.

"Nothing to Say" is a really depressing number with fantastic vocal delivery. Ian really sounds like everyone is out to get him, and he doesn't give a crap. A little lighter is "Alive, Well and Living In," with the main tune being handed back and forth between Ian and Martin, and a nice acoustic bridge. Diehard Tullers often rave that "Son" is the first number to truly incorporate soft and hard parts, but they tend to forget "Back to the Family." Oh well, most diehards aren't thrilled with it anyway. I don't see why. It's the hardest thing on the album, with angry lyrics directed right at Ian's old man. Great to listen to right before listening to "Cheap Day Return," see what a year can do.

As I said, the best number is "With You There to Help Me," but the worst number is a little harder to define. However, "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" is a pretty good candidate. I like the rockin' middle, the "I'm with you boys" part, but the acoustic buildup is just so...BORING.

The second side brings us back with "To Cry You a Song," the most famous and classy riff on the album. And it fades in! Ha! No one was doing that! It's the second of the psychedelic trio (in between "We Used to Know" and "My God"). It's really a great number for Barre, with fuzzy guitar tones layering themselves over and over again in during the instrumental breaks. "A Time For Everything" is a nice little tune, with the main melody once again being traded between flute and guitar. However, it also has a really irritating beep in the middle, which (unless my disc is faulty), kind of spoils it.

"Inside" is the most upbeat thing on the album, an amusing little pop rocker with light 'n catchy flute. "Play in Time" is the weirdest, most experimental of the lot. It's a driving rocker, with little flute parts popping up here and there. Sometimes the backwards chewed tape effect gets on my nerves, but other than that a decent song (I love the lyrics). "Sossity; You're a Woman" is some atmospheric organ and equally atmospheric acoustic guitar. It's a sufficient closer, but on the greatest.

So, as I've said, not the greatest, but good. Dark, but not the darkest. Dry, but not the driest (some have suggested a proto-Minstrel). There is not a single song that doesn't contain something I like, if sometimes you have to dig for it (or endure sound effects). The band sounds pretty good, but I'm also a little disappointed. Ian and Martin are great, and John Evan does pretty good on the 'boards, but my rhythm section (particualry Cornick) isn't nearly as strong as on Stand Up. Poor Glenn. Clever chap, jazzy basslines, but I do prefer Jeffrey.

Benefit is worth your dollars, if only for the two biggest numbers off the album. Both are pretty much classics. Yeah. Damn this is a bad ending to the review, but I can't think of anything better.

(There are four songs on the digital remaster, and you've probably heard them all! "Singing All Day" is one of the grooviest numbers Tull ever did. It's remarkably toe tappin'. "Witch's Promise," the best bonus, is a ghostly orchestral folk number with fantastic build and creepy flute that comes from...everywhere. "Just Trying to Be" is a short, sweet number with little acoustic/lullaby effects. "Teacher" is what Ian created when "they" told him "they" needed a pop rocker to help sell the band. No fear, it's still way too strange to be yer standard radio play. I am, however, with Ian on this one; I'm not a fan of this fan favorite. It's a nice enough tune, but it's played for way too long. Amazingly enough, no change in rating. I just...don't feel it. Sorry.)

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#123694) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
3 stars Benefit, Tull's darkest album to date. Not that the light doesn't shine through in various points, but this is the overall mood I get from this album. The guitar and sometimes the piano give this music a sinister feel and when combined with the lyrics and vocals, one can get a sarcastic feel. Being a lover of darker music, this is a plus for me. Before going into the core of this review, it is necessary to point out that the musicians are certainly coming into their own here and are even tighter than on previous releases. The songs are structured well, and when they fully get going its fantastic.

However, when they aren't "going" things can get a bit arduous. Especially in the middle of the album. The songs themselves are alright, but to me they lack the necessary materials to keep the interest up. Another thing, is the similar sound of these songs. A little more variation here would have certainly improved it. But of course, this has its upsides as well. If this sound (mostly a hard blues rock sound, with folky acusticness and a healthy dose of flute) is what you prefer about Jethro Tull, then you should enjoy it alot more. But the main reason for a three star rating, is that I feel this is a step backwards for the Tull. To my ears, Stand Up was progressive and varied (and the same could be argued for the debut). As I said eariler, this album is much more in the hard blues-rock vein. Thus, thinking strictly for a progressive collection this album is by no need essential.

Though there are high points with this album. With You There To Help Me, Nothing To Say, and Alive And Well And Living In are all classic JT songs. To Cry You A Song, Teacher, and Inside are all very good songs as well, although I wouldn't call them classics. There is also great guitar and solid flute work present throughout most of the album, and for fans of the hard blues age there are a few bluesy jams thrown in as well. But, overall, this falls a bit flat, especially comparatively.

All in all, Benefit is a decent album. This will appeal more to fans of early Tull then to fans of progressive Tull, folky tull, or late Tull. The Blues sound is certainly dominent here at the cost of the progressive side of things. Not a complete bust however, and I believe every fan of JT will find something enjoyable about this album. Also, not the best starting point in JT's extensive discography. Three stars, good, but not essential.

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Send comments to Man With Hat (BETA) | Report this review (#130640) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars A GOOD HARDER ROCKIN ALBUM.

After the commercial success of STAND UP and their no-less successful USA tour, JETHRO TULL was asked to go back in the studio to take advantage of all the last good developments in their carreer. And in 1970 came out BENEFIT! their 3rd album already in less than 2 years!

Often considered as a transitional album between the goodies of STAND UP and their biggest baby AQUALUNG, BENEFIT can stand alone on its own merits. It took me a long time to get into it, and to be frank, i didn't listen to it very often back then in the roaring 70s. Luckily , i tried again with the new remasterised CD i bought first just for collection purpose, but finally, something ''clicked'' after all those years. Just have to be patient, i guess!

BENEFiT benefits(!) of the same line -up that was on STAND UP. The only modification is the arrival of keyboardist JOHN EVAN, first as guest, then he would become a permanent member for the next 10 years.He will help a lot of course to add more diversity to the JETHRO TULL sound, but also will prove to be a great stage showman that will have the band noticed along with IAN ANDERSON.

