on 23 October 2003
When I first heard this album, I did not realise that it was a compilation album. I think this says something about how well the tracks were chosen and put together on what must be considered as one of Jethro Tull's finest.
The album has all of the traditional elements which make early Jethro Tull music so great. It combines upbeat folk guitar styles, with Anderson's exquisite, and sometimes frantic flute playing. The lyrics are thoughtful and are delivered in such a way by Anderson, that you feel confident in what he is expressing.
What makes this album truly great though is the way it mixes the laid back playful nature of folk with the more jazzy edgier rock motifs which work their way in many songs.
If you are a fan of Jethro Tull and especially early Jethro Tull then you will enjoy this album immensely. As well as containing many great tracks from the adrenaline releasing "locamotive breath" to the funky "For later" and the philosophical "wond'ring again", it contains two astonishing live tracks. These are "By kind permission of" and "Dharma for one" and showcase Clive Bunker's extraordordinary talent.
If you are a fan of progressive music from the early seventies, then I think this should definitely be in your collection.
Jethro Tull are a fantastic and unique band who have constantly evolved, defied genre expectations and classifications constantly and created some truly wonderful and interesting music. If you are thinking about getting into the band I would strongly recommend that you do.
If you are new to the band though, either picking up a greatest hits compilation (of which there are many) to get a broad overview of the band, or diving straight in to one of their classic albums like Aqualung, Thick As A Brick, Songs From The Wood or Broadsword' may serve you as a better starting point than Living In The Past.
Jethro Tull's early career before Aqualung, doesn't sit as neatly for easy pick up as a prospective fan may want. While they released albums as normal for today's artists, this was as well as singles that weren't off the albums, an EP and even a separate single accidentally under the name 'Jethro Toe,' and so if you wanted to collect it all it would likely come in eight or nine individual purchases at a great expense.
If you are a fan or prospective fan today, the best way to acquire most of the non-album tracks in one simple solution is to get a hold of Living In The Past, which for today's Tull buyers can serve as a compilation of all the rare pre-Aqualung material and that is so good it sounds almost like a fifth Jethro Tull studio album.
Sometimes this album is a bit of a headache to talk about, explain and file because the name 'Living In The Past, with this artwork has actually been released many times, in different versions to serve slightly different purposes; be it in 19 track single disc rarities album form as it is on this particular version, or in 20, 21 and 23 track versions in different countries on cd or vinyl that sometimes they feature studio-album tracks to give it a more 'greatest hits feel.'
Ignoring the history of the set and the various editions, Living In The Past is a very good album to listen to, containing a lot of varied and interesting Jethro Tull material in a range of styles, speeds and even band line ups. There are acoustic moments, hard rocking moments and live solo filled numbers with all the virtuosic musicianship you'd expect.
While the album has its share of rockers, laid back numbers and classic singles. There are also tracks like the odd and whimsical ode to British Seaside Resort, Black Pool, Lanashire, called `Up The `Pool,', as well as `Wond'ring Again,' which finds a full song in the style of the very brief Aqualung track `Wond'ring Aloud,' that offer a different side to the band.
Popular and enduring tracks such as 'Life Is A Long Song,' 'The Witch's Promise,' and 'Sweet Dream,' can be found here, the sort of songs that will be found on greatest hits shows and live albums and that the majority of Tull fans will love. They are also available as bonus tracks on certain editions of regular Tull studio-albums, so you may not want to buy the set only for their inclusion if you are considering taking your listening experience further.
If you are undecided as to whether or not this set is for you, take a quick look a the track listing, and see if there are enough tracks you don't already own to justify buying it, all the songs are of a good quality and are all worth your time so its really down to if you already have most of them on other Tull cds.
Overall, This is a great collection of top quality music. It may not be the best starting point for new fans, and it may not be necessary for those who will buy all the remasters, but for everyone in between it is certainly a good purchase, one that people will often describe as their favourite Tull album as though it were an actual studio release, which is a pretty strong recommendation.
on 12 August 2011
It's very hard to pick a favourite Jethro Tull album but this lovely old scrapbook is hard to beat and covers the magic of their early years, filling in the cracks between the albums and collecting the singles too (Jethro Tull - singles ? It sounds odd now doesn't it). This was never off my turntable back then and the original gatefold sleeve with marvellous photos of the band made it one of my most prized possessions. It was never the rock or blues sound of Jethro Tull that captured my imagination, although they did that very well, but what marked them out was their English charm and whimsy. They weren't quite the pastoral sound of some of the Canterbury bands but more a wonderful hybrid that suggested all sorts of images, from picture postcards to the Beatles, Edwardian literature, northern humour, music hall and whatever else you could hear. There was also a great love and tenderness about some of the songs and playing that really endeared them to the listener. The title track was Tull at their best; fascinating idea and composition, lightness of tone and touch in the way it skips along, great musicianship, original instrumentation, and great lyrics. Two of my absolute favourites are on here too; the very simple and affecting Inside and the affectionate tribute to the once lovely old Blackpool (Up the Pool) to which I can still remember all the words !
on 8 May 2007
This was the first Tull album I heard; As i played flute someone thought that I may like it; Witches Promise was the chosen track and I was instantly hooked. That remains one of my all time favourite Tull tracks.
I was fortunate to see them live twice and they were even better than I expected; Ian Anderson was a mainc genius who could not only write great songs but was a fantastic musician and performer.
The 2 live tracks are amazing and amongst the most played out of the entire collection of Tull albums I have.
