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4.4 out of 5 stars23
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 28 August 2001
So here it is, the place where the 30 year+andstill going journey began, and if the group decided to re shoot the album cover today, it'd look much the same without the make up! 'This Was' is Jethro Tulls first album, but even here their distinctive sound is apparent. The album is note-worthy also for being the only one in Tulls' vast back catalogue not featuring Martin Barre on guitar, he only joined for the second album,(Stand Up), and here his space is filled by Mick Abrahams, who left the band shortly after this album to form Blodwyn Pig and has seldom been seen since! The album is more Blues tinged than any Tull album since,(Abrahams influence?), Tracks like 'Someday the sun won't shine for you' and 'my sunday feeling' being the more obvious cases. Also missing from most tracks is Andersons trademark flute playing, here largely replaced by the more blues appropriate harmonica. The most 'Tull-like' track here is 'Song for Jeffrey', which still remains a Tull classic, and was the shape of things to come.Anderson also shares song writing duties on this album, which he has seldom done since. All in all a good album, which launched my favourite band into world before I was born, but 33 years on they're still at it, so something must be right eh?
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on 27 September 2001
Everybody knows that Tull started off as a blues band. This wasn't exactly an original thing to be in 1968 and, indeed, by the time of the album's release the band's sound had moved on, hence the title 'This Was'. As a blues band, Jethro Tull were OK - a sight better than the dreary likes of Chicken Shack, Ten Years After or Savoy Brown. 'Beggar's Farm' is a most effective song and the opening track 'My Sunday Feeling' even had a spate as a Northern Soul dance floor filler after I played it to a DJ friend. Despite the incomprehensible lyrics, 'Song For Jeffrey' is also excellent and notable for some tasty slide work by Mick Abrahams. Other songs are standard blues fare or overlong instrumentals; not bad overall but far from great. The additional tracks are welcome. 'One For John Gee' isn't very good but sure is hard to come by. 'Love Story', the band's last recording with Mick Abrahams, is already in a very different style to 'This Was' while 'Christmas Song', a more-or-less solo performance from Ian Anderson was indicative of a new folkier direction.
I have to say something about the packaging of these new remasters: 4/10 to Chrysalis for a total lack of effort. Sure, they're not as bad as the old CDs (which were simply shabby beyond belief) but they're still not good - indifferent front artwork, no photos, press cuttings or lyrics and only skeletal notes (though penned by Ian Anderson which is good).
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on 31 March 2015
It was actually listening to the vinyl reissue of Aqualung as part of the 40th anniversary box set that got me back into listening to vinyl - the remix of this and new pressing had so much more presence and vibrancy than my old '80's Chrysalis blue label version. I've never actually owned This Was on vinyl before so it was a joy to be able to put the needle down and listen to this as it was intended. I can't comment on how it sounds compared to previous vinyl versions but considering the quality of the original recordings it comes over really well. The vinyl is a good heavy weight and comes in a vinyl lined paper sleeve with a replica green Chrysalis label - I'm not sure why they couldn't replicate the original pink eye Island label it was released on in 1968 rather than copy the 1973 reissue, but I grew up with the Chrysalis green labels so it still feels quite authentic to me. I didn't actually get this from Amazon but from my local HMV which was just as well as my first copy had an unfortunate deep scratch on Beggar's Farm but my second copy was perfect with no obvious surface noise, which unfortunately can't be said of many reissues these days.
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'This Was' was the evergreen J Tull's debut album, from back in 1968, when the world was much different to today. It's unlike anything that the band would go on to record, it being more Bluesy in feel and content. No doubt some of this was down to the presence of guitarist Mick Abrahams, who was replaced by Martin Barre for 'Stand Up', the next album, and has been the band's guitar incumbent ever since. I'm reviewing the album from the reissued vinyl edition, and it must be said that Universal have done the record proud. It sounds refreshed, vivid and engaging, much as it did way back when. Ian Anderson is in great musical form, offering up a cool take on his hero Rahsaan Roland Kirk's 'Serenade To A Cuckoo', and Abrahams own 'Move On Alone', with his jangling nine-string guitar is an unexpected treat. He gets to stretch out on the mighty rave-up Cat's Squirrel, but it's Anderson who ultimately shines, with his breathy flute interludes and his jazzy vocal phrasing - 'My Sunday Feeling' fairly springs from the speakers, and in this newly-tooled / remixed mode sounds as gutsy as ever. As I said, it isn't like anything else they'd do, but it is a wonderful, unique record. And I Love it.
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on 21 July 2008
Like many other bands of the time, Tull rose from the blues movement, (where else with Mick Abrahams on board), but even in those early days it was not Tulls way to just toe the line. While their predecessors (cream etc) were now blazing trails on the psychedelic rock scene, much of the material on this debut album fused blues, rock and jazz to great effect.

This set the pattern for all early Tull releases, always innovative, keeping one step in front of the competition.

The inclusion of 4 instrumentals may be considered a bit excessive by some but think on 2 or 3 years to the likes of Vann der graaf generator and co, who I often thought suffered from terminal laryngitis, and it could equally be argued HOW forward thinking they were, anyway they're all good numbers.

Favourite tracks are 'Beggar's farm' and 'My sunday feeling' but everything on here oozes life and energy and above all quality.

If you've been put off by what you've heard from other blues bands, do yourself a favour and try this, its a lesson on how to play the blues with style.
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on 16 August 2010
'It's okay' would be a fitting summary of this album. 'My Sunday Feeling' and 'A Song For Jeffery' are the stand-outs here, and the rest chugs along nicely through various instrumentals and blues numbers. A good listen but Jethro Tull were soon to improve dramatically on this with 'Stand Up' and 'Aqualung'.
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on 21 January 2015
Excellent remastered pair of CD's, demonstrating the foresight of this band. They must have had a good idea that they were going to progress from this blues / rock influenced part of their evolution to have used 'This Was ...' as the title. There is though elements of what we would expect from Tull over the years and this sounds as good as it did when these tracks were first released.

Interesting sleeve notes included which is always a bonus!
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on 2 May 2013
This was the first Tull album and it is not bad (despite the fact that several state it as being their worst). Hints of what was to come can be heard on songs like "My Sunday Feeling", and "Cat's Squirrel" was the highlight of their set in the earliest days. However, the mix of blues based and more straight ahead rock numbers is a little uneasy (and there were plenty of better blues bands around) giving the album a certain lack of coherence. A reasonable first step, however.

This is the only album not to feature guitarist Martin Barre (it has original guitarist Mick Abrahams).
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on 5 May 2016
Fabulous album,the stereo version on vinyl, fabulous on my Pro-Ject Xperience turntable, crisp treble and full bass lines, very little not to love here.
Added bonus of the auto-rip, in-fact the collectors edition, a 35 track opus complete with mono version, sounds great via the Fire-Stick to my DAC and audio gear.
All in all a glorious package delivered next day with Prime. I'm very very happy.
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on 9 February 2016
bought for nostalgia as i bought it when it first came out. serenade to a cuckoo still sounded good and didnt actually mind dharma for one even though it had a drum solo on it .a song for jeffrey was good too .the remainder was just ok.
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