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This Was Original recording remastered, Extra tracks

4.3 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, January 8, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Their 1968 debut was heavily blues-influenced, due mostly to guitarist Mick Abrahams. Highlights are Song for Jeffrey and Anderson's flute workout Serenade to a Cuckoo , while bonus tracks include One for John Gee; Love Story , and Christmas Song .
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 8, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Chrysalis / Capitol
  • ASIN: B00005NTJM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,151 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As Ian Anderson intended to convey by the title of this album, "this was" the sort of music Tull were making in 1968.
Having reshuffled a few times (and changed names a few times, too) from the "John Evan Band," Tull at this time consisted of Ian Anderson, guitarist Mick Abrahams (later of Blodwyn Pig), bassist Glenn Cornick (who remained with the band through _Stand Up_ and _Benefit_), and drummer/percussionist Clive Bunker (who stuck around through _Aqualung_). Anderson, who to this day describes himself as a frustrated guitarist, had recently switched to the flute, an instrument on which he figured (correctly) Clapton wasn't likely to outclass him anytime soon. (He had also invented a wee beastie called the "claghorn," a flutelike instrument with a mouthpiece like a saxophone. Jeffrey Hammond made it, and Anderson plays it on "Dharma for One".)
People who know only the later Tull may be surprised by this album. It's mostly blues; Anderson swaps off on harmonica and shares both vocals and cowriting credits with Abrahams (a fine blues guitarist who wrote "Move On Alone" by himself and is credited with the arrangement of the traditional "Cat's Squirrel"). There's also a cover of Roland Kirk's "Serenade to a Cuckoo" (which Anderson says is the first song he ever learned to play on the flute) and the aforementioned "Dharma for One" (a live version of which appeared on _Living in the Past_ a few years later). Most famous, perhaps, is "A Song for Jeffrey," since a song involving Jeffrey Hammond appeared on each of the first three Tull LPs. (Hammond wasn't yet a member of the band; he replaced Cornick as of _Aqualung_.)
Good stuff, at any rate, and this recent remastering is well done.
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Format: Audio CD
This Was - one can only imagine that the title was the roduct of typical Anderson dry ironic wit - 'This Was' Tull's first album - and perhaps they imagined at the time, their last. It was not to be. Tull keep pumping them out thirty five years on.
This Was tends to be overlooked in the rush to celebrate discs like Aqualung, Thick as a Brick et al - but wait. Don't dismiss the embryonic Tull. For one it is the only album to feature Mick Abrams, later of Blodwyn Pig, one of the most under-rated guitarists Britain has ever produced. Whereas Tull's subsequent work bore the unmistakable stamp of singer/flautist/songwriter Ian Anderson, This Was is a fusion between the Anderson vision and Abrams'. The result is a raw, woody fusion of rock, jazz and blues. Abrams' skill is undoubted, Anderson's flute style is in its infancy and has yet to reach its technical heights - but in common with so many first albums This Was is propelled by the self evident energy and enthusiasm of a group of musicians in the studio for their first real attemt at recording (odd singles projects etc aside). It is that energy that makes This Was so exciting. Long before Tull became a stadium regular and their creativity became a little coloured by success - they were genuinely leading edge. Anderson's stage antics and their raw sound got the pop scene of 1968 really excited. It was a time of unrest and revolution and in their own curious way (they never manned the barricades) Tull Mk I capture that. After Stand Up, This Was is my favourite Tull album. Tull for me are about joi de vivre rather than progressive cleverness - and that is as evident here as at any stage of their career.
Jolph
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Format: Audio CD
Some debut albums obviously suggest what's going to come from a band, while others don't (this doesn't make them any better or worse than the other). Pink Floyd's debut "The Piper At the Gates of Dawn" contained little if nothing at all that suggested this was the band that would later record the scathing "Animals" and "The Wall." The Who's first album "My Generation" was full of cheeky insolence but it certainly didn't give a preview to such great works as "Quadrophenia." Then again, other debuts make their mark and reveal exactly what a band or artist will sound like at their peak; Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut had enough heavy metal crunch to affirm that they would become the ultimate arena vikings of the 70s; Bruce Springsteen's "Greetings From Asbury Park N.J." was an obvious pointer at the anthems-for-the-downtrodden-blue-collar-class that made him famous.

And then there's Jethro Tull's auspicious first round "This Was." At the time, there had rarely been such gutsy performances from a group making their debut, even in the progressive rock scene. Prog pioneers King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King" was still a short while away, and "This Was" was a landmark recording that gave definite clues as to the uncharted territories that the progressive movements would take listeners to, despite the fact that Tull was obviously heavy into blues roots. But the interpretations of blues and jazz influences here are brave and often challenging, with such standout cuts as `Serenade to a Cuckoo,' `Someday the Sun Won't Shine For You,' and the bizarre, unintelligible `A Song For Jeffrey.
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