This Was

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This Was
Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 25 October 1968
Recorded 13 June 1968 – 23 August 1968 at Sound Techniques, Chelsea, London
Genre Blues rock
Length 38:21
Language English
Label Island, Reprise
Producer Terry Ellis, Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull chronology
This Was
(1968)
Stand Up
(1969)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
NME (favourable)[2]
Melody Maker (favourable)[3]
Robert Christgau C−[4]

This Was is the debut album by the rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1968. Recorded at a cost of only £1200 GBP, the album received generally favourable reviews and sold well upon its release. In the documentary film of the Woodstock Festival, portions of the songs "Beggar's Farm" and "Serenade to a Cuckoo" may be heard on the PA system, indicating the level of notice the album achieved in the United States. The album reached number 10 on the UK Album Chart[5] and number 62 on the Billboard 200.

Music[edit]

While vocalist Ian Anderson's creative vision largely shaped Jethro Tull's later albums, on This Was Anderson shared songwriting duties with Tull's guitarist Mick Abrahams. In part due to Abrahams' influence, the album incorporates more rhythm and blues and jazz influences than the progressive rock the band later became known for. In particular:

  • The music to "Beggar's Farm", "My Sunday Feeling", "It's Breaking Me Up" and "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You" are based on blues progressions, with the latter song arranged similarly to Big Bill Broonzy's blues standard "Key to the Highway".
  • "Cat's Squirrel" (included in the album "because people like it", according to the liner notes) was written by Doctor Ross and covered as an instrumental by numerous 1960s British blues bands, perhaps most notably by Cream. Mick Abrahams would later perform the song in his post-Jethro Tull blues band Blodwyn Pig.
  • The album includes a cover version of Roland Kirk's jazz standard "Serenade to a Cuckoo". According to the liner notes, "Cuckoo" was one of the first tunes Ian Anderson learned to play on the flute.
  • The coda of "My Sunday Feeling" incorporates quotes from two well-known jazz tunes, Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme" (specifically the song's bass line, played as a short solo by Glenn Cornick) and Nat Adderley's and Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Work Song".

This Was also contains the only Jethro Tull lead vocal not performed by Ian Anderson on a studio album, "Move on Alone". Mick Abrahams, the song's author, provides vocals on the track; David Palmer provided the horn arrangement. Abrahams left Jethro Tull following the album's completion in a dispute over "musical differences". Thus, the album's title probably refers to Abahams' blues influence on the album and how blues weren't the direction Anderson wanted the band to go. As said in the liner notes of the original record "This was how we were playing then – but things change – don't they?"

The song "Dharma for One", a staple of Tull's early concerts (usually incorporating an extended drum solo by Clive Bunker), was later covered by Ekseption, Pesky Gee! and The Ides of March.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "My Sunday Feeling"   Ian Anderson 3:43
2. "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You"   Anderson 2:49
3. "Beggar's Farm"   Mick Abrahams, Anderson 4:19
4. "Move on Alone"   Abrahams 1:58
5. "Serenade to a Cuckoo" (instrumental) Roland Kirk 6:07
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Dharma for One" (instrumental) Anderson, Clive Bunker 4:15
7. "It's Breaking Me Up"   Anderson 5:04
8. "Cat's Squirrel" (instrumental) Traditional, arranged by Abrahams 5:42
9. "A Song for Jeffrey"   Anderson 3:22
10. "Round" (instrumental) Anderson, Abrahams, Bunker, Glenn Cornick, Terry Ellis 1:03
  • The 2001 remastered CD added three bonus tracks (which had been on the 20 Years of Jethro Tull box-set) and extensive liner notes.

40th Anniversary Collectors' Edition

  • A deluxe two-CD fortieth anniversary edition was released in 2008. It contains the original mono version, a stereo version remixed from the original four-track session tapes, and two additional bonus studio tracks, "Sunshine Day" and "So Much Trouble".

Credits[edit]

Additional personnel

Release history[edit]

  • 25 October 1968 (UK)
  • 3 February 1969 (US)

Labels

Length

  • 42:55 (remaster)
  • 126:30 (deluxe)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eder, Bruce. This Was – Jethro Tull at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  2. ^ Evans, Allen (26 October 1968). "This Was: Jethro Tull". NME. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Jethro Tull LP Sets Fans on Fire". Melody Maker. 2 November 1968. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (14 August 1969). "Consumer Guide (3)". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Chart
  6. ^ Claghorn:

    "a strange bamboo flute with a saxophone mouthpiece attached to it called a claghorn – a dreadful instrument that I invented"

    —Ian Anderson, interview with BBC Radio Scotland, 27 August2001 [1]

External links[edit]