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Jethro Tull's first album "This Was" was released on the now legendary Island label in October of 1968 with MICK ABRAHAMS on lead guitar. Dissatisfied with the result, Abrahams left and was replaced by the brilliant MARTIN BARRIE. Abrahams then roped in JACK LANCASTER on Sax, Flute & Violin, ANDY PYLE on Bass and RON BERG on Drums and formed the delightfully named and much revered BLODWYN PIG (Abrahams himself handling lead guitar, vocals and all the principal song writing).

In the middle of 1969 - they popped into Morden Studios in Willesden in London and with Producer Andy Johns (brother of the famous Glyn Johns) promptly produced this much-loved gem. The "Blods" or The "Pig" as they're affectionately known over here in Blighty made only two albums before Abrahams finally went solo. This release "Ahead Rings Out" was their UK debut in August 1969 on Island Records ILPS 9101 (Stereo Only). The America equivalent went out on A&M SP-4210 on their famous Tan label but with a different track line up on Side 2. This CD (64:44 minutes) as I outline below will allow fans to finally sequence either configuration. The album was housed in the now famous and revered 'head and headphones' gatefold sleeve on both sides of the pond (slight variant in the USA) and the album's witty and detailed liner notes are also reproduced on this June 2006 EMI reissue CD (Catalogue No: 357 6852).

Vinyl Versus CD:
Initial runs of the record were on the hugely desirable "Pink" Island Label Design here in the UK - followed by a second press on the "Pink Rim" Label. Both have been difficult to find across the years ("Ahead" was followed in the UK in April 1970 by their second and last proper album, "Getting To This" on Chrysalis Records ILPS 9122). "Ahead" was pressed up on a slab of a record for the time - I'd say about 200 grams. And while that felt meaty, unfortunately, like the mottled effect label, the vinyl here in the UK reflected the same. It's an album (like Crimson, Traffic and Tull) that is notoriously difficult to find a good pressing of - pits in the surface etc... So to hear it after all these years in this stunning remastered CD sound quality is a genuine thrill.

UK LP track List with CD track numbers:
Side 1: It's Only Love (1), Dear Jill (2), Sing Me A Song That I Know (3), The Modern Alchemist (4)
Side 2: Up And Coming (5), Leave It With Me (6), Change Song (7), Backwash (16), Ain't Ya Comin' Home, Babe? (9)

USA LP track list with CD track numbers:
Side 1: It's Only Love (1), Dear Jill (2), Sing Me A Song That I Know (3), The Modern Alchemist (4)
Side 2: See My Way (8), Summer Day (12), Change Song (7), Backwash (16), Ain't Ya Comin' Home, Babe? (9)
Note: "See My Way" was released on their 2nd album in the UK "Getting To This" in April 1970

If I were to categorize how they sound, it would be early Tull but with a jazzier feel provided by Lancaster's superb sax playing. As a gangly teenager in Dublin, I was suckered into buying the album by the bluesy feel of their initial single "Dear Jill", but that song doesn't actually reflect what most of the album sounds like - rocking Tull with a jazz tint. I was a bit disappointed at first, but on replays their unique sound grew on me - to a point where I wore the record out - and would replace it sporadically through the years with VG copies - just to have a copy to play. The 2006 remaster is glorious - HUGE SOUND without ever being overbearing - just in your face and rocking. PETER MEW did the remaster at Abbey Road and his work here is fabulous. The Cockney Thief dialogue at the beginning of "Change Song" still makes me laugh (title above).

Track 10 is "Sweet Caroline", the non-album B-side to "Dear Jill" - their first UK 7" single on Island WIP 6059 in May 1969. Tracks 11 and 12 are "Walk On The Water" and "Summer Day", their 2nd 7" single in the UK on Island WIP 6069 in October 1969 and both were non-album tracks for UK buyers. Tracks 13 and 14 are "Same Old Story" and "Slow Down", their 3rd 7" single on Chrysalis/Island WIP 6078 from January 1970 and again are non-album tracks ("Slow Down" is a Larry Williams cover version). Track 15 is "Meanie Mornay" - a fantastic inclusion - it's a previously unreleased outtake from the "Getting To This" sessions while track 16 is the short "Backwash" (explained above). I'd have to say that ALL of the bonus tracks are just that - genuine bonuses - and for collectors - a thrill to hear after all these years languishing in obscurity.

The booklet has liner notes by the now 65 year-old Mick Abrahams - they're witty, humble and very informative. The artwork of the original album is faithfully reproduced along with some tasty European picture sleeves of rare 7" singles. There's even a photo beneath the see-through tray.

Abrahams made 3 solo albums immediately after Blodwyn Pig folded - first up was "A Musical Evening With Mick Abrahams" on Chrysalis Records in 1971 (ILPS 9147, often just referred to as "Mick Abrahams"), followed by "At Last" in 1972 (Chrysalis CHR 1005) and finally "Have Fun Learning Guitar With Mick Abrahams" on the privately pressed SRT Records in 1975. "Evening" and "At Last" are available on CD as are subsequent releases through the years. Of note to this re-issue is the excellent 2CD mini box set in 2004 which is called "All Said & Done" where he re-visits several tracks on "Ahead" with superb rocking results, including the great "Dear Jill".

