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M.U. - THE BEST OF JETHRO TULL

Jethro Tull

Prog Folk


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Jethro Tull M.U. - The Best of Jethro Tull album cover
3.01 | 80 ratings | 11 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Teacher (4:07)
2. Aqualung (alternative mix) (6:34)
3. Thick as a Brick (edit #1) (3:01)
4. Bungle in the Jungle (3:34)
5. Locomotive Breath (alternate mix) (4:23)
6. Fat Man (2:50)
7. Living in the Past (3:18)
8. A Passion Play (edit #8: "Overseer Overture") (3:28)
9. Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day (4:02)
10. Rainbow Blues (3:37)
11. Nothing Is Easy (4:23)

Total Time 43:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / flute, vocals, soprano saxophone
- Martin Barre / electric guitar
- Glenn Cornick / bass (1,7,11)
- Clive Bunker / drums, percussion (1-2,5-7,11)
- John Evans / Hammond organ, piano, organ, synthesizer, keyboards (1-5,8-10)
- Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond / bass (2-5,8-10)
- Barriemore Barlow / drums, percussion, glockenspiel (3-4,8-10)

With:
- David Palmer / orchestral arrangements and conducting

Releases information

LP Chrysalis - CHR 1078 (1976)
CD Chrysalis - VK 41078 (1985)
CD Chrysalis - 07243 582145 29 (2003) as "The Essential" with different cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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JETHRO TULL M.U. - The Best of Jethro Tull ratings distribution


3.01
(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

JETHRO TULL M.U. - The Best of Jethro Tull reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A quite pleasant compilation of good songs and some very good ones. A plus, you get a bonus one called "Rainbow Blues". A catchy tune with good flute solo from our favorite excentric hobo. You want introduce yourself to the TULL? Start here. This album is also easy to find and you can enjoy well-know hits while still enjoying the rest of the original albums. "Teacher", "Bungle in the Jungle" and "Locomotive Breath" must be played LOUD for maximum enjoyment. Told you so, the flute is THE instrument that makes progressive rock your own little secret garden, and what makes Anderson our favorite 'homeless' looking artist! (wonder if he smells like what he seems? Let's hope for the best.)
Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The first and still the best summation of TULL's precious musical gifts. Not to suggest that the band didn't continue to release great music, but the subsequent Repeat drew from a depleted well and future compilations (save for "Original Masters") seemed to serve some hidden agenda by selecting personal favorites or catalog samplers over the universally established "hits". In fact, M.U. (the abbreviation is said to stand for Musician's Union) ranks as one of the most effective, delightful compilations I own. My love for the music of TULL notwithstanding, this collection goes straight for the band's most popular music and displays it in a radiant array as these jewels deserve. There are several things that good compilations should do: put an artist's best musical foot forward, provide some sense of history, choose evenly from the existing catalog, and throw a bone to the fans who already own the previous works. "M.U." does this while departing from chronological order, a potential danger except that here the scattered placement of tracks is an equitable gesture toward TULL's genius. It's likely that some thought went into track placement. Opening with "Teacher", closing with "Nothing Is Easy", interspersing old and new material in between,

"M.U." underscored a point that TULL fans already knew: it's all good. For neophytes, however, it was a point worth making. Start at the beginning, begin at the end, dive cautiously for the middle, there is no wrong move. All greatest hits should aspire to be a celebration of the artist's work, which this is. As for the bone I mentioned earlier, the unreleased "Rainbow Blues" might be the best thing on here. In 2003, the same songs (in the same order) were released as Essential JETHRO TULL, inheriting "M.U."'s mantle it would seem.