This is a hard rockin album compared to the first two. The guitar of MARTIN BARRE is well mixed in the front with raging riffs like on TO CRY YOU A SONG or WITH YOU THERE TO HELP ME. This is definitely NOT prog again, but can JETHRO TULL be really catalogued as a prog band??? Not really, this is JETHRO TULL music. Don't forget we are in 1970, year of LED ZEPPELIN 2, BLACK SABBATH 1, DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK. This is the year hard rock took off the groud. I guess JETHRO TULL was not immune to the outside sounds of the time and IAN ANDERSON asked MARTIN BARRE to go for it. And MARTIN doesn't stop; listen to him again on TIME FOR EVERYTHING and SON. He really brings a lot energy to the album. The flute is secondary and sometimes mixed in the back like on TIME FOR EVERYTHING.

Also, it is noticeable that the voice of IAN ANDERSON got also better, he sings his heart out with a strong powerful clear voice.There were no hits on this album, no BOURREE or SWEET DREAM, just 10 compact hard-energised songs made to rock. No string quartets either, just listen to PLAY IN TIME; You will never hear MARTIN BARRE playing again like a crazy demon like on this song in particular.

Again, we are treated with 4 good extra tracks with the remasterised CD edition . That just makes the listening of this album a wonderful experience , the same way it was with TIME WAS and STAND UP.

So 3.5 stars + half a star for the bonus tracks=

4 STARS

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#133770) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars You can't step into the same water twice - and this album really shows that. After the excellent "Stand Up", the band with the same line-up (Anderson-Barre-Bunker-Cornick) recorded "Benefit" which seemingly fails short in comparison. There are no obvious hits or songs that stand out, while the overall musical production is somewhat restrained. The material is equilised and consistent throughout the record, mixing nicely the electric and acoustic passages. However, what sounds and what may have sounded at the time like a drawback now shows "Benefit" as a necessary break before the storming sequence of masterpiece albums to come. "Benefit" is extremely listenable, unpretentious album, with several more than excellent songwriting examples, among which "With You There to Help Me", "To Cry You a Song", "Teacher" and "Sossity" are the best. It was never seriously considered among the fans but that's why you may re-discover its hidden treasures.

PERSONAL RATING: 3/5

P. A. RATING: 4/5

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#137058) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 08, 2007

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After leaving a firm imprint on progressive music history with their exquisite "Stand Up" album, Jethro Tull spent most of the following year touring the states. There they opened for loud rock and roll bands like Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, Creedence Clearwater and even the proto-punk MC5 (imagine trying to play "Bouree" to THAT boisterous crowd!). This certainly affected Ian Anderson's mindset and the result was that "Benefit" has a much harder and slightly darker edge to it with many songs being geared to the rowdier audiences they had so recently faced. In the liner notes for the remastered CD Ian also relates that many of the tunes reflect his cynicism resulting from his disenchantment with the record industry as a whole.

One noticeable difference appears immediately as John Evan's piano is featured on the intro to "With You There to Help Me," a somewhat Gothic-sounding dirge that brightens considerably when they reach the uplifting chorus. There Anderson expresses his longing for a home life when he sings "I'm going back to the ones that I know/with whom I can be what I want to be/just one week for the feeling to go/and with you there to help me/then it probably will." The spirited, frenzied duel between Ian's flute and Martin Barre's slashing guitar lines at the end also belies a major 60s psychedelic influence that will appear often throughout the album. A military drum beat starts the riff-based "Nothing to Say," a wonderful song that contains one of Anderson's best melodies as he further narrates the trials of constant touring and record company demands and false promises. "Every morning/pressure forming/all around my eyes/ceilings crash/the walls collapse/broken by the lies," he laments. The tune features a surprisingly simple arrangement but it's one of their top numbers in my book. Continuing to evolve away from their basic flute/guitar roots, Evan's piano is again prominent in the next song, "Alive and Well and Living In," which plods a bit but doesn't hinder the overall momentum of the proceedings.

"Son" finds them delving into the heavier acid-rock genre to some extent and it gives Ian a chance to make a personal statement about his stifling upbringing as he sneers in his father's condescending voice "Oh, I feel sympathy/be grateful my son for what you get/expression and passion/ten days for watching the sunset" and "'permission to breathe, sir'/don't talk like that, I'm your old man." The cut has an odd little interlude halfway through and an abrupt ending as if someone had slammed a door. Things take an upswing on the following track, "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" that has a folksy acoustic guitar feel on the verse that gives way to an almost southern boogie-like atmosphere on the chorus. The juxtaposition of these different styles is refreshing and the surreal, poetic lyrics are striking. "Watery eyes of the last sighing seconds/blue reflections mute and dim/beckon tearful child of wonder/to repentance of the sin," Anderson intones. Next up is one of the album's true gems, the riff- themed rocker "To Cry You a Song" in which Ian describes a short break from touring with descriptive lines like "closing my dream inside its paper bag/thought I saw angels/but I could have been wrong/search in my case/can't find what they're looking for/waving me through/to cry you a song." Barre provides a cool cosmic guitar lead and when he plays through the organ's Leslie speaker cabinet he puts an indelible stamp on the tune.

The piano reappears to lead them through the rather nondescript "A Time for Everything" but it does offer a glimpse of what the following album will sound like. I always smile when "Inside" begins because I love its captivating, rolling feel and Anderson's sprightly flutisms. Here he cheerfully describes the ecstasy of being back at home with his woman as he warbles happily "I'm sitting on the corner feeling glad/got no money coming in but I can't be sad/that was the best cup of coffee I ever had/and I won't worry about a thing/because we've got it made." It's a great, joyful song. Their trippy side is on display once again in "Play in Time," a barnburner of a tune with a memorable flute/guitar motif and hair-raising studio tricks to boot. Here the corporate suits' constant demands for more product are related when he sings "Got to take in what I can/there is no time to do what must be done." The acoustic guitar is prominent in the scintillating, involved structure of "Sossity, You're a Woman" and when the flute and organ intertwine in the middle the tune achieves sublimity. Anderson's ode to moving on from an older lover is tender and sweet as he croons "all of the tears you're wasting/are for yourself and not for me/it's sad to know that you're aging/sadder still to admit I'm free." The song's fascinating and complex musical arrangement is superb.

