Stand Up, from its wonderful cover art (including a fun Jethro Tull pop-out!) to the music in the grooves, is probably my favourite Tull platter. One basic reason is that it sounds like a transitional album, and I’m often drawn to those. It combines the remnants of the blues jams that they specialized in from the Mick Abrahams era (1968’s This Was), and their growing experimental side. It’s kind of the best of both worlds, and it always sounded great — even better on this new remaster. Stand Up has since been remixed by the very talented Steven Wilson (2016’s Elevated Edition), but if you wanted a CD copy of the original unaltered mix, this 2010 edition is what you need. (This mix is available on a DVD in the Elevated Edition, but not CD, and they each contain different bonus material.)
“A New Day Yesterday” has the task of opening this new era of Jethro Tull on LP, and it maintains the blues direction. Then immediately, “Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square” brings on the hippy side, with bongos, psychedlic jamming and the world’s greatest rock flautist. “Bourée” proves it, as he jams jazz-rock style along to J.S. Bach. Only Tull can make Bach swing as they do on “Bourée”. From the upbeat jamming “Nothing is Easy” to the exotic “Fat Man”, this album begins to open up Tull’s diversity. “Reasons For Waiting” brings on a lush, orchestrated side of Jethro Tull that some would call pompous and others would call delicate and quaint. But then they just flat out rock — with flute — on album closer “For a Thousand Mothers”. It’s truly the first diverse Tull album, going from corner to corner to explore whatever their hearts desired.
The Collector’s Edition contains valuable bonus music aplenty. The first disc alone doubles the length of the album. It has every bonus track from the previous 2001 remaster, which are the A and B-sides of two standalone singles. These are the swinging’ “Living In the Past”, filler “Driving Song”, the powerful (with horns!) and awesome “Sweet Dream”, and my favourite, “17”. It adds in a mono single mix of “Living In the Past” with some subtle differences. Two BBC live sessions are included via four live tracks, including “Bourée”. There are even amusing radio spots. And that’s just the first disc.
The second disc is an entire concert: Live at Carnegie Hall, New York, 4 November 1970. This would make it a show from the Benefit tour, the album which followed Stand Up. It includes songs from Benefit, such as “Sossity; You’re a Woman”. It also previews the future Aqualung classic “My God”. It is, of course, a great live show…it’s Jethro Tull in their youth after all! Hear Ian Anderson go nuts on the flute solo!
Another highlight is “Dharma For One”, stretched out to 13 minutes to include a bonkers Clive Bunker drum solo. The wicked slidey guitar on “A Song For Jeffrey” is really hot on these tapes too. By this time, John Evan had joined as Tull’s pianist which adds another dimension. Check out the intricate work on “With You There to Help Me”.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, there is a bonus DVD which contains a DTS 5.1 mix of the whole concert — audio only, however! If you have the equipment to play it, then enjoy. I will usually resort back to the stereo mix on CD but the 5.1 mix offers some additional depth.
For “things you will only watch once” (or twice if you’re reviewing your collection), the DVD also includes a 45 minute Ian Anderson interview from 2010 to check out. The split with Mick Abrahams is one of the most interesting parts though the story of the impasse is familiar. It simply boiled down to styles, and Ian didn’t want to be limited to just one. As such, he considers Stand Up to be the first real Jethro Tull album; the first to tentatively embark on their world-wide musical journey. Of course Mick had to be replaced, and Ian discusses three guitarists that tried out, including you-know-who. Martin Barre was chosen of course, given a second chance after a poor first meeting.
Barre’s furious solo work on Stand Up‘s blistering “We Used to Know” more than justifies the choice.
The packaging is gorgeous, coming packed in a thick, sturdy digipack. Artwork like this deserves a proper showcase, and unless you buy an original LP, this is about as good as it’s going to get.