Review by Australian
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "MU: The Best of Jethro Tull" was released at a time when Jethro Tull and progressive rock in general was at the peak of its popularity. The album encompasses all Jethro Tull's greatest songs from the period leading up to the album's release. It features a version of "Aqualung" with an alternative acoustic section which follows the introduction. This version is better than the original "Aqualung " version in my opinion as it gives greater diction to the words and blends with the mood of the section better. Other than that the album features greatly edited versions of both "Thick As A Brick" and "A Passion Play", these four minute versions do absolutely no justice to the four original 20 minute-a-piece songs. Never the less "MU: The Best of Jethro Tul"l includes most the best stuff from Jethro Tull in a 40 minute long album, including "Bungle in the Jungle" (which I'm happy about.) The only thing missing from "MU:" (from the band's 70's period) is "Cross Eyed-Mary" which is one of the band's more successful songs, although "MU" already has two songs from "Aqualung."

There are no songs from the band's debut album 'This Was' and the addition of 'Beggar's Farm' or something would been good for a best of album. Apart from that " MU: The Best of Jethro Tull offers up all the best Jethro Tull songs from the 70's. Its difficult to rate "MU: The Best of Jethro Tull" because, although it features such great epics and T"hick As A Brick" and "A Passion Play", they only give a small sample of what they actually are. For this reason it's difficult to decide whether to recommend "MU:" to people new to Jethro Tull, the true meaning of these epics can only be encompassed in their full length. I can really only recommend MU: to collectors as it includes the alternative version of "Aqualung", so sadly I'm gonna have to give MU two stars. To all Jethro Tull newbies you're much better off getting the remastered version of 'Aqualung' as it includes some of the band's best stuff and several bonus tracks which, really makes "MU: "obsolete. Collectors/fans only

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars In 1972, the Tull released a compilation album with some rare tracks and unreleased album material. They are doing so again with this one.

I am not quite convinced by the selection of tracks though.

Some left overs from studio sessions : Rainbow Blues" are completely out of purpose in a "Best Of" effort. They are quite boring songs (in the meantime one can discover these "lost jewels" on some remastered versions). Pointless. "Teacher" is a bit better (released on remaster of "Benefit"). "Living In The Past" is of course a great song (single release but available now on remastered "Stand Up". It was already present on the previous compilation ...

Some average tracks from studio albums like "Nothing Is Easy" and "Skating Away". But "Fat Man" is pretty useless.

Two ridiculous edited versions for "Thick" and "A Passion" : three minutes or so each. That's about 7 % of the original song ("Thick peaking at 43'48" and "A Passion" reaching 45'05").

The best song from "War Child" : "Bungle" (finally).

OK, there are two alternate takes for "Aqualung" and "Locomotive". Since I do not owe this album as such, I can not judge these versions. Since they belong to the best Tull repertoire I can only say that these are the two that fully deserve (together with "Bungle") to be featured in a "Best Of" effort.

I would highly recommend the newcomer to the Tull repertoire to stay away from this compilation. Actually, my feeling is the same than for "Living In The Past" one. Get the remastered Tull's albums and forget about these "Best Of" or whatever they are called.

Even at the time of release, I am not quite sure that this one was relevant.

For completionists only. Two stars.

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'm not a big fan of greatest hits compilations. It hepls when you're getting into an artist or if an artist has a lot of hit singles that never made it onto studio albums or you get a lot of rarities. My friend lent me a copy of this disc that he got while visiting his family in Germany. He gave me his, Orginal Masters, and Aqualung. I really liked Aqualung, and some of the songs on the greatest hits were good, but as I got into Tull, I hated this album. It doesn't have a lot of key early songs (Dharma For One?) and the most egregious crimes are that Thick as a Brick and Passion Play are cut to a few minutes in length. These are album long songs! My advice, get Aqualung (TaaB is a hard place to start). If you like it, get the other classics. Avoid this album, they don't even put very good songs on it (Fat Man, Skating).

