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Jethro Tull

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Jethro Tull Original Masters  album cover
3.18 | 87 ratings | 15 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Living in the Past (3:18)
2. Aqualung (6:34)
3. Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die (5:39)
4. Locomotive Breath (4:23)
5. Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day (3:27)
6. Bungle in the Jungle (3:36)
7. Sweet Dream (4:01)
8. Songs from the Wood (4:52)
9. Witches Promise (3:48)
10. Thick as a Brick (3:00)
11. Minstrel in the Gallery (7:48)
12. Life's a Long Song (3:19)

Total Time 53:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / flute, balalaika, mandolin, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Martin Barre / electric guitar
- Clive Bunker / drums, glockenspiel, percussion (1,2,4,7,9)
- Glenn Cornick / bass, Hammond organ (1,7,9)
- John Evans / celesta, piano (2,4-6,8-12)
- John Glascock / bass, vocals (3,8)
- Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond / bass, backing vocals (2,4-6,10-12)
- Barriemore Barlow / drums (3,5-6,8,10-12)
- David Palmer / orchestral arrangement & conducting (7-8)

- David Palmer / orchestration & conducting
- Maddy Prior / backing vocals (3)
- members of the New York Symphony Orchestra (1)

Releases information

CD-Chrisalis-F2 21515-Canada-1985

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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JETHRO TULL Original Masters ratings distribution

(87 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

JETHRO TULL Original Masters reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
4 stars After the revolution, the little rats slipped from their dark shelters of debris and sniffed around the wasteland for something to eat. What they found were mostly moldy back catalogs that, with a little effort, could be scraped clean and made consumable in a new guise. Perhaps a little history in their defense, however. Compact discs were introduced in 1983 and, like most new technology, it was the technophiles among the old guard who first raised its standard. Labels were slow to release past works on CD, following Mobile Fidelity's cautious path by choosing established classics (e.g., "Aqualung"). So in 1985, there was a vacuum just waiting for the right rat to fill it: TULL fans (who were older and now presumably wealthier) lusting to hear the old classics on compact disc. Bear in mind that "compact disc" was originally synonymous with "expanded dynamic range and superior sound" much as DVDs were originally assumed to all be of higher quality than VHS (they weren't).

"Original Masters" does give the old gems a good spit and shine, but subsequent CDs would be digitally remastered, then remastered using the original source tapes, then remastered from the original source tapes using 24-bit and HDCD technology, and heaven knows what the rats will come up with next. All by way of saying that what looked appetizing in 1985 may not be a match for 2001's "The Very Best of JETHRO TULL". Among the first-generation CDs, however, stick with the Original. Moreso than most TULL compilations, the selections are in synchronicity with my own personal tastes: "Skating Away...", "Thick As A Brick" (the opening edit #1), "Songs From The Wood", "Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll..". Just the sort of thing I would have put on a tape cassette years ago (before I knew I was breaking some law devised in the recreational basement of a freemason). The early selections run a little thick, yet "Witches Promise" and "Life's A Long Song" are welcome additions. Of note, the version of "Aqualung" sounds very different to these ears (I thought I read somewhere about a UK mix, but don't quote me on that).

Review by Carl floyd fan
4 stars This is a fairly good place to start. Granted "Thick as a Brick" is shortened very much, its still a good version. This was my first Tull cd and from there I went to Aqualung and Thick as a Brick. This does a fairly good job (hence the 4 stars) of compiling the classic 70s Tull songs. I usually don't say this about greatest hits and masters cds, but this is good stuff and worth the $$ (as long as you get it used or find it on ebay).
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Not a whole brick, just part of one

A reasonable collection of Jethro Tull's works released between 1969 and "Songs from the wood" in 1977. The selections are predictable, with successful singles such as "Living in the past" and "Witches promise" naturally included.

I can appreciate the difficulty of including extracts from albums such as "Thick as a brick", which is effectively one 40+ minute track. Here though, it plays from the start, then fades after its allotted time has passed, regardless of the fact that Anderson is in mid performance.

With the tracks being mainly singles, and more accessible album tracks, there little of Tull's instrumental prowess. It is good to hear "Sweet dream" again though, I had forgotten how orchestrated it was!

