JETHRO TULL-THIS WAS (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION).
Jethro Tull-This Was (50th Anniversary Edition).
Label: PLG UK Catalog.
By April 1978, Jethro Tull was still one of the most successful British bands of their generation, and were about to release their eleventh album of their career, Heavy Horses. It was the second album in a trilogy of folk rock albums and Jethro Tull hoped that Heavy Horses, would build on the success of Songs From The Wood which had been released in February 1977. It was the first instalment in Jethro Tull’s folk rock trilogy, which was a new chapter in their career which began fifteen years earlier.
The origins of Jethro Tull can be traced to Blackpool, Lancashire, in 1962, where Ian Anderson formed his first group Blades, which was originally a four piece, featuring Ian Anderson on vocals and harmonica. A year later in 1963, Blades was a quintet and in 1964 the group was a sextet who played blue-eyed soul. However, by 1967 blades decided to spread their wings and head to London.
Having moved to London, the band split-up within a short time, and only Ian Anderson and bassist Glen McCornick were left. This proved a blessing in disguise as they were soon joined by blues guitarist Mick Abrahams and drummer Clive Bunker. This was the lineup that featured of Jethro Tull that featured on their debut album This Was. That was still to co
Before that, the nascent band had to settle on a name, and various names were tried, only to be rejected. Then someone at a booking agent christened the band Jethro Tull, after the eighteenth century agriculturist. Little did anyone realise that the newly named Jethro Tull would become one of the biggest bands in the world over the next decade.
Not long after becoming Jethro Tull, Ian Anderson acquired his first flute. Up until then, he had played harmonica and was trying to learn to play the guitar. Soon, , Ian Anderson realised that wasn’t a great guitarist, and having realised that the world had enough mediocre guitarists, decided to expand his musical horizons and bought a flute. Little did he realise this would be one of Jethro Tull’s trademarks.
After a couple of weeks, Ian Anderson had already picked up the basics of the flute. He was learning as he played. While this wasn’t ideal, it was the only way that possible. Especially with things happening so quickly for Jethro Tull who would soon release their debut single.
Sunshine Day was penned by Mick Abrahams, with Derek Lawrence taking charge of production. However, when their debut single was pressed, Jethro Tull realised that an error meant the single was credited to Jethro Toe. To make matters worse, Sunshine Day wasn’t a commercial success and failed to trouble the charts. Despite this disappointment, thing got better when Jethro Tull released their debut album This Was.
Recording of This Was took place at Sound Techniques in London, with the sessions beginning on the ‘13th’ of June 1968, and finishing on the ‘23rd’ of August 1968. By then, Jethro Tull had only £1,200 was spent recording their debut album This Was. This money would soon be recouped when This Was released.
Prior to the release of Jethro Tull’s debut album This Was critics had their say on the album. The majority of the critics were impressed by This Was which was a fusion of blues rock, R&B and jazz. This pleased Jethro Tull and their management, who decided to launch This Was at the Marquee Club, in London.
Jethro Tull was only the third band to launch their debut album at the Marquee Club, and would follow in the footsteps of the Rolling Stones and The Who. Both bands were amongst the biggest bands in the world by 1968, and so would Jethro Tull.
On the ‘25th’ October 1968 Jethro Tull released This Was, which reached number ten in the UK. Three months later, Jethro Tull released This Was in America on the ‘3rd’ of February 1969 and it reached sixty-two in the US Billboard 200. This was seen as a success by Island Records in Britain and Reprise in America. Jethro Tull had made inroads into the most lucrative music market in the world. It was a successful start to Jethro Tull’s career, which was about to enter a period where critical acclaim and commercial success were almost ever-present. However, there was a twist in the tale.
By then, Mick Abrahams left the band after he and Ian Anderson disagreed over the future direction of Jethro Tull. The sticking point was that Mick Abraham wanted Jethro Tull to stick with blues rock, while Ian Anderson realised there was no real future in blues rock. He wanted to take Jethro Tull to explore a variety of musical genres. As a result, Mick Abrahams left Jethro Tull and was replaced by Michael Barre. Little did either Mick Abraham nor Martin Barre realise that Stand Up marked the start of a period where Jethro Tull would sell over sixty-million albums.
Fifty years after Jethro Tull released their debut album in 1968, This Was (50th Anniversary Edition) has been reissued as a four disc box set by PLG UK Catalog. It’s a lovingly curated box set that will be a must have for fans of Jethro Tull.
Disc one features the original version of This Was and bonus tracks including Love Story and Ultimate Confusion remixed in stereo by Steven Wilson. Then on disc two there’s live BBC sessions which were recorded in 1968 and the original mono mix This Was. The BBC Sessions are a reminder if any was needed, just how good and tight a band Jethro Tull were by then. On the third disc is the original 1968 U.K. stereo mix of This Was and the 2008 remastered mono version of the album. This Was (50th Anniversary Edition) is a veritable feast for fans of Jethro Tull. However, there’s still further courses to enjoy.
On disc four there’s the original album and bonus tracks remixed by Steven Wilson in 4.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital surround and 96/24 LPCM stereo. There’s also a flat transfer of the 1968 stereo remix. As if that isn’t enough, This Was (50th Anniversary Edition) cones in a case-bound DVD book filled with a detailed history of the album. Add to this track-by-track notes by Ian Anderson and what are rare and unseen photographs and This Was (50th Anniversary Edition) is the only way to discover the Jethro Tull’s debut.
This Was (50th Anniversary Edition) is a lovingly curated veritable musical feast and features everything you could want to know about Jethro Tull’s debut album but were too scared to ask.
Jethro Tull-This Was (50th Anniversary Edition).
- Posted in: Blues ♦ Folk ♦ Jazz ♦ R&B ♦ Rock
- Tagged: Glen McCornick, Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull, Martin Barre, Mick Abrahams, PLG UK Catalog, This Was