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Music Review: Jethro Tull – Stand Up

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Jethro Tull returned with their sophomore album less than a year after their debut and change was in the air.

Guitarist and co-leader Mick Abrahams had left the group due to creative differences with Ian Anderson. He envisioned more of a blues sound and Anderson wanted to take Tull in a different direction. His departure left Anderson firmly in control and he would go on to create one of the more unique sounds in rock history.

Tony Iommi would be a very short time replacement for Abrahams. His short term claim to fame with Jethro Tull was his appearance with the group on The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. His lasting claim to fame came as the guitarist for the legendary Black Sabbath.

His replacement would be Martin Barre who would appear on Stand Up and every other release to date and would become recognized as one of rock’s outstanding guitarists and the perfect foil for Anderson.

The album's art work is some of the most unique in history and would win several awards at the time. It had a gatefold cover and when you opened the album the members of the band would pop up as stand-up figures. Take that CD lovers. The album was reissued a number of times without this feature so you need to seek out the original release if you want to experience the true Stand Up cover art.

Stand Up finds the group beginning to move in a progressive rock direction as Anderson and Barre settled in to what would become a forty year and counting musical partnership. It may not have the conceptual cohesiveness of many of their later releases but the music comes together to form one of their stronger albums. It would be their commercial break through as it reached number one in England and earned gold status in The United States.

This album contains something for every fan of Jethro Tull. “Nothing Is Easy” and “A New Day Yesterday” begin to fuse rock, jazz, and classical music which would be so important to their future. “Look Into The Sun” is a nice ballad which features one of the first great Martin Barre solos. “Reasons” For Waiting” is a love song with lush orchestration. “Fat Man” would present the type of humor which Jethro Tull would be so good at creating. “For A Thousand Mothers” is rock with a premier flute performance by Anderson. Finally “Bouree” is a superior take on the Bach song.

Stand Up was Jethro Tull’s coming out party. If you are a fan of the group or their style of music, this album should always be with in range of your stereo system.

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About David Bowling

  • Huge Tull fan here except I can never think of them without referencing Lester Bangs’ JT in Vietnam review. He likened them to Vietnamese Folk Music. That’s just how old I am.

  • tootull

    From a CD lover – The Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab gold CD and the Japanese remastered (mini LP) CD of Stand Up feature the pop-up.

  • Tull vs the Cong, musically – this is a good debut for Martin Barre, but he’s still hiding in those underground tunnels in some respects. But the later material will make this fit into the larger picture.