Worthwhile as a gentle introduction to the music of this fine, long lasting band.

Review by NetsNJFan
4 stars An excellent bargain compilation for those new to the magic that is 'Jethro Tull'. This disc captures the majority of their best known tracks from 1969-1977, and gives a fair overview of Jethro Tull's sound, a masterful blend of English folk sound and progressive- hard rock. While being a best of compilation, of course this disc leans towards the commercial rather than the progressive, but it does serve as a good introduction to the band, or a good best-of for the casual fan to turn to. It features an alternate version of "Aqualung", and the delightful non album B-side "Life is a Long Song" to close things off. - 4 Stars.
Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another Compilation, another The Best of.

It`s curious that this is my first Jethro Tull review, but more curious that im starting this trip reviewing a compilation and not an studio or live album, it could be because a compilation is easier to review maybe, and easier to listen to as well. This album contains some of the best Tull moments in the 70`s, giving us an example of their music, i mean, this could be a nice album for Tull newcomers who are looking how to get on their music and waiting for know if they will like it or not, of course that long songs that we love (Thick as a Brick or A Passion Play) hardly we will find them on compilation, this case is not a real "The Best of", it is called Original Masters.

Im not a folk expert, not even a Tull expert, but what i know is that this album was the album which got me into them, i remember a friend of mine gave me this when i didn`t know almost anything, only Aqualung and Bouree maybe, so i accepted the album gratefully with my friend, put it into my CD player and immediately realized of the kind of music that J-Tull share to us, that`s a very important point for me,i think as a listerer i always want to discover some new band, something new to my ears and something that inspire me to follow my musical tastes and everything of a listener could ask for, i have never adopted Tull as one of my favorite bands, when i listen to them (to the albums that i like, of course) i love it and i am in the boat with them, but i have never pressumed that i love them or anything.

What we can appreciate in this album is what J Tull have to show us, folk music, great flute in every song, nice acoustic and electric guitar, always nice bass lines all together with arrangements which make the song easier to understand and listen, be careful, im not saying that they dont have any complexity or challenging songs , not at all, but in this kind of compilations the only what we will find are songs with the charge of introduce us the music and the band, nothing more, that i enjoy it?, of course i do but for strict people this album might be boring and repetitive.

"Aqualung", "Locomotive Breath", "Witches Promise" and "Minstrel in the Gallery" are my favorite tracks here, classic Tull songs united in one album, good one, but never a masterpiece or something, juts recommendable to newcomers and collectors, 3 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars When I constructed my CD catalogue, this was the first effort of the Tull that I purchased. I knew them since "Aqualung" in 1971 but the band came out of my sight after 1976.

Some early work on this compilation has been already released on their previous compil "Living In The Past" like "Sweet Dreams", "Witch's Promise". There is a reduced version for "Thick Is A Brick" (three minutes ! Is this a joke) ? They did it already on previous compilations (together with the same treatment for "A Passion Play"). Quite useless.

"Skating" and "Buggle" from War Child are good choices from this album.

One of the Tull best song of course lies here as well : "Aqualung". Is there any way to avoid this track on a Tull compilation ? I guess not since it is one of their best ever (IMO); so I'm glad we have it here. I liked the whole of the album "Minstrel" : the title track being one of the best from this album, I can only be pleased. "Locomotive" is also another highlight of their carreer and it would be impossible to ignore it in a compilation album.

A few weaknesses in the track list (" Life Is a Long Song doesn't fit in a Best Of effort, really).

There are reasons to blame the Tull for this one. As far as I know, a CD can get up to eighty minutes of music. So, why being so stingy ? Is it the Scottish side of Ian ? There were lots of room available for "With You There to Help Me", "Cross-Eyed Mary", Cold Wind to Valhalla" and "Bouree".

I guess that if you want to make a present to someone not really aware of the Tull it might be a good choice. Three stars and not a bad way to discover the band if you are new to them. But who on this site is new to the Tull ?

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A nice little compilation, but nothing special. This one could be good starter for newbie, but not necessarily - because there are better JETHRO TULL starting points around, and, to be very honest, any Tull's album could be a good starting point too.