The other tracks are shorter and some are more folk like in sound. Up The 'Pool is great fun and some of the accoustic giutar playing is first class. The whole album comes together brillaintly and if you havent heard it or of Jethro Tull then it is a must buy
on 12 March 2012
This album is a kind of round-up of Jethro Tulls' music up to and including Aqualung, circa 1971. It is made up of album tracks, singles, B-sides, previously unreleased material and two live offerings.Of the previously unreleased tracks, 'Wondring Again' is superb,and slightly stands apart from any other Tull tracks of the period.Of the two live tracks John Evans' piano piece 'By Kind Permission of' often gets by-passed when I have played this album but 'Dharma for One', complete with vocals which were not present on the original, is a fantastic and powerful track.If you are new to Tull then this album would be a good way to acquaint yourself with their early material, and if you are an old Tull fan then you will surely have it already. My only beef with the CD is that they needed to lose one track to get the total time down to 75 minutes to fit onto one disc and decided to omit 'Teacher' when there were weaker tracks or tracks available on other albums that could have been omitted instead.
One of the highlights of the Tull's recording career - of the Benefit and Aqualung era - this is a superbly selected collection of tracks, only a few of which come from actual LPs (or whatever you young whipper-snappers call them these days...).
Delicious bubbling infectious glorious music driven by Anderson's swooping flute backed by the finest rhythm section in the land...
Where to start? "Living in the Past" pretty much summarises the whole magical ethos of early 70s Tull. Flutes, acoustic and electric guitar, brilliant bass-lines and jazzy drumming ... and brilliant piano from Mr. Evan. How about "Witches Promise", or "Wond'ring Again" or "Life is a Long Song" or "Up the Pool" or... or... or...
Just lovely... bootiful... pastoral British Rock at its finest.
Highly recommended (even the drum solo). Well, perhaps not... and, of course, the inimitable "Locomotive Breath".
Ah, those were the halcyon days
Although there have been several Jethro Tull compilations in the forty-odd years since 'Living In The Past' was released, it remains one of their finest. I lost my way a bit with JT after their third album, 'Benefit', dipping in and out of their catalogue from time to time. This album - I bought it as a vinyl reissue, of course - contains some tracks that existed only on singles, some live recordings, the odd out-take - but if this sounds like a bit of a grab-bag of odds and ends, then guess again. It's a remarkably consistent and nicely-programmed set that serves to illustrate well the many aspects of the Jethro Tull 'thing'. There's touches of jazz ('Bouree'), the unlikely hit single ('Living In The Past' - which sounds utterly fabulous here) and excerpts from the conceptual 'Aqualung' and so on. It may make you want to delve deeper, but I think you'll end up coming back to this set many times over. The new vinyl pressing, with a vintage Green Chrysalis label, is fabulous - never sounded better, and the packaging is likewise nicely rendered. Heartily recommended.
on 12 February 2010
I bought this original double vinyl issue on its release. I thought then that it was a bit of a mish-mash and still do, though for different reasons.
The well presented package consised of a collection of Tull's non-album and album singles, b-sides, some previously unreleased songs, two Carnege Hall live recordings, of which one, a near 10 minute drum solo, I could do without. The music concluded with the entirity of the "Life's a Long Song" five track EP.
Originally I thought the package could have been a single album minus the live songs and the EP that many fans had purchased fairly recently. Now however, my opinion has changed. I can still do without the drum solo, but as most or the songs have been issued as extra tracks on the re-mastered albums, I have yet to find the EP tracks elsewhere.
The CD transfer deletes several tracks to ficilitate the use if a single disc. Why "Teacher" is dropped while album singles are retained is my biggest gripe. but then you can't always get what you want! There may be a song in that?
on 16 April 2012
This collection of old and 15 unreleased tracks is not a bad example of the greatness of Jethro Tull featuring some of their greatest treasures. This was one of the First Tull's I obtained before moving onto the classics of the 70s so I was delighted with the overall package. If these are the outcasts, the actual albums must certainly be excellent.
It begins with a great pomp romp in Song For Jeffrey, and moves onto the very infectious Christmas Song. Living In The Past is quintessential of course and remains one of my favourite songs. The way Ian Anderson's flute just floats along on a whimsical chord structure is a phenomenal original touch. Another awesome song is Bourée and the wonderful Teacher.
Witch's Promise is a firm fan favourite and it was a surprise to hear a live version of By Kind Permission Of and Dharma For One that clocks about 10 minutes with lengthy flute solos and some scintillating guitar riffs from Martin Barre.
Wond'ring Again is a genuine delight as well as Hymn 43 and Life Is A Long Song, that sound weird outside the context of their classic album material, but are still as welcome. Overall this is certainly one way to be introduced to the master of theatrical whimsy. Indulge and enjoy!
on 21 November 2015
An album track gleaned from each of their previous albums, a scatter of minor hit singles that previously never appeared on the LP format, some left-over songs from album sessions that these days would be called "bonus tracks", and a couple of live dinosaurs -- a "best of" album that appeals to almost everyone. Tull's equivalent of Floyd's "Relics" and the Purp's "24 Carat Purple", all of which came out at about the same time to fill the gaps between their musical roots and the prog stage that had catapaulted them all to the big time. This CD version misses a track or two from the orignal LP format (not enough run time to fit them all on), but these can be found on the newly remastered "Benefit" CD.
The curiosity here is the live "By Kind Permission Of", a piano-based isntrumental that owes its origins to Wakeman's live solo pieces with his original band the Strawbs. The riffs and chord progressions all sound very familiar from classical and jazz fields, but are just different enough to avoid copyright infringement, something Ian Anderson became a stickler for in later years. A prophet -- or just a profit?