The four bonus tracks are not just discarded out-takes but a real treat. Recorded weeks earlier, the first three of these cuts (that obviously didn't make it onto the official UK "Benefit" release) plainly display how the band was downplaying their earlier eclectic influences and going in a more arena-rock direction that would culminate in "Aqualung." The delightfully jazzy groove of "Singing All Day" would have fit perfectly on "Stand Up" and Ian's excellent flute at the end is top notch. "Witch's Promise" meanders a trifle until the Mellotron enters and the song really takes off, morphing into another jazzy-ish ditty. "Just Trying to Be" is presented without drums and features a chiming piano playing in the high registers while an acoustic guitar strums underneath. It's a very short but sweet number that tragically fell to the wayside for decades. And, last but not least, the radio- friendly single that is "Teacher" ends things on a strong note. It's an immensely popular rocker that thoroughly displays all the Jethro Tull charms as Evan's Hammond organ growls underneath and Anderson's breathy flute mannerisms fly over the steady rhythm section provided by bassist Glenn Cornick and drummer Clive Bunker while Martin's fat electric guitar gives the song its necessary muscle. And here Ian replies to the record executives' demands that he should do more hob-nobbing and glad- handing with "Hey man, what's the plan/what was that you said?/sun-tanned, drink in hand/lying there in bed/I try to socialize but I can't seem to find/what I was looking for/got something on my mind." Something more fulfilling than self-promotion, I'm sure.

While not as consistent as the masterpiece album that preceded it, "Benefit" is still an outstanding effort that no fan of prog should be without. This was to be the last record from their unadulterated embryonic stage for Cornick was soon to leave and Evan was to come on board as a full-fledged member, altering their sound forevermore. The cover art satirically portrays them as cutout figures being moved arbitrarily around by their masters like paper dolls but artistically they were coyly learning the ropes and discovering the loopholes that would allow them to succeed in retaining their own identity despite those manipulations. 4.4 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#148068) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007

Review by jammun
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars So, Benefit's a step up from Stand Up, but still an average album. There's simply not much here to distinguish it from dozens of other albums of the time. The best of it (With You There to Help Me, To Cry You a Song, Teacher, Sossity) is excellent, but the remainder is unremarkable and generic. The treats here are a couple of the tracks that originally appeared on the Living in the Past collection -- Singing All Day and Witch's Promise -- which are always welcome in remastered form. With the benefit of hindsight, it's clear Tull was still searching for an identity on Benefit and not really finding it. They'd take care of that soon enough. But for the most part there's very little here that is/was memorable, even back in the day. I recall buying this when it was released, listening to it incessantly for a week or two, then never really coming back to it save for the few songs mentioned. Having listened to it three or four times in the course of writing this review, I expect the same will happen now. Which, put in contemporary terms, means it's not going to be taking up a lot of space of my meager 30 GB IPod.

Docked 1/2 star for showing Ian on the cover in his one-legged 'stork' pose, which seems to have become the standard for any number of middle-aged, flute-playing street musicians.

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Send comments to jammun (BETA) | Report this review (#151036) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars From out of an ancient cave comes a cackle, a flute, and one of the best rock albums of 1970. While others were making huge strides in modern arrangements, elaborate productions and increasingly grand bombast, this group of battle-hardened travelers was rocking the halls with a more direct and now fully-realized style of heavy Celt-tinged art rock. The album is a successful transition between the breakthrough 'Stand Up' and landmark 'Aqualung', and early hints at the latter can be heard. Ian Anderson's self-harmony steadies 'With You There to Help Me', Martin Barre providing some drama on guitar, more cackling from a mad jester and a whooping flute. Things darken a bit for the brooding folk-metal of 'Nothing to Say', and John Evan's jazzy piano starts 'Alive and Well and Living In', the band's future starting to show with confident riffs and melodic acoustic treatments as the cut develops. More progression on 'For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me' and flat-out meanie 'To Cry You a Song', Tull's medieval metal at its early best. Anderson's unison voice tracks in 'A Time For Everything?', the flute parts now cutting rather than just part of the mix, and folk haunter 'Sossity;You're a Woman' closes a dynamite collection of songs from a band that would soon move well beyond these raw and real days. And though Jethro Tull would grow better with age, like a snapshot of a person in young adulthood this record shows a vibrant and enthusiastic group ready to do much more. Four good bonus tracks from the same period are included on the remaster.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#155985) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Jethro Tull had a bumpy start to their career. First they made the average blues rock album This Was, then they made the fantastic rock album Stand Up which is a personal Jethro Tull favorite of mine, and then this their third album Benefit which I find a little below average. I always wondered how Jethro Tull could make an album like benefit after making such a strong album as Stand Up, but I guess itīs hard to follow up a succes like that one.

The music on Benefit is much more emotional and moody than on the rocking Stand Up. It almost seems like Ian Anderson is crying when singing some of the songs. Itīs very suiting that one of the songs are called To Cry You a Song. Itīs unfortunately not the best Jethro Tull album and I think the songwriting lacks a bit sometimes. The only real highlight for me is Sossity: Youīre a Woman which I find beautiful. Clearly the best song here.

The musicians are good as always, but the flute which Ian Anderson used extensively on Stand Up is not as present here despite the picture on the front cover of Ian in his famous posture. I think I hear more piano bits on Benefit than on Stand Up.

The sound quality isnīt very good and it doesnīt really help the songs to come out.

I always though Benefit should have come after This Was and not after Stand Up as it is clearly a step down from the wonderful Stand Up and not a continuation of that style. Benefit is an ok album on itīs own premises but put up against Stand Up it donīt stand a chance. Iīll give it 3 small stars and maybe Iīm even being too nice here. Itīs one of the more forgettable Jethro Tull albums really. If youīre new to Jethro Tull donīt start here.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#164362) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars # 100!