Anyway, this is a budget compilation, and within its 50 and some minutes you can hear some essential Tull - of course "Aqualung" and "Locomotive Breath", some less known (but far from obscure) numbers, and edit #1 from "Thick As A Brick". This one is interesting if you are unfamiliar with "Thick As A Brick" album, because after discovering this acoustic intro, the whole album will be a very pleasant surprise. At least that happened in my case. The song is going into fade out precisely before electric guitar strikes and announces edit #2. However, the experience must be much less impressive if happened vice versa, I guess.

I was never really fond of "Bungle In The Jungle" and "Too Old To Rock And Roll, Too Young To Die", really, and I don't know why almost every Tull compilation must contain them. However, in conclusion the choice of the songs is not bad, really. Especially not for someone who is just entering the world of Jethro Tull.

CD sleeve is not very informative; foreground is represented by not very good illustration of the Tramp, and background contains one Ian's photo with very grumpy face. Perhaps he was annoyed with the selection of the songs?

Review by Chicapah
2 stars Please know up front that I admire this band and in no way intend to disparage them. In general progressive rock groups don't make for very good "best of" compilations. My basic problem with the concept is that I don't want a youngster buying "Genesis - The Hits" or "The very best of Emerson, Lake and Palmer" and judging their whole careers by a dozen shorter tunes culled from their impressive catalogue. I'm also enough of a realist to know that such assemblages are inevitable and a necessary evil of the music biz. In the case of Jethro Tull, two collections and a live concert had already been released years earlier but in 1985 CDs were booming and new disc player owners wanted to take advantage of this "cutting edge" technology so the suits at Chrysalis decided that a remastered rehash of recognizable songs would sell like hotcakes in the audiophile world. Thus we have "Original Masters" to peruse.

I found this CD in my wife's jumbled mass of music one day recently and gave it a spin. First of all I must warn you that there's an overriding annoyance of too much emphasis on the higher register on everything that may well be an unforeseen side effect of that aforementioned "new" technology that gave birth to this set. Secondly, it seems to me that there were a lot of songs along the lines of, say, "Beggar's Farm" that were in much more need of remastering at that juncture than most of these cuts but then I don't think the average Joe on the street would have eagerly plopped down his hard-earned cash for an eclectic mix of early and obscure Jethro Tull so I can savvy the marketing logic.

"Living in the Past" is a good choice for an opening tune. The prog imp in me has a true affection for songs in 5/4 that manage to become hits because I like to imagine the typical Barbie & Ken trying to dance to it. Plus Ian Anderson's flute performance is superb. With "Aqualung" the brightness of the treble range is almost painful and is there really that much reverb on the original? Perhaps I just didn't notice before. "Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll, Too Young to Die," while not very lofty on my JT list to begin with, suffers from a lack of depth, feel and emotion here and it comes off very sterile. I will always savor the piano intro to "Locomotive Breath" but when the heavy guitar bursts in I'm reminded of what I don't like about the tune.

"Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day" comes through this process relatively unscathed, however, and the delightful, almost Cajun meld of acoustic guitar, flute and accordion makes this track one of the best of the bunch. The infamous "Bungle in the Jungle" is included, of course, although I personally think this well-intentioned but too-commercial satire of modern society is a bit of a blight on their reputation. Again, the high-end borders on excruciating (and consider that my hearing is not the best in the world). "Sweet Dream" is an interesting number reminiscent of their early sound but I'm one who steadfastly thinks that other cuts like "Bouree" were more deserving of inclusion from that era.

"Songs from the Wood" with its Robin Hood & his merry male chorale beginning is another highlight along the way. The clever blend of old and modern instrumentation makes this song a treat to hear. The Mellotron on "Witches Promise" gives a broader dimension to the light atmosphere of this rarely-heard tune but it pales in comparison to the too-brief sample of "Thick as a Brick" that follows it, demonstrating the almost-criminal injustice of editing for the impulse buyer. Akin to tasting only a single bite of a delicious five-course feast, I can only hope that this three-minute snippet of greatness will spur a hunger in the intrigued neophyte to procure the masterpiece in its entirety whereby he/she will joyfully discover the awesome art this band was capable of producing.

"Minstrel in the Gallery" moves along promisingly until the loud guitar section takes over and ruins the mood for me. The tinny audio doesn't help, either, but this gallant yet ultimately disjointed track continues to just not work for me no matter how many times I give it a listen. The innocuous "Life's a Long Song" ends things on a decent note.

