Benefit (album)

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Benefit
Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 20 April 1970 (US)
1 May 1970 (UK)
Recorded December 1969 – January 1970 at Morgan Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock[1]
Length 42:49
Label Chrysalis, Reprise
Producer Ian Anderson
Jethro Tull chronology
Stand Up
(1969)
Benefit
(1970)
Aqualung
(1971)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone unfavourable[2]
Robert Christgau B−[3]

Benefit is the third album by Jethro Tull, released in April 1970. It was the first Tull album to include pianist and organist John Evan as a session musician, though Evan would get so involved in the touring that he decided to became a permanent member of Jethro Tull. He would stay in the band until the Stormwatch tour, in 1980. Benefit was also the last to include bass guitarist Glenn Cornick, who was fired in the end of 1970 – right after, he founded the band Wild Turkey. The album was released in the beginning of 1970, which allowed the band to tour for a whole year. Their concerts at the time already showed an early version of "My God", which would later appear in Aqualung – the early version can be heard in the Isle of Wight festival and the Carnegie Hall tapes (released with the Deluxe Edition of Stand Up, in 2010).

Production[edit]

Martin Barre said that compared to previous albums, Benefit was a lot easier to create. He attributed this to the success of Stand Up, which allowed the musicians more freedom and artistic latitude.[4]

Additionally, Benefit saw the band incorporate more advanced studio techniques. These included back-tracking (flute and piano tracks on "With You There to Help Me"), and manipulating the tape speed (guitar on "Play in Time"). In a 1970 interview, Anderson noted that the addition of pianist/organist John Evan effectively changed the band's style: "John has added a new dimension musically and I can write more freely now. In fact, anything is possible with him at the keyboard".[5]

Musical Style[edit]

Benefit is more hard-rocking and shows less blues influence than its predecessor, Stand Up (1969).

Ian Anderson said that Benefit was a 'guitar riff' album, and noted that it was recorded in a year when artists like Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin were becoming more riff-oriented than in the past. Anderson also noted that Benefit is "a rather dark and stark album, and although it has a few songs on it that are rather okay, I don't think it has the breadth, variety or detail that Stand Up has. But it was an evolution in terms of the band playing as 'a band.'". Overall, Anderson considered the album "a natural part of the group's evolution".[6]

One good example of the album' music style is the "To Cry You a Song" track. As Barre put it: "The influence for that song was Blind Faith's 'Had To Cry Today,' although you couldn't compare the two; nothing was stolen, it was just a nice riff. The riff crossed over the bar in a couple of places and lan and I each played guitars on the backing tracks. It was more or less live in the studio with a couple of overdubs and a solo, lan played my Gibson SG and I played a Les Paul on it".[7]

Critical Reception[edit]

Benefit reached No. 3 in the UK album charts; No. 11 in the US and No. 2 in Norway.[8]

Despite selling well, critics were generally unimpressed with Benefit. Rolling Stone called the album "lame and dumb".[9]

Despite its poor critical reception, Benefit was supported by a full American tour. Tracks like "With You There To Help Me", and "To Cry You A Song" became staples in the band's repertoire, and their live performances (which often sold out 20,000-seat venues) established a strong reputation among fans. Bassist Glenn Cornick later said that the band was never better than they were at that time.[10]

Releases[edit]

In 2013, The Collector’s Edition of Benefit were released. It contains bonus tracks that had been mixed by Steven Wilson and approved by Ian Anderson. The edition contain also a CD2 with a mono and stereo disc of rare and previously unreleased versions of tracks and singles, and audio only DVD that includes a surround sound mix of Benefit. In addition, the Collector's Edition includes a booklet featuring an 8,000-word essay written by Martin Webb, as well as interviews with band members and a selection of photos, some of which are rare and previously unseen.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

In the movie Almost Famous, the song "Teacher" made a brief appearance.

British pop-rock band All About Eve cover "The Witch's Promise", one of the singles of Benefit.

In the "To Cry You A Song: A Collection Of Tull Tales", Glenn Hughes, widely known for working with Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Black Country Communion recorded his version of "To Cry you a song". In the same compilation, the song "Teacher" was recorde by a multitude of artists: Derek Sherinian on Keyboards, Ivan Drever in the Acoustic Guitar, Stuart Eaglesham on Vocals, Duncan Chisholm plays the Fiddle, Mick Abrahams (the original Tull guitarrist) plays the Guitar together with both original members Clive Bunker and Glenn Cornick.

Track listing[edit]

UK Release[edit]

All music composed by Ian Anderson.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "With You There to Help Me"   6:15
2. "Nothing to Say"   5:10
3. "Alive and Well and Living in"   2:43
4. "Son"   2:48
5. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"   3:47
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "To Cry You a Song"   6:09
7. "A Time for Everything?"   2:42
8. "Inside"   3:38
9. "Play in Time"   3:44
10. "Sossity; You're a Woman"   4:31

US Release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "With You There to Help Me"   6:15
2. "Nothing to Say"   5:10
3. "Inside"   3:46
4. "Son"   2:48
5. "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me"   3:47
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "To Cry You a Song"   6:09
7. "A Time for Everything?"   2:42
8. "Teacher"   3:57
9. "Play in Time"   3:44
10. "Sossity; You're a Woman"   4:31

Credits[edit]

Additional personnel

References[edit]

External links[edit]