This Was
(Capitol / EMI)


It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since Jethro Tull started out as what Ian Anderson describes as a little blues band. The band’s first single from late ‘68, “Love Story” was overlooked and did nothing on the charts but the band’s first full length album, This Was was picked up by pop fans as a curio or oddity on the then pioneering Reprise label. That stroke of luck of being on Reprise—along with Frank Zappa, Fleetwood Mac and Frank Sinatra—became fully realized on the second Tull album Stand Up. But now in 2008, with the double CD 40th anniversary set from EMI / Capitol, it’s well worth examining the first Tull lineup with Anderson and British blues guitar icon Mick Abrahams and the first Tull rhythm section of Glen Cornick (bass) and Clive Bunker (drums). With long time Tull guitar ace Martin Barre in the wings, Abrahams would move on alone after This Was, piloting his solo career starting with the band Bloodwyn Pig. Thanks to some now classic albums, for a while Tull and the Pig would vie for popularity among circa ‘70s rock fans but the tenacity of Tull won out and to the band’s credit has held strong all these years. On the album’s 40th anniversary EMI makes it fun to rediscover This Was, pairing a rarely heard mono mix of the album with 1968 BBC recordings (with Abrahams) and a second disc with a new stereo mix of This Was, the “Love Story” single with Mick and several other early oddities. Marking their now historic twist of fate, Tull would never be as overtly bluesy or jazzy again, as they were on This Was and as this double 40 anniversary edition intends, Ian Anderson and Mick Abrahams shared a unique musical vision and made for a most formidable musical team.


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