For my one hundredth review I thought I would choose something special. I chose Jethro Tull's Benefit my absolute favorite Tull album. Released in 1969 this was a transition album moving Tull from the Blues band they were to the prog band they were about to become. That is very much in evidence in such tracks as With You There to Help Me, For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me and Sossity Your a Woman. There still is the blues band in songs such as To Cry You A Song and Nothing to Say. I like this variety of styles presented here. Classic Tull sounds are present in songs like Inside and Play in Time.

The production can be a bit sparse based on this is a 5 piece without the aid of keyboards. Still the flute fills in the cracks nicely throughout and Martin Barre sounds great on this one. The 2001 remaster adds a lot of clearness to the mix and there are things I can hear now that I wasn't able to on the original release.

The Remaster also includes 4 bonus tracks the best of which is Witches Promise are not really that strong additions to the album proper but not bad for collectors.

This is the first of Tull's golden age of the early 70's. I give this one a 5.

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Send comments to Garion81 (BETA) | Report this review (#171277) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is the weakest album until A Passion Play, in my opinion.

It's not terrible. I just find it thoroughly boring and not a very intriguing release from the band that usually knows how to pack intensity and excitement into albums like your grandma knows how to pack for a long vacation. Instead, here we find the band looking for melody without their wild side, which is not a bad aim, except the melodies are not strong enough to allow for such a gutless album. It's not all worthless, true, but I really can't bring myself to listen to it very often. Tull has been known for releasing a couple great albums and a great number of mediocre ones to fill the spaces in between. This falls into the mediocre category, though I think it might be a bit below par. On the whole, also, there seems to be a certain lack of much progression or progressive-minded music. The creativity seems to have vanished before recording started on this album.

On a song basis, there really are not any tracks that stand out to me. A Time for Everything? is a good song, but even so it is not a very exciting or memorable one. The melodies do work well, especially with the flute. However, there is an awful high pitched squeal for ten seconds or so in the middle that almost guarantees an instant headache. Play in Time and the simultaneously released single (available on the remaster) Teacher are both interesting tracks, with some good flute and popular vocal melodies. Aside from those three, however, none of the songs off of Benefit really do much in the way of standing out at all.

From my perspective, this album should be only for serious fans of the band. A casual listener would likely be pretty unimpressed.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#184357) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review I'vestoppedcountingbynow, Benefit, Jethro Tull, 1970

Even in the already quite unusual Tull catalogue, Benefit is an oddity. Unlike the following Aqualung and Thick As A Brick, it seems very uncertain as to where it wants to place the stress, which results in a slightly muddy recording full of good playing and good writing, but not a lot of focus. With You There To Help Me and To Cry You A Song are comfortably the most successful examples of this ambiguous, dark style, while the remaining ones took a lot longer to work their wat in. John Evan's additions on piano are interesting, but doesn't really come off in an obvious way yet. It's probably fair to say that this album is the start of a rather more progressive Tull, but still, I'd maybe say to leave it unless you're already a fan of more effective and quirkier efforts like A Passion Play and Minstrel In The Gallery (even if the rating seems to contradict me). Nonetheless, after a fair few (probably about ten or so, in my case) listens, the album suddenly sank in, striking back with all the little bits of emphasis, the quality arrangements and the subtler touches.

The superb With You There To Help Me kicks off the album in style, with a highly distorted flute, some acoustic strumming that seems to abandon the mould altogether and a sort of confusing block vocal that'll recur in the album. A great Martin Barre guitar tone supplements the rest of the band. The lyrics set an ambiguous mood, and Glenn Cornick's bass provides a touch of throbbing background the song can't do without. The Clive Bunker percussion is understated, effective and explosive. A very, very difficult song to describe, and somewhat intentionally so, at that, with a mood that somehow shifts between a desperate optimism and an assertive disillusion.

Nothing To Say is a bit more unusual, again featuring the everything-goes-on-at-once acoustics, guitar thrums, thick vocals and emphatic hammering piano lines. Cornick's swirling bass drives the song along from the bottom. Bunker's again perfectly good on the drums. The vocals/lyrics are weird as anything, but they somehow end up working for the piece, providing a greater contrast between the ironic 'I've got nothing to say' and the lushly arranged verses. A touch of piano-guitar-bass interplay works in the piece's favour. A surprisingly understated Barre solo off the piece.

Alive And Well And Living In The Present seems to move both further from and towards rock. A hard Barre part meets a rather folky rhythm and an Anderson-Evan dominated moment of real jazz. The lyrics are unusual, but good, and the combination of styles actually ends up working pretty well.

Son is built on a two-part conversation, perhaps extending the themes of For A Thousand Mothers, and including a rather unusual fade mid-song into another section. The piano-and-acoustic reply is particularly neatly done. The ending jumpy piano sort of disappears into midair. Unconventional, and I hated it at first, but now I'm getting fonder of it.

The absolutely lush For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me is amazing, with a piano, acoustic and careful bass reminiscent of the softer songs of Aqualung. The more rocking chorus is an oddity, but it works quite well once you listen out for what Barre is doing. The building acoustic is a treasure, and the little melodies make the song very moving. Again, an unusual mood, but it works. Finally, the vocals are extremely good here, which isn't something I'll say about much of Benefit.

To Cry You A Song is another of the pieces I loved at first listen. It featyres superb percussion, capable guitars, emphasis placed by delaying some of the anticipated guitar parts and a fluid bass which also seems to not quite relate to expectations. Some of the rocking solos are clear precursors to bits of Aqualung. I think an odd organ section takes place, but it could just be a manipulated guitar. Anyway, it thumps, rocks and wails away in an impressive fashion.

A Time For Everything features an obvious flute part, including a kettle-on-flute sound, as well as a good synthesis of guitars, percussion and piano, using a couple of low piano notes to contrast the fiery guitar. Barre takes a rather unusual guitar part in places, which I can't really even compare to anything adequately... perhaps the early VDGG guitar off Whatever Would Robert Have Said? is the best I can suggest. Anyway, I like it.

Inside is another of the folk-rhythm pieces, with a little bass part which adds a touch of colour, and an unusual percussion sound that sort of traps ideas. The flute again provides weird melodies in the background, and a couple of wordless vocal lines. The lyrics are good, and it's a much more successful merge of folk and rock than the later Songs From The Wood material in my opinion.

