As they were getting a huge following after the release of their explosive debut, This Was, released in 1968, Jethro Tull decided it was time for a change of music after the following first album. With Mick Abrahams leaving to form Blodwyn Pig and enter new guitarist Martin Farre, Ian Anderson had suddenly had full control over the music and the lyrics in what would later become their most turning point and influential albums of 1969. Stand Up is where the band moved from being a Blues-based band to progressive hard rock band mixed in with some Classical and Folk music influences that Ian adored when he was young.
Don’t forget the opening of the gatefold sleeve of the pop-up design that makes you feel like you’re a kid at a bookstore looking at some of the original pop-up books and knowing that the band had a sense of humor in them, however the music and the compositions on the album aren’t just classic rock songs that you hear on the radio, but more of a journey to take you somewhere that you’ve never been before for a long, long time. The guitar driven riff intro of the opening A New Day Yesterday, is one of the most explosive beginnings of the albums introduction between the sound of Cream meets Mountain.
Ian is no fluke when it comes to songwriting and various movements have come into full circle that go from haunting, melodic, and humorous quirky beauty to come along with the taste of his mind coming in. Songs like; Back to the Family, Fat Man, We Used To Know, Look into the Sun, and Nothing is Easy were showing the band’s sound still had the blues influence and the rompous stomping sounds they would suddenly go into and the direction they were about to go into a different road area. And not to forget, the jazzy ballad of Bach’s Bouree featuring Glenn Cornick’s walking bass line including the solo in the midsection that could have given the composers in the classical world, the middle finger.
But as this is the collector’s edition of the reissue of Stand Up, it proves that there’s more where it came from. We have the symphonic pop flavored single of Living in the Past, which also features the Mono version of the piece while the soaring rocking boundaries of Sweet Dream, 17, and Driving Song could have been FM radio staples and a live favorite among Tull fans and also included is four songs they recorded for the late John Peel for his Top Gear radio sessions at the BBC back in 1969. But wait there’s more!
The live performance of the band performing at New York’s Carnegie Hall in November of 1970 shows this is an volcanic explosive live recording performance of the band’s journey into the road they were about to embark on. They were there to promote Stand Up and their upcoming album, Benefit, it’s a goose bumping document and makes you feel that you are in the Hall watching the band, not give just a concert, but a breathtaking experience that you will talk about for years and years to come.
With dazzling versions of A Song for Jeffrey, To Cry You a Song, With You There To Help Me, and For a Thousand Mothers that had audiences jaw dropping of Ian’s singing and have them in tears when they blew the crowd away with their music. Meanwhile, there’s a thunderstorm performance of the 13-minute earlier version of My God which would later be on Aqualung, shows Ian’s mind-blowing flute solo as they would clap along to the rhythm to get them into the beat. It has some amazing compositions that had the band members enjoying themselves as if they were in a boxing match and duking it out to see who would win the match and take home the gold.
Even though the band would go through various line-ups, Ian Anderson and the Tull train keeps on chugging to influence a new generation of fans to go deeper into their music and looking at Stand Up, proves it’s not just an album, but it’s like going through a time machine and seeing what real music is that you’ll enjoy listening to and this is one of them.