Jethro Tull – Living In The Past Review

Posted: September 2, 2011 by kingcrimsonprog in Music Reviews, Prog, Prog Studio

Jethro Tull - Living In The Past

Jethro Tull - Living In The Past

Jethro Tull are a fantastic and unique band who have constantly evolved, defied genre expectations and classifications constantly and created some truly wonderful and interesting music. If you are thinking about getting into the band I would strongly recommend that you do.

If you are new to the band though, either picking up a greatest hits compilation (of which there are many) to get a broad overview of the band, or diving straight in to one of their classic albums like Aqualung, Thick As A Brick, Songs From The Wood or Broadsword’ may serve you as a better starting point than Living In The Past.

Jethro Tull’s early career before Aqualung, doesn’t sit as neatly for easy pick up as a prospective fan may want. While they released albums as normal for today’s artists, this was as well as singles that weren’t off the albums, an EP and even a separate single accidentally under the name ‘Jethro Toe,’ and so if you wanted to collect it all it would likely come in eight or nine individual purchases at a great expense.

If you are a fan or prospective fan today, the best way to acquire most of the non-album tracks in one simple solution is to get a hold of Living In The Past, which for today’s Tull buyers can serve as a compilation of all the rare pre-Aqualung material and that is so good it sounds almost like a fifth Jethro Tull studio album.

Sometimes this album is a bit of a headache to talk about, explain and file because the name ‘Living In The Past, with this artwork has actually been released many times, in different versions to serve slightly different purposes; be it in 19 track single disc rarities album form as it is on this particular version, or in 20, 21 and 23 track versions in different countries on cd or vinyl that sometimes they feature studio-album tracks to give it a more ‘greatest hits feel.’

Ignoring the history of the set and the various editions, Living In The Past is a very good album to listen to, containing a lot of varied and interesting Jethro Tull material in a range of styles, speeds and even band line ups. There are acoustic moments, hard rocking moments and live solo filled numbers with all the virtuosic musicianship you’d expect.

While the album has its share of rockers, laid back numbers and classic singles. There are also tracks like the odd and whimsical ode to British Seaside Resort, Black Pool, Lanashire, called `Up The `Pool,’, as well as `Wond’ring Again,’ which finds a full song in the style of the very brief Aqualung track `Wond’ring Aloud,’ that offer a different side to the band.

Popular and enduring tracks such as ‘Life Is A Long Song,’ ‘The Witch’s Promise,’ and ‘Sweet Dream,’ can be found here, the sort of songs that will be found on greatest hits shows and live albums and that the majority of Tull fans will love. They are also available as bonus tracks on certain editions of regular Tull studio-albums, so you may not want to buy the set only for their inclusion if you are considering taking your listening experience further.

If you are undecided as to whether or not this set is for you, take a quick look a the track listing, and see if there are enough tracks you don’t already own to justify buying it, all the songs are of a good quality and are all worth your time so its really down to if you already have most of them on other Tull cds.

Overall, This is a great collection of top quality music. It may not be the best starting point for new fans, and it may not be necessary for those who will buy all the remasters, but for everyone in between it is certainly a good purchase, one that people will often describe as their favourite Tull album as though it were an actual studio release, which is a pretty strong recommendation.

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