This 2-CD/2-DVD set contains an amazing reissue of Jethro Tull’s second album released in the summer of 1969 as Stand Up: The Elevated Edition. Originally released in August of that year on the pink Island label in Europe and on the Reprise label in the States, this was a diverse album. It shows Tull moving away from the Blues-Rock sound that was on their 1968 debut, This Was, into more of a Progressive, Folk, Jazz, and Classical approach they were moving into.
By this time period in 1968, Mick Abrahams left the band to form Blodwyn Pig before the band went on to record the second album because he felt that they should stay to the Blues roots and tension was between him, Ian, and Glenn. Enter, Martin Lancelot Barre who would join to take Abrahams place on guitar and be the only band member with Ian from 1969 to 2011. It’s not a concept album, but it’s more of a lyrical structure album dealing with Ian Anderson’s relationship between the band members and his family.
This was also Ian’s writing all the lyrics and in full control of the music. What I love also about this amazing set, is the homage to the children’s pop-up cover of the band members done by woodcarver James Grashow who worked on the album cover of the Stand Up album. You have Bach’s Bouree done in the style of a walking Jazz-Classical melody thanks to the late great Glenn Cornick’s bass. He takes his Bass through the jazz melody before delving into a rhythm style groove in the midsection.
While this album is at times, semi-autobiographical from Ian’s point of view and dealing with his issues with his Mom and Dad on Back to the Family and For a Thousand Mothers, it shows while that you are on the road and while they might oppose to what you do, it is a struggle that you want their approval to know that you’re not a little kid anymore, but you’ve worked hard and hard to make it. These two tracks are bluesy, psychedelic, and showing nod to Traffic.
Fat Man is an intense Celtic Folk Rock foot-stomping rhythm with a thunderous percussion work done by Clive Bunker while Ian is punching through the incredible strumming on his Acoustic Guitar and the Mandolin as the song deals with while you are an easy target being picked on as the fat one, you know you’ll reach a boiling point by knowing they push you too far, you push back.
The opener A New Day Yesterday and Nothing Is Easy, which features a crunching heavy riff blues-rockin’ opener and Ian’s switch both from Harmonica to Flute is jaw-dropping along with Martin’s instrument going through a circular phasing sound as the sixth track with Martin delivering the message again as Clive delves into some of the essence of a mode style in the work of Buddy Rich.
Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s novels, Desolation Angels and Dharma Bums which Tull paid homage to Kerouac’s title on Dharma For One for This Was, We Used to Know is a moving and touching ballad on looking back on the winter of 1967 of him living in the Attic room in the coldest part of the day. The shillings in the lyric was him to put in the electric meter and get the electric fire. You have to imagine what Ian was going through during that rough period. It’s such a wonderful song and dealing with the hardships of struggling to make it big.
The bonus tracks contain the original 1969 mono single mixes, 1969 stereo single mixes, and new stereo mixes done by Steven Wilson who has done the new remix of the entire album, the singles Living in the Past and Driving Song. And it includes the studio in which the band were recording in Morgan Studios of doing a different version of Bouree. And BBC Sessions they did for John Peel who would later turn his back on Tull. Not to mention two radio spots for the second album.
The second CD contains a live performance they did on January 9, 1969 at the Stockholm Konserthuset in which they were a supporting act for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This contains the second show and you can close your eyes and be at the concert and witnessing this band giving the Blues Rocking powerhouse and knowing that they would get the audience’s stamp of approval.
Including different lyrics for the first show on To Be Sad is a Mad Way to Be. On Martin’s Tune, it is an incredible composition on the live performance of the second set. Both Ian and Martin are on fire and it’s almost as if they are taking turns between each other on who would do some improvisations between wood and guitar as it goes up higher and higher.
There is a calming moment in the last 3-minutes before descending into a climatic end with audience’s applauding at the right moment. Now with To Be Sad is a Mad Way to Be, features Glenn’s walking Bass lines along with the harmonica as the song they would take notes from Howlin’ Wolf or Willie Dixon as if they could have written this song for themselves or for Muddy Waters on the blues label, Checker Records.
Steven himself has done an amazing job capturing the spirit of the album with the new mix. He knew that the tracks had to be cleaned up and improved and bringing the vocals in front. For example on the single, Living in the Past, there was an Organ track which was issued in the 1972 issue irreversible of removing the flute track. But what Steven did was that he contained both the original and later mix and combined it into one.
The DVD contains both the new stereo mix, the original mix in a flat transfer, 5.1 mix, and concert footage of Tull at the Stockholm Konserthuset of the two clips containing To Be Sad is a Mad Way to Be and Back into the Family. The 112 booklet contains Nick Logan’s original report he wrote for the NME when he was on the road with Tull in 1969, Ian Anderson’s annotation of the album, Extensive article by Martin Webb about the making of Stand Up, a tribute to Glenn Cornick including his selected discography alongside Tull with Wild Turkey, The John Evan Band, The Executives, Karthago, and Paris.
An interview with James “Jimmy” Grashow, photos of the band, Remembering Andy Johns with an interview assistant Engineer, John Burns, and the full chronological 1969 tour dates and recording. This is a must have set if you are a Tull fan and for me, it’s one of my favorite albums that I highly recommend for either Christmas or Hanukkah that you need to have Santa to write that you want as a gift.
I would like to close out a small quote from Jack Kerouac’s novel, Desolation Angels; “Hope is a word like a snow-drift. This is the Great Knowing, this is the Awakening, this is Voidness. So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”