I can't in good faith recommend this to anyone, but several excellent numbers keep it from being a travesty. There are vastly better "greatest hits" albums from Jethro Tull to be had so that pretty much disqualifies the limited "Original Masters" from honest consideration in that category. If you are new to JT's music then please start with the exemplary "Thick as a Brick" album because there's a damn good reason it continues to hover at the pinnacle of the PA list. The song selection on this CD doesn't represent these guys very well and, while the audio might have sounded spectacular in 1985, it hasn't aged gracefully at all. 2.1 stars.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A pretty decent compilation release from Jethro Tull. Odd cover mind you but the selection of songs was refreshing and a good balance on show of what the band offered up to 1985. It was quite a popular release at the time and if you look back on the history of the band, they had already past their peak. I am surpised there is no " Heavy Horses" songs on here or even the "Broadsword.." release, still a few of the songs like " Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die", " Songs From The Wood" and " Bungle In the Jungle" make fine listening. A good introduction to their music but the diehard fans would always opt for the original " Thick As A Brick" anyday.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This was my introduction to Tull. Not long after I got this I borrowed somebody's copy of TAAB. This compilation did not prepare me for that album. I don't know how to compare this with other compilations; others have songs not here and vice versa. In retrospect, it does contain four of my favourite Tull tunes: the title tracks of Aqualung and Minstrel In The Gallery, as well as the singles "Living In The Past" and "Sweet Dream".

I never liked every song here, still don't. The 3-minute version of "Thick As A Brick" is pointless. Before I got this, I heard a 10-minute edit of the TAAB album on the radio. I was hoping it would be here. I still don't know who did that edited version or where it came from. This still has some of Tull's better and more popular songs like "Locomotive Breath" and "Bungle In The Jungle". It would have been great if "Teacher" and "Cross-Eyed Mary" were included; I never got to hear either song till much later.

Overall a nice introduction but nothing special. At least it showed me some of the folkier side of Jethro Tull which I was never a big fan of. I liked them when they rocked, mostly. Some of the other compilations might be better, but this was the only one I could find at the time. 2 stars.

Review by VianaProghead
2 stars Review Nš 368

'Original Masters' is a compilation of Jethro Tull and was released in 1985. This is a compilation album that comprises tracks from several albums of Jethro Tull, between 1969 till 1977. So, here we have two tracks from 'Aqualung', two tracks from 'War Child', one track from 'Minstrel In The Gallery', one track from 'Too Old To Rock'n'Roll: Too Young To Die!' and one track from 'Songs From The Wood'. Besides that, we have also three tracks that were never released on any of their studio albums before. We have also an extract of the suite 'Thick As A Brick' from 'Thick As A Brick'.

