This, the third Tull album, followed This Was and Stand Up. In its time, Benefit as well-received and it sold well, although Stand Up did perhaps have a little more popular acclaim. Stand Up had been an album of rather more gentle melody but Benefit was a little harder-edged: an album with rather more electric guitar. Although not fundamentally a blues album as had been This Was, one can still hear that the band is really not that far removed from the blues, especially on the track 'to cry you song,' which is Tull at their best, and not in the least dated.
I always remember a contemporary 'top 100 of all time' list which contained a review of Stand Up and Benefit in which these albums were described as containing 'tight, riffy songs, full of melody and ripe with wit.' This is still the best description of Tull that I have ever heard, and one which I still retain in my memory. Without doubt, this was the fresh, golden age of the band. Benefit, for me, is still their pinnacle, and along with Stand Up, Living in th Past, Aqualung, Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses, contains their best work. I regret tht I am not keen on the mediocre albums from the mid seventies ('Brick' Warchild, Minstrel and Passion Play), nor on the very heavy and muddy style found on Stormwatch and Broadsword. I do quite like the lighter and more clean melody of Under Wraps, but the rest of the eighties stuff leaves me cold. If you are starting to listen to Tull, go for Benefit, Stand Up and Living in the Past. These I have never tired of, not even after 35 years.