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Jethro Tull - This Was CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.32 | 858 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 257

'This Was' is the debut studio album of Jethro Tull and was released in 1968. With this release, Jethro Tull became as one of the first bands that would be designated as one of the pioneers of the progressive rock music, with bands such as Pink Floyd, Caravan, The Moody Blues, Van Der Graaf Generator, Procol Harum, Renaissance and King Crimson.

The line up on the album is Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, mouth organ, harmonica, claghorn and piano), Mick Abrahams (vocals, guitar and 9 string guitar), Glenn Cornick (bass guitar) and Clive Bunker (drums). David Palmer (French horn and orchestral arrangements), appears on the album as a guest musician. Following this album, guitarist Mick Abrahams left the group after a falling out with Ian Anderson. There were a number of reasons for his departure, but the main reason was surely that he was a blues purist while Ian Anderson wanted to explore many other forms of music.

'This Was' was an album where Ian Anderson shared some songwriting duties with the guitarist Mick Abrahams. The album also contains the only Jethro Tull's lead vocal not performed by Ian Anderson on any studio album of the band, 'Move On Alone'. Mick Abrahams, who was the songwriter of 'Move On Alone', provides the lead vocals on this track.

'This Was' has ten tracks. The first track 'My Sunday Feeling' written by Ian Anderson is clearly a song with some influences of blues and even more influences of jazz. It's a song with good and energetic drumming very well followed by the flute and also by the voice of Ian Anderson used in a very unique style. The second track 'Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You' was also written by Ian Anderson and is a typical and short blues song, much slower than the previous track and where Ian Anderson changes his flute by the harmonica. This is a real cool song but when we hear the song we remain with the feeling that we had already heard this kind of tune many other times before. The third track 'Beggar's Farm' written by Ian Anderson and Mick Abrahams is a song with good instrumental parts of flute and where the voice of Ian Anderson appears entrained with a light drunken touch. It has also great combination of guitar and bass and it has also a good rhythm section. The fourth track 'Move On Alone' written by Mick Abrahams is the shortest track on the album and is a song sung by Mick Abrahams. It's a very simple song with a mix fusion between jazz and blues. The only thing I can say about it is that it's short and nice but it seems to belong to another age, the 60's. The fifth track 'Serenade To A Cuckoo' written by Roland Kirk is an instrumental track and is the lengthiest on the album. It represents, without any doubt, one of the best musical moments on the album. This is really a wonderful instrumental song that is more jazz music than blues. It has a great and perfect instrumental performance all over the song, especially by the flute and guitar. The sixth track 'Dharma For One' written by Ian Anderson and Clive Bunker is one of the most known Jethro Tull's songs of this album. It's another instrumental track on the album where Clive Bunker performed a great and inventive drum solo. This is a song with a more rock feeling than the other previous songs. The seventh track 'It's Breaking Me Up' written by Ian Anderson is another traditional and classical blues number. It has good harmonica performance, but like 'Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You', it still is also a real cool song, but when we hear the song we remain with the feeling that we had already heard this kind of tune many other times before, too. The eighth track 'Cat's Squirrel' is a traditional song arranged by Mick Abrahams, and like 'Dharma For One' is also one of the most known Jethro Tull's songs of this album. This is a good instrumental track, a blues/rock song with a nice and interesting guitar work. It's true that saw from our days it seems to be a bit dated, but I think it still remains a good song. The ninth track 'A Song For Jeffrey' written by Ian Anderson is also one of the best known tracks of the album. This is a very good song and represents one of the best musical moments on the album. We may say this is one of the first standard songs from the group that better represent the first musical period of Jethro Tull. The tenth and last track 'Round' written by Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Clive Bunker, Glenn Cornick and Terry Ellis is the smallest song on the album. It's an instrumental and very simple track with catchy filler. But I've nothing more to say about it.

Conclusion: In part due to Mick Abrahams' influence, 'This Was' incorporates more blues and jazz influences, than the following releases of Jethro Tull. It was only after 'This Was' that was possible to see the progressive rock lines that later became as one of the best marks of the group. So, 'This Was' is practically a blues/jazz album with very few or even nothing of progressive rock music on it. I can see some similarities between 'This Was' and the debut albums of Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator, 'From Genesis To Revelation' and 'The Aerosol Grey Machine', respectively. All these three albums aren't really great works, all have few progressivity and all have very little with what would be the future sound of those three bands. Besides, in my humble opinion, 'This Was' is with 'War Child' and 'Too Old To Rock'n'Roll: Too Young To Die!' one of the three weakest studio albums released by Jethro Tull in the decade of 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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