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Jethro Tull - This Was CD (album) cover

THIS WAS

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.32 | 858 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
2 stars First work of a giant and one of my beloved band. Like most of those first albums (Genesis, Purple, Tramp, Camel ...), I am not convinced by this one. Of course, the Tull style is already present here and there but this one lacks in true memorable moments. The album is quite bluesy and jazzy (this is the influence of Mick Abrahams who will write a few songs here). There won't be lots of albums in which other band members will be involved in the songwritting. So, the Tull that I like so much is not yet this one. It is very hard for me to give such high ratings (4 to 5 ? stars) as lots of reviewers have done.

Don't get me wrong, Tull is one of my favorite bands : I got to know them in 1971 with "Aqualung" and owe almost their whole official catalog (plus some thirty boots). For me the Tull starts with "Benefit", but that's another story. Let's go back to "This Was".

"My Sunday Feeling" is a good opener with an "airspacey" Ian's voice. "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You" is a short bluesy song with no interest. "Beggar's Farm" ends up in a good instrumental flute solo (so typical of what they will deliver later on). One of the best track. Skip "Move On Alone", a short jazzy track from another age.

Since jazz is not my cup of tea, I can hardly rate the instrumental "Serenade To A Cuckoo" as being a gem. It appears that this was Ian first attempt to play flute. "Dharma for One" is another instrumental which will be often celebrated live (the format being seriously expanded to more than ten minutes like in their Isle of Wight show). The drum solo is quite unusual on a studio album to be mentioned (Led Zep will also do that on "Moby Dick" in 1969), but this is a rather average track (not "Moby Dick" but "Dharma").

Same applies to " It's Breaking Me Up" : again 100% blues number. "Cat's Squirrel" starts like "Caroline" from Status Quo (actually it is "Caroline" that sounds like "Cat's" since it was released in 1973), then you think : oh good, a rocky track at last ! Not quite though : this almost six minute long intrumental track (another one) sounds like a jam.

"A Song For Jeffrey" is a good track with an excellent riff, but Ian's voice is quite bizzarre and a bit lost amongst the instruments (which is quite unusual). "Round" closes the original LP and is another instrumental piece of ...1'03" ! Quite dispensable. There are three bonus tracks one the remastered edition : "One for John Gee" is in the vein of the rest. "Love Story" is the best track : good rock song like Tull can produce.

Globally this album might be a good jazz or blues album. Two stars really because I am so found of this band, but I almost never spin "This Was".

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |

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