Play In Time is again weird, with a nice low-key-organ, some really odd guitar and a sort of bass-backed riff that is really simple, but quite effective. The bursts of instrumental grit are fantastic... the rest of the song at least has the appeal of being unusual and distinctive. Anyone who thinks Tull weren't really experimental... try this for size. A bit of characteristic yelping + flutes makes an appearance, and the piece as a whole is good.

The interesting Sossity; You're A Woman takes its place at the end of the album successfully. The unusual classically-inspired acoustic guitar and organ meets another block vocal and some surprisingly moving folk-based percussion and harmonies. The crystalline flute melodies provide an atmosphere, though I'm not 100% sure what it is. The lyrics are again excellent, and effective. The last note of the album, a standard classical flourish holds real potency.

Singing All Day is a rather fun and quirky little piece in 5/4 (if I'm not mistaken, though I could be... I'm not great on counting time signatures), with a neat vocal, some subdued flutes. A bit more of the Clapton-influenced guitar stylings we get on We Used To Know, and a couple of brief, darker and more unusual sections. The lyrics are naturally pretty good. Witch's Promise again draws a bit on the melodic folk side of Tull's writing, with either a mellotron or an actual string arrangement (more likely), along with a neat bass part and a load of fun little features.

Just Trying To Be is a brief, pretty and unusual acoustic piece, with a couple of really nice marimba additions. Teacher is a particularly good rocker, with a great bass part, harder guitar, complimented by a classy hammond tone and a couple of memorable melodies. So, really, a very good set of bonuses.

Anyway, a touch weird, but still commendable. My rating of the album seems to waver from listen to listen.... I'd certainly not call it a masterpiece, or even truly essential if you aren't a big fan of some later/earlier Tull, but it never strays below fun, and is an extremely interesting record. Very difficult to describe, and rather intentionally ambiguous at a lot of times, but still an interesting, experimental record, displaying a fusion of rock, folk, and even the occasional dab of jazz, classical and pop to good effect. Needs to be heard, and given a little time to grow, I think. Recommended for anyone who's very fond of some earlier or later Tull.

Rating: Four Stars, but it really is a pretty difficult one to rate. Favourite Track: Lots of good ones. I think Sossity; You're A Woman has grown on me the most, but then With You There To Help Me might still take it.

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Posted Saturday, November 22, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Being for the benefit of Mr. Anderson

I think it is fair to say that Benefit is a transitional album. As such, it shares some of the weaknesses of the two 60's albums, but it also points humbly toward what was to come after it (on Aqualung). Unlike many others, I personally think that Benefit is better than the band's first two albums overall, even if it lacks clear standout tracks. But I still find it somewhat immature in relation to what was soon to come.

The straightforward Blues Rock of This Was and Stand Up is toned down here in favour of more Folk and even a bit of Beatles-like Pop. The production is better than on the former two albums. Mr. Anderson's distinctive flutes and vocals are again clearly recognizable here, and they sound better than before, but it was still not at all evident what a great band they would soon become.

Like I said in previous reviews, Prog fans should begin with Aqualung and ignore the first three albums at least until they have acquired most or all of the band's post-Aqualung output, most of which is better than these early albums.

Good, but still not essential

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Posted Monday, July 06, 2009

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is JETHRO TULL's third album and the first where we can hear that classic TULL sound. The previous album "Stand Up" for me was a mixed bag, it was almost like Ian wanted to experiment with all these different musical influences he had in his life and it shows in the final result. I would call that a transition album. "Benefit" is darker and harder and I think it helped that John Evans came on board to play keyboards leaving Barre to concentrate on solos and riffs.

"With You There To Help Me" opens with flute that seems to echo as acoustic guitar then vocals come in. It kicks in before the chorus. Man the flute that follows is haunting. I really like the guitar 3 minutes in and later with the flute before 4 minutes. "Nothing To Say" just sounds so good with the guitar,bass and drums leading the way before the vocals arrive. That electric guitar sounds pretty amazing to me. Good song. "Alive And Well And Living In" opens with piano as lighter than usual vocals come in with flute and drums. Electric guitar makes some noise. Some good contrasts here.

"Son" has some attitude both with the vocals and the guitar. A lighter section before 1 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in after 2 minutes. I like the way it ends. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me" opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals, then piano joins in. It gets fuller after a minute as contrasts continue. "To Cry You A Song" builds until the vocals come in. Some nice guitar in this one. I like it ! "A Time For Everything ?" features flute, raw guitar and vocals. Piano comes and goes. "Inside" is such a great song. It's Ian's vocals and flute that make this so special. "Play In Time" is a cool track that's fairly aggressive. "Sossity, Your'e A Woman" opens with acoustic guitar and organ. Vocals join in this dark and melancholic song.

I like this album a lot. Oh and my version has "Teacher" as a bonus track, it was on the original UK version and was recorded a few weeks before the other songs on the album.

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Posted Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Benefit almost reaches the same heights as its predecessor. Less bluesy and opening up to more acoustic songs and folk influences, we get another inspired and passionate release, with excellent song writing and a top performance.

But for one or other reason it doesn't feel like a consistent album to me. It sounds like a compilation of songs they had lying around at that time. It lacks to coherence and unifying sound of Stand Up and there is a huge quality difference between the more accomplished longer tracks and the still adequate but less memorable short ones.

Anyway, Jethro Tull were enormously creative and inspired in their first years, especially if you also consider the amount of songs that were written in the same period but didn't make it onto one of the albums till the compilation Living in the Past was released.

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Posted Sunday, September 06, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars This album shows Jethro Tull almost fully evolved from the mostly bluesy folk rock band of their first album into the full fledge prog monster they became. In fact, the second half of the album is made up entirely of songs that would fit in very well with their later repertoire. To Cry You A Song and Teacher are both radio friendly and interesting enough for most prog fans.

None of the songs are bad. But some just seem to pass from memory an instant after listening to them. And what is up with Ian Anderson's obsession with that Jeffrey guy?

Easily three stars.