Grade: D-

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars At first, I bought this version of compilation in cassette format even though I had already got all albums that the songs in this compilation are taken from. I just want to enjoy the songs in different setting with different setlist. It satisfied my needs. When this compilation was available in CD format, I bought again the CD. This compilation is a good introduction to the music of Jethro Tull especially for those who have never knew the band. The compilation has a right balance of folk acoustic based composition with some rocker. It opens beautifully with "Teacher" which has good melody and composition. "Aqualung" is the band's legendary track. "Thick As A Brick" is not the one that I like because it's cut from the original song with a long duration (45 minutes in total). This applies the same to "A Passion Play" which endures 45 minutes of the original version. "Bungle In The Jungle" was in fact my first experience with the music of Jethro Tull from "War Child" album. Another favorite of mine is "Locomotive Breath". "Nothing Is Easy" is a blues rock song that characterizes the music of early Jethro Tull.

This is a very good introduction compilation for those of you who are new to the band.

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Alright, here's the deal. Ole "Mr. I Hate Compilations" finally gets a chance to shine. M.U. was released in 1975, or thereabouts, and it screams "best of." It does not replace Living in the Past by a long shot. It contains all the well known studio cuts, and just one unreleased "Rainbow Blues," the singles "Teacher" and "Living in the Past," and an alternative "Aqualung" to tickle your fancy.

We open with "Teacher," a pop rocker of a single if I ever heard one! I am not a huge fan of this song, as it goes on a little too long for my tastes. Not that there's anything wrong with it. The version of "Aqualung" here is a little different, with the acoustic section being a little...I don't know exactly. It's sort of like the quad version of "Wind Up," if you've heard it. Either way, I don't radically prefer one over the other.

The opening movement to "Thick as a Brick" is here, as is "Bungle in the Jungle," "Locomotive Breath," "Fat Man" and "Living in the Past." All are great songs, to be sure, but there's nothing too special about them. "Thick," "Bungle" and "Locomotive" are to be expected, and, while a single, "Living" is already famous enough. The only surprise here is the vastly undervalued "Fat Man."

The representative from Passion Play is "Edit 8," a.k.a., "The Overseer Overture," which was arguably the best movement from the whole damn thing. "Skating Away" is a great song, but it's just "Skating Away," and shall probably remain until the end of time. For sake of argument, the best song on the album is "Rainbow Blues," a fantastic orchestral rocker with equally good guitar, flute and organ parts. Dig the brilliant layering of said parts under the vocals. It might even be better than "Bungle." Might.

We close with "Nothing is Easy," another nice song, and in itself not a bad closer. But you've heard it all before. All in all, a bunch of good songs, but not a fantastic representation of the band (there ARE other Tull albums than Stand Up and Warchild). Besides that, I'm not a fantastic fan of the overall flow of the album. It's a nice enough listen, but I'd hardly consider it a great introduction to the band. Or maybe I mean that the other way around...?

(This thing was re-released under the guise of Essential Jethro Tull, which is no more essential than the first one; instead of the cool outline drawing of minstrel Ian, you get a creepy photo of modern Ian. The only plus to the album is that it's readily more available than M.U., so points for completionists there. Still, hardly essential, especially considering that this is the band that released the ultimate compilation album.)

Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Review Nş 348

'M.U. ' The Best Of Jethro Tull' is a compilation of Jethro Tull and was released in 1976. It was, in reality, the first proper greatest hits album of Jethro Tull. It spans songs from 1969 to 1975, which means that it cover songs from their second studio album till their ninth studio album. Their previous compilation from the band 'Living In The Past', mainly dealt with non-album material. This compilation only features one previously unreleased studio song 'Rainbow Blues'.

'M.U. ' The Best Of Jethro Tull' is a compilation that deals with the several musicians from the several different lines up of the band, being virtually together only on this kind of compilation albums. So, the musicians on this compilation are Ian Anderson (vocals, flute and soprano saxophone), Martin Barre (electric guitar), John Evan (Hammond organ, piano, organ, synthesizer and keyboards), Glenn Cornick (bass), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass), Clive Bunker (drums and percussion) and Barriemore Barlow (drums, percussion and glockenspiel).

