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Jethro Tull - Stand Up CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

4.05 | 1213 ratings

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4 stars The thing I love most about this album is the packaging. I didn't buy this because of the cover. Heck, I didn't buy it at all, I was seven years old when it came out - my aunt gave it to me in the early 80's while she was going through a disco phase (I think I traded her a Wham! album for it). Anyway, the very intricate woodcut print is very exquisite and must have taken an incredibly long time to create. I can't imagine putting that much effort into album art work today. Also, the pop-up band figures (Stand Up - get it?) that leap at you when you open the bi-fold liner were probably considered to be quite clever thirty-seven years ago.

But the real treasure is the Warner/Reprise inner sleeve, which features an advertisement for the "Loss Leader" bargain album series of 1969. These were two- disc collections of mostly new songs by bands of the day that were intended to be samplers to drum up interest in the music. I spent many hours throughout the 80's sifting through used record store bins and garage sales looking for some of this music, and today many, many of these bands are represented on this site. It's hard to believe that these two-disc sets, most of which featured as many as 40 songs each, sold for only $2 (U.S.)! I won't spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn't read one of these sleeves, but if you can get your hands on one, it's a very entertaining and educational look at the state of the music industry at the close of the 60's.

As far as the album goes, I really don't listen to it all that often, and mostly only in the very late fall or winter. It's just that kind of music.

"A new day yesterday" is a heavily blues-influenced song, and also marks the introduction of Martin Barre's distinctive wandering guitar in the band. It works so well with Glen Cornick's aggressive bass, a sound that frankly I think Jeffrey Hammond² would spend several years trying to emulate after Cornick's departure. This isn't an overly complex arrangement, but looking back it does give hints at the sound that would make the band so well known in the 70's.

On "Jeffrey goes to Leicester Square" Ian Anderson kicks in with a bit of mandolin, giving the song more of a folksy feel. This is a really short tune, really just an interlude before the much more well-known instrumental "Bourée", which has much more prominent flute, bass, organ, and drum work than the first two tunes.

Anderson's voice is stronger on "Back to the family" than elsewhere on the album, but otherwise this is a rather forgettable tune in the band's vast catalog, although Barre's guitar work is quite edgy for an early Jethro Tull album.

The front side of the album closes with "Look into the sun", a song that I have heard numerous times over the years on classic rock and college radio stations. I don't know if it was ever released as a single, or if there is some significance to it that I'm unaware of, but late night disc jockeys seem to like it for some reason. It definitely has a very 60's hippy folk feel to it.

On the flip side, "Nothing is easy" also sports a blues rhythm, but aside from the flute this one is closer to early psychedelic than to folk or progressive. This is also the longest track on the album, mostly due to several extended bits of organ and drum. You know, I'm not a technically savvy music fan, but there sure seems to be an awful lot of prominent bass on this album, and particularly on this song.

When "Fat Man" opens it's hard to tell if this is going to be a calypso song, or what. I guess the drums are bongos, or at least they sound like bongos. There's also more mandolin, or maybe it's a balalaika, which the liner notes say Anderson plays, but they don't say on which tracks. While the music is quite different than elsewhere on the album, Anderson's voice retains that distinctive folksy lilt. This one has a really different sound than most of anything else Tull has done since.

"We used to know" sounds to me like it could have easily been worked into Aqualung somewhere, or possibly be mistaken for an out-take from that album. It's a bit more brooding than the rest of the album, and the only song where I can definitely hear some acoustic guitar.

"Reasons for waiting" is a bit of a jam song, just a little bit of pretty much every instrument on the album finds its way into this one. Here again the bass is surprising prominent for a folk album.

The album closes with "For a thousand mothers", mostly instrumental and again kind of sounds like just a bunch of ad-hoc jamming in the studio.

This isn't an essential classic as near as I can tell, although it probably would be considered one by Jethro Tull fans and probably progressive folk bands in general. It does seem rather well-crafted for a band that was so young and relatively immature at the time, so for that they get some credit. Also, the packaging and art work certainly merits extra consideration, as it gives a bit of a musical history all by itself. All told, it is a very respectable and well-produced work that I would probably give three stars to if it weren't a Jethro Tull album, and if the art work weren't so impressive. When I throw those two points in, the album jumps to four stars.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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