Top positive review
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This Was............Tull at their best!
on 5 August 2008
"This Was" was one of my favourite albums of 1968. I bought it on vinyl LP at the time, then on CD in the early `90s, in 2001 the remaster and now the 40th anniversary edition. Hopefully that's cracked it now!
This 2008 version is superb, if only all reissues were as comprehensive as this - Tim Chacksfield's name under the compilers credit usually guarantees a well researched compilation and this one is no exception. Add Abbey Road's Peter Mew as the remasterer / remixer and you know it's going to sound good too.
On CD 1 the original mono mix has been remastered and sounds just great. In 1968 the mono mix usually got more attention than the stereo mix of many albums and this mix is somewhat different to the more often heard stereo mix from that time. The rest of the first CD is filled with tracks from the BBC's John Peel sessions - many are live versions of tracks from the album, but some are songs from the band's live set of the time. The sound restoration quality of these old tapes is amazing, and gives an idea of how good the band would have sounded live in 1968.
CD 2 is a new (2008) remix of the stereo version of "This Was", and sounds quite different to the original stereo mix - perhaps more like the original mono mix to my ears. This is not just another remastering so any earlier version of the album you have will not become redundant if you purchase this one! This version also includes the three bonus tracks that were on the 2001 reissue, but this time "Love Story" & "Christmas Song" are featured as new stereo mixes and again as mono remasters. "One for John Gee" (B side of "Jeffery" single - and Marque manager) is also a mono remaster as is the new addition, and very rare first single, (on MGM as Jethro Toe!) "Sunshine Day".
This set seems to contain almost all the 1968 original band line-up's recorded material plus nine bonus BBC tracks. The only omission I can see is the B side of the first MGM single, the track "Aeroplane"; whether it was deemed not good enough or perhaps the tape was missing is not mentioned in the booklet.
There are reflections from each original band member, photos and material from the original LP release in the booklet and package. I bought the American Capitol version from one of Amazon's American sellers as the price was competitive, it is very similar to the UK version - the music is identical but the packaging is slightly different.
This was Tull as I liked them best, bluesy and jazzy without the trappings of Prog Rock with which they became bogged down in later life.