- A superb copy of the band’s third studio album, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- The sound is big and rich, yet still wonderfully clean, clear and open with fantastic energy – you will not believe all the space and ambiance here
- Huge, rich, tubey and solid, the best track on the album – To Cry You a Song – rocks like you will not believe
- “Benefit forms the perfect bridge between the rolling, tumbling Tull of old and the tightly braided riffs and prickly lyrics presented by Aqualung.” Record Collector
This vintage Chrysalis pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments (and effects!) having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1970
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Of course one of the key elements to any Jethro Tull record is the sonic quality of the flute. You want it to be airy and breathy — like a real flute — and some copies will give you that, but keep in mind there are always trade-offs at work on old rock records like this. It’s a full-bodied, rich sounding recording. Make sure your system is playing it that way before you start to focus on the flute, otherwise you are very likely to be led astray. We have quite a bit of commentary to that effect on the site, some of which can be seen on the left.
What We’re Listening For on Benefit
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — the brilliant Robin Black in this case — would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
With You There to Help Me
Nothing to Say
Alive and Well and Living In Son
For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me
To Cry You a Song
According to Martin Barre “To Cry You a Song” was a response to Blind Faith’s “Had to Cry Today”, “although you couldn’t compare the two; nothing was stolen … The riff crossed over the bar in a couple of places and Ian and I each played guitars on the backing tracks. It was more or less live in the studio with a couple of overdubs and a solo. Ian played my Gibson SG and I played a Les Paul on it.”
A Time for Everything?
Play in Time
Sossity; You’re a Woman
AMG 4 Star Review
Most of the songs on Benefit display pleasant, delectably folk-like melodies attached to downbeat, slightly gloomy, but dazzlingly complex lyrics, with Barre’s guitar adding enough wattage to keep the hard rock listeners very interested. Beginning with the opening number, “With You There to Help Me,” Anderson adopts his now-familiar, slightly mournful folksinger/sage persona, with a rather sardonic outlook on life and the world; his acoustic guitar carries the melody, joined by Martin Barre’s electric instrument for the crescendos.
Here the acoustic and electric instruments are merged somewhat better than they were on Stand Up (on which it sometimes seemed like Barre’s solos were being played in a wholly different venue), and as needed, the electric guitars carry the melodies better than on previous albums. “To Cry You a Song,” “Son,” and “For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me” all defined Tull’s future sound: Barre’s amp cranked up to ten (especially on “Son”), coming in above Anderson’s acoustic strumming, a few unexpected changes in tempo, and Anderson spouting lyrics filled with dense, seemingly profound imagery and statements.