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Jethro Tull - 'Living With The Past' / 'Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/bc/36/a0/Jethro-Tull-Living-With-The-Past-68-1412803923.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 08, 2014    
 
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Unless this twin pack is cheaper, I’d seek out the original release of ‘Living With The Past’.

It never ceases to amaze me how many times record labels re-release material, particularly by established acts. Here Eagle Records have re-packaged again these two live albums which any self-respecting Jethro Tull fan should and almost certainly will own already.

The first disc is a collection of recordings from across their career but primarily from a show at Hammersmith Odeon in November 2001; other tracks are taken from gigs in 1989, 1999 and 2002. They are culled from the band’s mixing desk recordings (they tape every show for reference purposes) and there’s interest in that each of these recordings features a different version of the band’s line up, some acoustic versions and even what would appear to be a dressing room warm up.

What this album does convey very well is just how exceptional these guys are; anyone who has listened to a bootleg recording of a show they attended will know that without the ambience of the hall and the volume, some bands can sound decidedly ropey and off key. JT sound absolutely superb and incredibly tight.

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The track selection covers a good span of their entire career up to the date of the latest recent recording and it’s difficult to tell what comes from which era as the songs fit so well together. The opening salvo of ‘My Sunday Feeling’ and ‘Roots To Branches’ (a personal favourite) sets the bar high and they keep matching it. Old favourites ‘Aqualung’, ‘Locomotive Breath’ and ‘Living In The Past’ sound as vigorous as ever, or is that more so? ‘Life Is A Long Song’ is just as special.

The older Isle of Wight set is a rather different affair, not least because of the quality of the recording. Amazingly Ian Anderson sounds exactly the same when talking to the audience, not so the music. Back in the 1970s, JT were more Rhythm & Blues than the Folk Prog they became later; they were also rather freeform in places which make it a challenging listen at times.

When it’s good it’s very good and shows that the band were great players from the outset. ‘My Sunday Feeling’ (again) is a fine start and ‘Bourée’, another firm favourite, is a highlight. An album certainly of its time and for die-hard fans. Unless this twin pack is cheaper, I’d seek out the original release of ‘Living With The Past’.

Gary Marshall

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