Living In The Past

Jethro Tull

Chrysalis Records, 1972



Jethro Tull has been a favorite on FM radio since its heyday, and still is on today's classic rock stations. Tull's most famous album was 1971's Aqualung, which was heavily played on my turntable during high school. (I discovered Jethro Tull in later years; I was a freshman in 1979.)

Tunes from other Tull albums such as Living In The Past and Bungle in The Jungle were also getting airplay, as was the short version of "Thick As A Brick." Even so, the many tunes on Aqualung still stand out in my mind.

Tull's debut This Was is a fantastic look at the blues, though blues would soon be replaced by Ian Anderson's dominating flute arrangements. Their Stand Up release was a warm-up of that sound, which came on full-tilt on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Aqualung. Living In The Past was released a year later, in 1972, and continues the progressive / classic rock format Jethro Tull was becoming famous for. Living In The Past is really a compilation release, including songs from previous albums (not many), new songs (many), and live tracks (few).

The beginning track ("Song For Jeffrey") was originally from their bluesy debut album, yet the vocals are very light to hear. Experimenting with a folkish sound, songs such as "Love Story" and "Witches Promise" show Jethro Tull displaying a great sound, away from the classic rock style heard on Aqualung. "Witches Promise" is fantastic, likewise the other folkish-sounding tunes "Christmas Song" and "Just Trying To Be."

For those who enjoy the progressive rock side of Jethro Tull, there's "Driving Song," "Sweet Dream," "Singing All Day" and "Inside," a song that was originally from Tull's second album, Benefit. And another tune, "Alive And Well And Living In," could have easily fit on the Aqualung album with its classic rock sound.

There are two live tracks. "By Kind Permission Of" is a 10-minute song that shows the classical side of Jethro Tull. Its piano-dominated sound is comparable to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," with a few Ian Anderson flute effects. The second live track, also 10 minutes in length, was originally from the studio release This Was. "Dharma For One" has a more progressive Emerson, Lake & Palmer sound (let us not forget the extended drum solo).

"Wond'ring Again" is another track that could easily fit Aqualung, close to its actual track, "Wond'ring Aloud." "Hymn 43" is a great classic rock track. The folkish sound returns on "Life Is A Long Song," "Up The 'Pool," "Dr. Bogenbroom" and "Nursie," all pleasant tunes with more of the "Thick As A Brick" sound. The instrumental "For Later" takes more of a progressive rock approach, but the flute effects of Ian Anderson make the song stand out as a recognizable Jethro Tull tune.

Living In The Past relives the past of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull, a band that's truly one of the finest in rock history, and that should become part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the near future.

Rating: A

User Rating: A


© 2003 Eric E5S16 and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Chrysalis Records, and is used for informational purposes only.