This Was

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This Was
Jethro Tull - This Was fron cover.jpg
Studio album by Jethro Tull
Released 25 October 1968 (UK)
3 February 1969 (US)
Recorded 13 June 1968 – 23 August 1968 at Sound Techniques, Chelsea, London
Genre Blues rock, jazz fusion, folk rock
Length 38:21
42:55 (remaster)
126:30 (collector's edition)
Language English
Label Island, Reprise
Producer Terry Ellis, Jethro Tull
Jethro Tull chronology
This Was
Stand Up

This Was is the debut album by the progressive rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1968. Recorded at a cost of only £1200, it is the only studio album to feature guitarist Mick Abrahams. The good reception of the album permitted the band to perform in the Marquee Club, where other successful British groups started their careers, such as The Rolling Stones and The Who.[1]


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.

  • The music to "My Sunday Feeling", "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You", "Beggar's Farm" and "It's Breaking Me Up" and are based on blues progressions, with "Some Day the Sun Won't Shine for You" 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, in "Move on Alone". Mick Abrahams, the song's author, provided 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 Abraham's' 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.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]
NME (favourable)[3]
Melody Maker (favourable)[4]
Robert Christgau C−[5]
BBC Music (favourable)[6]

This Was received generally favourable reviews and sold well upon its release. New Musical Express wrote a positive review in 1968, saying that the album "sounds good and has a lot of humour about it". About their style, the review said, "They play jazz really, in a soft, appealing way, and have a bit of fun on the side with tone patterns and singing".[7]

Melody Maker said, "From the opening number to the last track, the LP is full of excitement and emotion".[8]

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 Albums Chart[9] and number 62 on the Billboard 200.

Track listing[edit]

1968 original release[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[edit]

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, non-LP single tracks and the BBC sessions recorded by the band in 1968 for John Peel's "Top Gear".


Jethro Tull
Additional personnel


  1. ^ "a strange bamboo flute with a saxophone mouthpiece attached to it called a claghorn – a dreadful instrument that I invented" – Ian Anderson[10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Eder, Bruce. This Was – Jethro Tull at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  3. ^ Evans, Allen (26 October 1968). "This Was: Jethro Tull". NME. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Jethro Tull LP Sets Fans on Fire". Melody Maker. 2 November 1968. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (14 August 1969). "Consumer Guide (3)". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Music - Review of Jethro Tull - This Was". 2001-09-24. Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 282. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  10. ^ Ian Anderson interview with BBC Radio Scotland, 27 August 2001

External links[edit]