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Jethro Tull - This Was CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.31 | 899 ratings

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3 stars I’m probably in the minority of Tull fans who feel the band would have developed a more interesting character had Mick Abrahams stayed with the band after this debut, or at least have come back some time before 1980. Ian Anderson’s overpowering influence and unmistakable flute playing were present even here in the beginning. But the harmonica would largely disappear in later years, and Abraham’s heavy blues-rock influence would take a decidedly more jazz orientation with Martin Barre. Too bad, because I think that the versatility of the blues guitar would have given a greater sense of variety and life to most of the rather bland eighties album the band released. Probably wouldn’t have done much for ‘Aqualung’ or ‘Thick as a Brick’ though, but in my opinion the band went rather steadily downhill after these albums anyway.

This isn’t on par with the best Tull albums, a bit uneven frankly with a couple tunes that don’t sound at all like classic Tull (“Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You”, “It's Breaking Me Up”). But the rest are all strong, cleverly blending folk, blues and rock into a unique and engaging sound. “My Sunday Feeling” and “Beggar’s Farm” have the most recognizable Tull sound, while Abrahams rips off some tasty and dirty blues riffs on “Cat’s Squirrel”.

The two extremes are probably “It's Breaking Me Up”, all blues, all the time; and “Serenade To A Cuckoo”, which marked the first time I’d ever heard a flute solo on what was supposed to be a rock album.

Not my favorite Jethro Tull album by a long shot, although for years I only collected Tull albums out of habit and not really for any strong liking for the band anyway, so my threshold of tolerance is rather high for what I can listen to from these guys. This is a three star album, although on the lower range of three. ‘Stand Up’ the following year was better, and the band would rip off three or four more before sinking into that period of dullness I mentioned earlier. You know, the one where Abrahams might have been of some help.

Not a bad album for your collection, probably considered essential for Tull fans (but not for anyone else). Three stars.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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