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Posted Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Given the sheer glut of Tull material out there, the band has a tendency to sound "samey" over time. However, even though their sound is not terribly different from Aqualung, there are some nice diamonds in the rough to be found on Benefit.

This was one of those random albums that I had on vinyl while growing up, so in full disclosure I admit that it does have a special place in my heart. Who knows why I had this and not Thick as a Brick, but I suppose sometimes it's OK to save the best for last, even if it happens unwittingly.

Highlights: With You There to Help Me, Nothing to Say, Teacher, Sossity. Although there are no bad moments on this album, I often get the feeling that I'm listening to some variations of a common theme. Not so with these select highlights, which each offer something interesting and rewarding. The opener is a real keeper, with a nice chanting verse punctuated by flute runs, leading to a good rocking chorus melody. Nothing to Say is not complex, but an effective bluesy rocker with plenty of guitar harmonies. Teacher is a very catchy "single" and even--rightfully so--gets decent airtime on the radio. Sossity works great as the album closer, and is a nice somber number. The organ and acoustic guitar are quite haunting, and the addition of flute and tambourine later is really done to nice effect.

Overall, a good number of very solid songs, yet the truly progressive aspects would need to percolate just a bit longer. I do often come back to this album, but in retrospect the band did need to evolve, because even a quality effort like Benefit can come to sound a bit bland in places.

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Posted Saturday, June 05, 2010

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A fine collection of highpoints makes Benefit a worthy Tull release, but not without a few snags; when the band's blend of folk/blues/rock works-- it does so very well, though there are a few misfires in here as well.

The opener, "With You There to Help Me" is an amazing showcase of the classic Jethro Tull sound. A stellar arrangement shows off the group's energy and instrumental skills, with Anderson's dynamic flute effects and Barre's guitar jaming sounding excellent. In fact, Benefit works best when things are cranked up, as in the playful and rockin' "To Cry You a Song", and the killer guitar work on "Play in Time". These songs feature the band's tremendous style uniqueness very well.

Unfortunetly, the follow-up "Nothing to Say" is pretty much self-explanatory. This tune (as well as "Son", and "Time for Everyting") come across as somewhat bland and feel very "stand- alone", in that they don't seem to fit in to any context and tend to be over before ideas have fully developed. While not bad, they come and go with a distinct malaise when compared to the more outstanding tracks.

The good stuff in Benfit is very good, and even the filler is enjoyable. Even so, I didn't make quite as a connection with me as some of the band's other albums; I attribute it to Anderson's vocals and a sort of stand-offish feel to some of the songs. Very near the four star mark, but I was left wanting more.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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Posted Sunday, September 05, 2010

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Less acoustic and less bluesy than the two previous albums, Jethro Tullīs third release shows the band in great form and, finally, reaching a pont where they were able to find their very own sound that we all know and loved. For years I kind of avoided this album because I read in an interview that Ian Anderson didnīt like the record. I really donīt know why he made this statement since I regard nowadays Benefit as one of their best. Ok, this is no Aqualung, Thick As A Brick or even A Passion Play. However, this is a great leap forward if you compare it to both Stand Up (good) and This Was (average).

The sound is definitly more rockier, with Martin Barre finally coming on its own and showing how good he is and how important he was into the making of the jethro Tull sound. This is the fisrt time too that keyboards player John Evans make an appearance on a JT CD, although here he was just a guest. Although the album does not have any epic like Aqualung, nor any really outstanding stuff in the same league as some of the classics they would eventually produce, itīs a great collection of Andersonīs songs and there is no weak track on the whole record, at least as far as Iīm concerned. Some parts hint grater things to come (like Nothing To Say). Anderson was really gaining momentum here and his skills as songwriter were maturing fast. The band also was tighter than ever.

Iīve always liked To Cry You A Song, one of the few cuts in this album Iīve known for years, with its terrific riffing and simple, but clever, lyrics.But I really ewnjoyed this CD as a whole. I donīt have the remastered version with the additional bonus tracks, so I canīt comment them. But even my old Chrysalis version has an excellent sound.

Rating: something between 3,5 and 4 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Jethro Tull spent their first album ensnared in a conflict between Ian Anderson and original guitarist Mick Abrahams over the musical direction of the band, and then with Abrahams leaving and Martin Barre installed firmly in place spent their second album reacting against the Abrahams-inspired hard rock edge of their debut. Benefit tones down the folk and cranks the rock back up, as the band continue their meanderings and begin to hit on a new sense of purpose. The direction which would flower fully on Aqualung begins to become apparent here, but only in sketch-like form; the band's more confident, but at the price of playing it safe a little rather than cutting loose in terms of experimentation and growing their sound. Still, it's another perfectly nice slice of the early Tull sound.

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Posted Monday, June 06, 2011

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Few albums better encapsulate the sound of 1970 better than Benefit. Plenty of bands were embracing a folkish sound while others were veering towards harder edged rock at this time, and Jethro Tull at this point somehow managed to toe the line between both with this offering. It's darker and has more guitar oomph than previous releases, yet still retains plenty of folk melodies while moving away from their bluesier roots. And yes, some of these songs are just damn cool.

"With You There To Help Me" is a great opener that sets the mood; it's haunting at first and more on the acoustic side of things until that electric guitar kicks in to tell us the band means business. The crescendos utilizing the flute before quick angry guitar wails are memorable elements to this song as well. Definitely one of my favorites by the band in general.

There are plenty of other good tracks that vary between folk and rock such as the killer riffing in "To Cry You A Song" and "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" with its 'sing-along with a beer stein' chorus after the more folky verses. I can't give it the masterpiece status because I have to admit that a couple of the tunes don't really work for me, basically "Son" which has an awkward shift that doesn't work and "A Time For Everything" which is ok but has this terrible feedback moment that screws things up.

As a whole though, despite Benefit not getting quite the same recognition as the two albums sandwiching it, I actually prefer it to either of them. Stand Up and Aqualung both have some of their best songs, but I find Benefit a more consistent record, and probably my go-to record when I'm in the mood for some classic era Jethro Tull. Thick As A Brick is their best, but I have to be in the right setting for that listening experience, whereas this puppy can be played at any time.

