Jethro Tull
Living in the Past


4.0
excellent

Review

by smaugman USER (17 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2015 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Living in the Past received critical acclaim from both professional critics and fans, and still stands as one of Jethro Tull's stronger releases.

Jethro Tull had existed only four years, yet they were well-known among many communities. The bluesy This Was was released in 1968 with generally favorable reviews and sold well. However, in 1969, they would release an ever better record called Stand Up . less bluesy, more folky. This record would boost their reputation and fan base, as it reached number one on the UK album chart.

Living in the Past is largely built up by Singels, EP songs and previously unreleased material. Same year as this, 1972, the groundbreaking Thick as a Brick was released with astounding, but divided results. Intended to be a parody of bombastic and "pretentious" songs by prog groups such as Yes's monstrous "Close to the Edge". Some praised it witfullness and complexity, others slammed it for hanging onto and copying other prog groups. On Living on the Past however, prog traces are rare to be found. You can find odd time signatures and unusual instrument usage many places, but this compilation album is not intended to blow you back and make you exclaim "wow!" in the same manner as Genesis' "Supper's Ready" or Jethro Tull's own TAAB.

What's so great about this album is that it show cases Jethro Tull's ability to spread over a great deal of musical territory. Genres such as folk, prog, blues, pop, rock, and dare I say classical, is touched throughout the 87 minute long album. Split between four sides, each side covers different parts of their sound. Side one contains many UK singles such as the popular self titled song, which alone reached number three on the UK top singles chart.

This album doesn't really have many clear stand out moments, however, it's very consistent with lots of great songs tucked in between each other. Most songs can make you jam along because it's not so insanely complex, the tunes are more laid-back with catchy and reflective melodies and lyrics. If there's something dear old Ian Anderson can make you do, it's getting you singing along his gorgeous and warm-hearted delivery of text and chords with his surprisingly clear and focused acoustic guitar and flute.

In midst of all the commercially potential singles, unreleased rare Jethro Tull songs you've probably never heard can be found. Side three consists of two lengthy live songs. One of them is largely a solo piano piece by John Evan. This song is quite enjoyable the first few minutes, unfortunately, it tends to drag a bit later on. Keeping a solo piece interesting for 10 minutes is quite hard, especially if you're not as good as legends such as Rick Wakeman or Tony Banks. On the other hand, the live version of "Dharma For One" is good. The band keeps a good chemical balance between each other, and plays it without mistakes. It also includes a drum solo delivered excellently by original drummer Clive Bunker.

Side four is probably my favorite off this. Songs from Tull's 1971 EP takes up most of the space here, save for the classic "Locomotive Breath" and the wonderful extended version of "Wond'ring Loud" called "Wond'ring Again". The other songs are Jethro Tull at its finest, delivering fresh tunes, one after another. Most of them are acoustically focused, with Martin Barre's electrical guitar scarcely used. "Dr. Bogenbroom is a fine number. In only three minutes, the whole band gets everything right, everything from the strange, but elegant keyboard play or guitar effect (not sure which). The album is wrapped up very nicely with an acoustic piece, much reminiscing other Tull work such as "Cheap Day Return" or "Slipstream" from Aqualung .

If you're thinking of getting your hands on this album (which I think you should), don't expect 22 minute pieces of complex music, but rather delicate sing-along songs which everyone can enjoy and appreciate.

Recommended tracks

Living in the Past
Sweet Dream
Witches Promise
Wond'ring Again
Dr Bogenbroom



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
smaugman
August 3rd 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fourth review

JamieTwort
August 3rd 2015


26988 Comments


Nice review.

This is a decent comp for sure. Love the original vinyl packaging for this as well, with the colour photo book in the middle.

smaugman
August 3rd 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I only got the iTunes mp3 version :/

JamieTwort
August 3rd 2015


26988 Comments


On Living on the Past however, prog traces are rare to be found. You can find odd time signatures and unusual instrument usage many places, but this compilation album is not intended to blow you back and make you exclaim "wow!" in the same manner as Genesis' "Supper's Ready"


Thought this was an interesting point. This is pretty much true of all Tull albums besides the two where they're basically parodying/taking the piss out of prog.

smaugman
August 3rd 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, even though I enjoy TAAB very, very much, but it doesn't build up to an epic ending like Supper's Ready does

JamieTwort
August 3rd 2015


26988 Comments


I'd take Thick as a Brick over Supper's Ready any day. I'd take it over any of the prog its parodying actually. The song writing is just on another level.

smaugman
August 3rd 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I cannot choose between the two

Jethro42
August 3rd 2015


15562 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^Apocalypse in 9/8 gets me everytime.



Great job on the review.



I need to relisten to this album in its entirety.

smaugman
August 3rd 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^thanks



also, the last instrumental section of supper's ready is so god damn good, especially the fadeout

meatwadsprite
August 6th 2015


7 Comments


well written, for the most part.

smaugman
August 6th 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

all parts ;)

e210013
August 8th 2015


2086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes, very well written, for the most part.



I agree with Jamie Twort. The song writing on TAAB is just on another level. TAAB is simply one of the best prog albums ever. It belongs to another "musical championship". The innovation on it is simply amazing.



However, don't get me wrong. Living in the Past is an excellent album, or compilation, as you wish.

smaugman
August 8th 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm just kidding with meatwadsprite, he's a friend of mine



and yes



and thanks

e210013
August 8th 2015


2086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, go ahead.



You're doing a good job.

TheIntruder
September 1st 2015


392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Living in the Past has a truly impressive set of songs, especially because is made by singles, EP songs and previously unreleased material, as you said. Nice review, man. Have a pos.

smaugman
September 1st 2015


4788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, the EP tracks are sort of hidden gems, not many have heard about them



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