'M.U. ' The Best Of Jethro Tull' has eleven tracks. The first track 'Teacher' is from 'Benefit'. However, this is only true in relation to the US version. On the UK version, despite it has also the same eleven tracks, the order of the tracks is different and on the UK version 'Teacher' was replaced by 'Alive And Well And Living In'. 'Teacher' is a good pop rock song of a single with good melody and composition, as usual with all their songs. The second track 'Aqualung' is from 'Aqualung'. The version on this compilation is an alternative mix version, including the song's open guitar riff played twice. 'Aqualung' is one of the best Jethro Tull's songs. It's a very well known song, very heavy and dark with acoustic elements. The third track 'Thick As A Brick' is from 'Thick As A Brick'. The version on the 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 fourth track 'Bugle 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 fifth track 'Locomotive Breath' is from 'Aqualung'. The version on the compilation is an alternative mix version. 'Aqualung' is a Jethro Tull's legendary track with great piano, guitar and excellent flute work, one of their best. The sixth track 'Fat Man' is from 'Stand Up'. It's a happy and fast song where the use of the balalaika gives to it a very special atmosphere. This is typically a classic Jethro Tull's folk rock song with a very unique sound. The seventh track 'Living In The Past' is from 'Living In The Past'. 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 eighth track 'A Passion Play' is from 'A Passion Play'. The version on this compilation is a very short edited version of the theme 'Overseer Overture', which occurs about eleven minutes into 'A Passion Play, Part Two'. As happened with 'Thick As A Brick', 'A Passion Play' which has also more than 40 minutes, was also cut to a bit more than 3 minutes. Once more this option remains incomprehensible and inexcusable. The ninth 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 tenth track 'Rainbow Blues' was never released on any of their studio albums. It's a leftover track from 'War Child' recording sessions. It was issued for the first time on this compilation. It was also issued as a bonus track on the remastered edition of 'War Child', in 2002. 'Rainbow Blues' is a good rocker with great orchestration, with some good guitar, flute and organ parts. The eleventh track 'Nothing Is Easy' is from 'Stand Up'. It's another classic Jethro Tull's song. This is a fantastic rock track with several musical sections and with incredible musical performance. It has fine drumming and the interaction between the flute and the guitar is perfect. The balance between the power and elegance is great.

Conclusion: Supposedly, 'M.U. ' The Best Of Jethro Tull' would have everything to be a greatest hits compilation with short songs taken from their second studio album 'Stand Up' released in 1969, till their ninth studio album 'Too Old To Rock'N'Roll: Too Young To Die!' released in 1976. However, that didn't happen. It's true that we can't deny that 'M.U. ' The Best Of Jethro Tull' has some very good tracks. 'Locomotive Breath', 'Fat Man', 'Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of The New Day)', 'Nothing Is Easy' and especially 'Aqualung' are all great tracks, some of their best. Even the rest of the album is made also by good tracks. But there is a huge problem. The problem is that 'Thick As A Brick' and 'A Passion Play' are cut to very short extracts. This is completely incomprehensible and unjustifiable. It's unthinkable that the record label could have cut two of their lengthiest and best masterpieces to so few short minutes. So, despite some excellent tracks on it, I'm going to give it only 2 stars. There are other better compilations from the band than this one.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars A good little collection of some of the earlier work of Tull, up to the 1976 period. It is not even close to being complete, however, yet with only 1 disc to work with, how could it be? Has an interesting version of Aqualung as well as "Rainbow Blues". Editing "Thick as a Brick" to 3 minutes i ... (read more)

Report this review (#443676) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, May 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This a great CD for TULL completists as it contains different mixes of both "Aqualung" and "Locomotive Breath". It also contains the wonderful previously unreleased "Rainbow Blues" which was taken from the "Warchild" sessions and has recently been released as a bonus track on the "Warchild" remast ... (read more)

Report this review (#16518) | Posted by platform | Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very good review of those years, if i were them, i'd be waited until heavy horese appear, but it doesn´t matter, a very nice record for a very good band, no looses or flaws, pure Jethro Tull classics ... (read more)

Report this review (#16516) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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