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Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars The beginning of greatness...

Ian Anderson was able to stretch his versatile creativity on "Benefit" and the production quality improved dramatically. He has an uproarious time on flute and acoustic guitar. Martin Barre is dynamic on lead guitar churning out one brilliant riff after another. Clive Bunker on percussion along with Glenn Cornick on bass provide the driving rhythm. This is perhaps the finest album with this line up. The guest musician John Evans provides a wonderful piano accompaniment. Anderson is excellent on flute and his vocals are full of theatricality and vigour.

Many of the tracks became part of Tull folklore and appeared frequently on concert set lists. Highlights include 'With You There to Help Me' with the flute and baritone vocals along with Barre's wizardry on guitar. 'To Cry You a Song' became a Tull classic over the years with its powerful guitar and strong melodies, it drips with folk nuances and blues guitar. The heavy guitar work of Barre is a key element and he really gives it a work out on this master work. 'Teacher' is a beautiful song with frenetic flute playing and soulful vocals. Once again the track became a favourite and can be found on most compilations.

"Benefit" is definitely the beginning of greatness for Tull when the magic came together and it paved the way for the classic masterpieces to come.

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Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 for sure

Benefit saw the light in april 1970 and is the third album of this famous band named Jethro Tull. While I prefer the previous effort Stand up, this is almost constructed on same attitude and characteristics as before, but aswell is more rockier the Stand up in places. This is a good JT album, no doubt , but to my ears is less convinceing then anything they release after untill 1982 and less exciting then Stand up. Some excellent pieces like With You There To Help Me and For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me, the rest are also good but not fantastic. The rhytmic section is solid as always on every JT album, but the arrangements suffers little bit of consistency IMO. Aswell this is the first album where appers as guest John Even, keybordist and organist, he will become full time member untill 1980. His contribution to the JT sound is importand, with each album JT sounded more progressive and less bluesy like on first three albums. This hard folk prog album has enough pleasent moments to say that is a fairly good JT album, but to me is not among their excellent albums. 3 stars rounded to 3.5 in places.

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Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Maybe not an abrupt turn of styles, but to follow STAND UP with the gut check of BENEFIT will feel a little weird to those following Jethro Tull in some chronological order. BENEFIT is very much a hard rock album nearing proto-metal many times, probably a byproduct of Martin Barre getting comfortable as the de facto electric guitarist of the band. Speaking of comfortable, the lineup of the band technically didn't change between STAND UP and BENEFIT; while long time organist John Evan first showed up here, I believe Evan's role here was mostly on a session basis.

You could call this a precursor to AQUALUNG in many ways as it has those album's characteristics without an overlapping narrative. To be honest, I get a lot more enjoyment from BENEFIT than AQUALUNG, maybe because the songs here are more unpolished of gems even if many Tull fans hold this album in high regard.

Other than bits and pieces scattered throughout the album, the acoustic bits are kept to slightly more than marginal. Granted ''Sossity'' and ''Michael Collins'' are very acoustic based, but the meat of the matter is in the harder rocking tracks and how it sounds like if Tony Iommi did rub off on Ian Anderson's composing style (Iommi was a brief member of the band in earlier days). ''Son'' is just face-tearing with a stomping riff, as is ''Inside''. It's also how well the riffs segue from one to the next that warrant a sense of stability in songs. ''Inside'' plays with the notion very well and can keep you guessing the whole song.

Other strong highlights come in many forms. We have rock songs beefed up with Anderson's signature flute playing that give a sense of unorthodoxy (''Alive and Well and Living In'', ''Play in Time''), songs with excellent solo opportunities (''Nothing to Say'', ''To Cry You a Song''), and the overall highlight in ''With You There to Help Me'', a song that keeps the listener on the edge of their seat with well-executed and quick dynamic shifts.

BENEFIT ''benefits'' (BOO!) from not having as much wear on it as some of its neighbouring albums. If you're a prog rock fan looking for more bite, BENEFIT is waiting.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#944119) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 15, 2013

Review by GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Jethro Tull, eh? The band that rose from blues origins and went through rapid change and progression, heading straight into legend with a string of mostly genial albums in the 70's? Yes, that's the one. Jethro Tull's debut was anything but classic blues, displaying a wide variety of influences and progression. What they created on This was was in fact an outstanding display of vision. A great album, really. Then the progression went even further on Stand up, in order to reach a sort of pre-progressive/proto-progressive zenith on Benefit.

For a long time I thought Benefit was the best of the lot, even surpassing Aqualung. This was before I discovered A passion play and Thick as a brick. Both of those surpassing Aqualung in quality. My stab at being controversial ends there. I think Aqualung comes in as number three in the ranking of Tull's albums. Anyway, I am rambling as usual. I thought Benefit was the greatest, yes. That's it. My mind has changed since then. Benefit is a marvellous album, really it is. It still is and probably always will. At least I hope so.

When i listen to it nowadays i think I am, in part, struck by nostalgia but foremost I find that this album displays a lot of what Tull stands for. Their standpoint is one of blues, hard rock, folk and classical elements, all poured into that great musical blender and served as a cocktail of unspeakable originality. However, I think that Benefit for the most part lingers back in the progressive blues territory, albeit with several feet in their progressive future. The songs are folky, hard rocking at times and we are served a slice or two of classical cake. That is all very well and the result is very nice. I do think, however, that the album is slightly less genial than I once perceived. If I was to suggest an album to start off with I would, most likely, recommend some later album. Aqualung, I guess.

As a Tull-head, and having been one for over 20 years, I find a lot to love on Benefit and I still think it is one of my favorite albums. Not because I think it is the best work they made, simply because it is a wonderfully charming album, conquering musical territory back in the day. If you are into Tull, this is a great album. If you are about to discover them, go for Aqualung or Thick as a brick.

Conclusion: 3 stars, given with love and affection.