'Original Masters' has twelve tracks. The first track 'Living In The Past' is from 'Living In The Past'. It was released as a single in 1969. It's one of the highlights of Jethro Tull's career and it was a bit revolutionary at the time, especially for a single, one of the best prog rock singles ever. The second track 'Aqualung' is from 'Aqualung'. It's one of the most complex songs to be found here. This is one of the best Jethro Tull's songs. It's a very well known song, very heavy and dark with many acoustic elements. It's a great track that is almost played out as a mini suite with several different parts. It's a timeless composition where changes in time and signature are great. Everything functions perfectly well here. The third track 'Too Old To Rock'N'Roll: Too Young To Die' is from 'Too Old To Rock'N'Roll: Too Young To Die!'. It's the best and most known song on that album. It's really a stunning and memorable song. It deserves special mention the wonderful David Palmer's arrangements, soft and solid, which brings to the song certain elegance. The fourth track 'Locomotive Breath' is from 'Aqualung'. It has dark guitar chords, slow soft acoustic parts alternated with heavy fast rock and great rhythms. It's a Jethro Tull's legendary track with great piano, guitar and excellent flute work. The fifth track 'Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day' is from 'War Child'. It's a great acoustic song with nice orchestral arrangements, which gives to it a very interesting and pleasant touch. It's one of the favourite songs of the band, usually performed live on their live venues. The sixth track 'Bungle In The Jungle' is from 'War Child'. This is a melodious song well orchestrated composed in a pop commercial style. It's very simple, very humorous and nothing pretentious, a typical hit song made to sell an album. The seventh track 'Sweet Dream' was never released on any of their studio albums. It was originally released as a single. It was originally recorded during the sessions of their second album 'Stand Up'. It later appeared on the 1972 compilation album 'Living In The Past'. 'Sweet Dream' is a heavy and somewhat experimental tune, a dizzying blend of a hard rock track, a bit pompous on the brass part, but I like it quite a lot. The eighth track 'Songs From The Wood' is from 'Songs From The Wood'. This is a great song to open 'Songs From The Wood'. It's the song that introduces us to the calm and pastoral atmosphere of the countryside. It's the song that explains everything that will be brought to us all over that album. The ninth track 'The Witches Promise' was never released on any of their studio albums. It was originally released as a single. It was originally recorded during the sessions of their third album 'Benefit'. It later appeared on the 1972 compilation album 'Living In The Past'. It's a ghostly orchestral folk number with fantastic build and creepy flute that comes from everywhere and that could have easily fit on 'Benefit'. The tenth track 'Thick As A Brick' is from 'Thick As A Brick'. The version on this compilation is a very short edited version of the theme, including only the first three minutes of 'Thick As A Brick, Part One'. 'Thick As A Brick' is simply their greatest opus with more than 40 minutes. So, is absolutely ridiculous to reduce it to 3 minutes. The eleventh track 'Minstrel In The Gallery' is from 'Minstrel In The Gallery'. It's a very beautiful composition which combines acoustic and hard rock music in a very balanced way. This is one of the two stronger and most energetic songs on 'Minstrel In The Gallery'. The twelfth track 'Life's A Long Song' was never released on any of their studio albums. It was first released on 'Life Is A Long Song' EP. It later appeared on the 1972 compilation album 'Living In The Past'. 'Life's A Long Song' is a beautiful acoustic symphonic track. The song is centred on Anderson's acoustic guitar playing and the lyrics talking about everyday life. It's one of the best things Anderson ever composed.

Conclusion: Unlike some other compilations of Jethro Tull, 'Original Masters' covers a very extensive period of time in the band's career, from 1968 to 1984. We are talking about fifteen studio albums from the band. So, with only twelve tracks it was completely impossible to include a song per album. Thus, many of their studio albums, the most of them aren't represented here, really. Well, in reality, we can't say that this is a very well representative compilation of Jethro Tull, really. I even dare to say that some of their best albums aren't represented here, such as, 'Stand Up', 'Benefit', 'A Passion Play', 'Heavy Horses' and 'Stormwatch'. Besides that, this compilation insists on maintaining the same problem of many compilations of the band, which is, reducing the suite 'Thick As A Brick' to a very short version. Thus, for all I wrote before, I can only rate it with 2 stars. So, in reality, this is a compilation for collectors and fans only.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

5 stars Jethro Tull Original Masters I remember when this album was released in 1985 there was some criticism that it did not include any recordings after 1976. This means nothing from Heavy Horses,Storm Watch A,Broadsword and the Beasts or Under Wraps.Instead Chrysalis decided to concentrate on the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1988693) | Posted by Lupton | Tuesday, August 21, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A perfect starting point for Tull newbies, that is, if they've got cash. Because I swear, the 3 minute edit of Thick as a Brick will have you foaming at the mouth for more, and you'll find yourself buying all their records. We've got all the radio-hits here, and some new edits as well. Unfortunate ... (read more)

Report this review (#129650) | Posted by Shakespeare | Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a very good compilation, containing material from the bands early period. The tracks are well selected, and I think this would serve as a very good introduction to the band. It was my introduction. I borrowed my friends CD, it sat around for a while, then eventually I decided to give it ... (read more)

Report this review (#104885) | Posted by OGTL | Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a wonderful compilation of Jethro Tull's "hits". Its a great Tull primer for newcomers. If you're an audiophile nut like me do whatever you can to get a copy of the DCC 24K Gold version mastered by Steve Hoffman. The gorgeous quality of this master is attributed to the original tapes t ... (read more)

Report this review (#102692) | Posted by indelibo | Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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