Like Taste's "On The Boards" (1970), Free's "Fire And Water" (1970) and Fleetwood Mac's "Then Play On" (1969) - "Ahead Rings Out" is a classically great ROCK album of the period with tints of blues and jazz thrown in for good measure. I only have to see the cover and I get mushy. Buy this superb and alarmingly cheap reissue with confidence - and a top-notch job done PETER MEW and EMI.
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on 29 June 2006
This album's simply great. With its iconic album cover and unique sound, it should be regarded as a stone cold classic (well, it is in certain circles anyway. Wake up Top 100 compilers of the world).

Its the lack of pretension that I like - its just a formidable band, who pretty much base their music on blues, but it being the late sixties, it takes some really interesting turns.

Not being one of these blues guitar purests, I'm not going to judge Mick Abrahams the axe god, but it does sound pretty juicy, and solos never outstay their welcome, and are integrated with the rest of the band, sometimes letting other instrument to take over.

The songs are great too, and it works as an album, and the extras are great too.
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on 6 July 2008
Were I to be marooned on a desert island, this would be one of the ten albums that would help me while away the days. It has vibrancy, verve, panache. Mick Abrahams guitar work is like watching fireworks goes off. The reeds are as a cool as a white christmas and the rythm section just pulses. Yep, when I play this record the good times and feelings just roll.
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I got this as a long time Jethro Tull fan. Having listened to (and loved) their first album 'This Was', I was intrigued by the disagreement between Mick Abrahams and Ian Anderson, which caused Abrahams to leave and form Blodwyn pig, and decided to get this as an indication of where Abrahams wanted to take Tull.

What a wonderful album this is! It's very much like early period Tull, I can't really see where Abrahams and Anderson disagreed musically. It doesn't take itself as seriously as Tull did, but is a great, light-hearted mix of blues and jazz, with a very British feel to it. Very hard to pigeon hole, this can only be described as a bit unusual, but very listenable. It's rarely been out of my CD player since I bought it.

The CD production is good, with some interesting liner notes from Abrahams. The remastering has been well done, and the sound is nicely balanced. The bonus tracks are worthwhile and add to the package.

A very worthwhile buy for anyone interested in British blues/jazz a la Jethro Tull, Alexis Korner and the like.
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on 13 March 2011
Variously known as The Pig or The Blods, I first saw them at Swansea University c.1969 and thought they were one of the best blues-jazz-rock bands I had seen so immediately bought the vinyl album. I have now bought the CD and was amazed to find that the best track on it - the rocking "See My Way" wasn't on the UK version I owned. What a loss that was. It's even better than the classic "Dear Jill". The bonus tracks on this album I can take or leave - with the exception of "Backwash" which was on the vinyl album I owned and which I like very much. A truely superb album. But, being Welsh, and having had an Aunty Blod and a cat named Blodwyn, how did the name "Blodwyn Pig" come about? I wish I knew.
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on 8 July 2016
a fantastic debut album with Mick's sublime slide guitar. Its a mixture of blues/jazz/rock that only the late 60s/70s has seemed to produce! Coupled wiv' a sly bit of Cockney/London/Estuary humour here and there, its a CLASSIC!!!! 'Getting to This' is almost as good and sadly the level that these two albums reached have never really been duplicated, though Mick has done quite a few albums since. Jack Lancaster's sax never intrudes but only adds to the quality of the music. Andy Pyle and Ron Berg add to the blend and if you purchase this album and the next one you will have 2 essential 70s albums! Supposedly there is also a 'Live at the Fillmore' out there somewhere but so far, I have been unable to find out too much about it...worth obtaining maybe if you can get it.....
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on 28 April 2010
A bit left field, granted. Pig were a Tull offshoot feasturing Mick Abrahams. Its the kind of album that only the late 60's could produce; a heady brew of rock, folk, blues, jazz & prog put together by musicians with a strong pop sensibility but who can still wig out tastefully when it feels right.
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on 2 May 2015
I was fortunate enough to live though a period of music that is second to none. The 'Progressive' scene back in the late 60s/early 70s was an extraordinary time for creative music. Blodwin Pig were as good as it got. PS - when recently asked why the band were called 'Blodwin Pig,' a founder member said - simply because no one would forget it. Far out man!!
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on 23 December 2007
After I had heard Tull's "This Was" I was hooked on Mick Abrahams playing.
This is one of the very best of its kind and I urge anyone who enjoys blues/rock to buy this masterpiece.
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on 23 June 2011
An excellent set of tracks!! Having seen Blodwyn Pig many many years ago at the Bath Blues Festival (Were the Nice really there too?) and owned the vinyl copy of the album since its release, it is a joy to hear the remastered versions....CD quality has its advantages!!! Abrahams and co were great live and the feel also is obvious on this, their first release!!! Buy it, Listen to it and Enjoy will not be disappointed!!!!!
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