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Posted Friday, April 04, 2014

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is one of the most interesting JT album for me. The genre involved is Prog Folk rock: they have such a typical guitar and keyboards sound which very few other bands can imitate. The Ian Anderson's lead vocals are really outstanding. The songs are catchy and rather loaded. Listen to the drums an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1013494) | Posted by bufftitanium | Thursday, August 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Benefit was the hardest Jethro Tull album for me. Hardest to find, and hardest to get into the music. I have really never felt difficulty to understand Jethro Tull albums. But I haven't got anything from this album until "To Cry You A Song". After this amazing song, the remaining tracks sou ... (read more)

Report this review (#987219) | Posted by VOTOMS | Thursday, June 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I really did not enjoy this album, way back when, when I first got hold of it. Today I still don't like the album opener "With you there to help me" at all - it rings very dischordantly on my eardrums and I don't like the way the flute is used through the track. "Nothing to Say" is mundane for ... (read more)

Report this review (#942000) | Posted by sukmytoe | Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Third JETHRO TULL album and their definitive affirmation as great progressive band ! While in " Stand Up" the Anderson's and company music still clearly influenced to jazz and the electric blues scenery and show a more heavy approach in their sound due to the introduction of Martin Barr''s ... (read more)

Report this review (#915087) | Posted by maryes | Sunday, February 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jethro Tull's first masterpiece and my personal favourite from them, 'Benefit' is a brilliantly written, performed and produced record. There isn't a single song here which stands out, meaning that this album alone could be a 'best of' compilation (similar to their next two records).Great song ... (read more)

Report this review (#507169) | Posted by Ludjak | Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Benefit ? 1970 (3.6/5) 11 ? Best Song: With You There to Help Me As we grow ever closer to the progressive mentality of the early 1970's, we must first take into consideration the mindset which lead to these types of "innovations" ? namely the seriousness and lack of childish play that might? ... (read more)

Report this review (#441642) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 02, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is, for me, the best of Jethro Tull, or more accurately, Ian Anderson plus sidemen. Although the original band ended with This Was, that recording wasn't a good enough representation of an excellent band, so Benefit is, to my mind, a dash of the original Jethro laced with the future Ander ... (read more)

Report this review (#428157) | Posted by giselle | Tuesday, April 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #5 Jethro Tull's 1970 album Benefit. Benefit was the 3rd album by Tull that I had heard. It was given to me as a present for my 16th birthday. At first it didn't grab me but I will admit after the 5th or 6th play I was hooked. It is now up there in my top 4 Tull albums of all time and ... (read more)

Report this review (#393026) | Posted by BarryGlibb | Thursday, February 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I like Jethro Anderson as well as Jethro Tull. Jethro Anderson was the band who replaced Tull after the first album. Ian Anderson always has a vision, and it's interesting to follow his mad pied piper routine wherever he goes. But Tull it isn't. Having said that, I like this album, Ian almost brea ... (read more)

Report this review (#362244) | Posted by JeanFrame | Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This was the follow up to the album "Stand Up" and it sounds quite different. It's rockier and has more bluesy moments. A lot of proggers seem to love Benefit but I must say that even though I'm a huge JT fan, it's one of my least favourite of thier albums. There's a new bit of organ and piano h ... (read more)

Report this review (#335309) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This third Tull album belongs to their early bluesy period along with This Was and Stand Up. This seems a more polished record than previous ones, with Martin Barre playing really crunchy licks and riffs all around, especially on With You There To Help Me, Nothing To Say (I love this one!) and To ... (read more)

Report this review (#291581) | Posted by migue091 | Friday, July 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was expecting the worst for this album, but much to my surprise it's hardly any worse than Stand Up. Just goes to show you can't trust critics. This is definitely a darker, more-depressed Tull, but it isn't any further in the throes of despair than a song like "We Used To Know". That one was ... (read more)

Report this review (#291364) | Posted by KyleSchmidlin | Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Blues were my favourite colour, until I looked around and found another song that I felt like singing...' I found it hard to decide whether to give this 4 or 5 stars. When I first listened to it about a year ago, I found it to be one of the poorer jethro Tull records as I had high expectati ... (read more)

Report this review (#290634) | Posted by Tull Freak 94 | Saturday, July 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Jethro Tull is taking shape on Benefit. I will be brief.... This may be their first album with the now trademark Jethro Tull sound. Which means a mix of folk rock, symphonic prog and blues. There is not enough symphonic prog here to bother the ELP/Genesis fanatics, including myself, but th ... (read more)

Report this review (#265190) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Benefit - Jethro Tull (3.21 stars) Original Release: 04/20/1970 Songs: With You There to Help Me (3 stars) This song has an ominous tone which peaks in an interesting pair of instrumental and vocal chorus'. I'm not able to discern the meaning of the lyrics. The song has good energy but ... (read more)

Report this review (#261675) | Posted by sealchan | Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With you there to help me it probably will. Jethro Tull is a band that has really grown into me these recent days, and Benefit has been a big contributor in the procedure. This album is like Genesis Nursery Cryme, or Yes Fragile. You really can't decide is it a total masterpiece or just under t ... (read more)

Report this review (#246970) | Posted by paragraph7 | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A folk treat for rainy evenings. By now,Jethro Tull had developed their sound into a subtle and melodic folk workout.The band would move on and incorporate a wider range of influences in the following album as we all know it(and therefore evolve into a proper progressive rock band),but in Ben ... (read more)

Report this review (#228384) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Firstly, let me mention that my track listing is slight different than that listed above. I believe the above list is from the original US vinyl, because the Remastered CD follows the original UK release. Anyway, the quality of music found on Benefit is extremely good at times, 'With You There t ... (read more)

Report this review (#207292) | Posted by mr.cub | Sunday, March 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I consider this album to be the first of the Jethro Tull truly-greats. I enjoy this even more than 'Aqualung'. But before going on, I have to just mention the difficulty I have concerning the five- star rating system: I think Jethro Tull have released several five star albums, quite a number o ... (read more)

Report this review (#168590) | Posted by npjnpj | Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm feeling guilty because of my mean rating: four stars and a half. Well, I love this album. Not as much as Stand up, Aqualung or TAAB, but this was my first experience with Tull, and how do you want me to overlook it? Impossible. I love it. But, unfortunately, it was sandwiched by two masterpiec ... (read more)

Report this review (#132455) | Posted by sircosick | Thursday, August 09, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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