More Jethro Tull
More British Blues Rock
- An outstanding UK import LP with Hot Stamper sound from start to finish
- This is a True Tull Classic – my favorite by the band – and a VERY tough record to come by with this kind of sound and surfaces this quiet, as quiet as any copy we have ever played
- Both of these sides give you richness, Tubey Magic, clarity and resolution few copies can touch – these are the Hot Stampers, folks
- “Stand Up! has great textural interest, due, in part, to a more sophisticated recording technique, in part to the organ, mandolin, balalaika, etc., which Anderson plays to enrich each song. The band is able to work with different musical styles, but without a trace of the facile, glib manipulation which strains for attention.”
Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These UK pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here. We must give thanks to the brilliant engineer Andy Johns.
This record is the very definition of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made that sound like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of this album, quite a few of them I would guess, but those of us with a good turntable could care less.
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 Tube 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 The Best Sides Of Stand Up Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- 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 1969
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
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.
Shooting Out Stand Up
What was surprising about the shootouts we had done in past years was how disappointing most of the early British pressings we played were. They were flat, lacked energy and just didn’t rock the way they should have.
We learned the hard way that most British Pink label pressings aren’t especially rich, that some are small and recessed, and some are just so smeary, thick and opaque that they frustrate the hell out of you as you’re trying to hear what any of the musicians other than Ian Anderson is doing.
It’s very common for pressings of Stand Up to lack bass or highs, and more often than not both are lacking. The bass-shy ones tend to be more transparent and open sounding — of course, that’s the sound you get when you take out the bass. (90 plus percent of all the audiophile stereos I’ve ever heard were bass shy, no doubt for precisely that very reason: less bass equals more detail, more openness and more transparency. Go to any stereo store or audiophile show and notice how bright the sound is. Another good reason not to go to those shows, and we rarely do.)
Just what good is a British Classic Rock Record that lacks bass? It won’t rock, and if it don’t rock, who needs it? You might as well be playing the CD.
The copies that lack extreme highs are often dull and thick, and usually have smeary, blurry sound. When you can’t hear into the recording, the music itself becomes boring.
If forced to choose, I would take a copy that’s a little dull on top as long as it still had a meaty, powerful, full-bodied sound over something that’s thin and leaned out. There are many audiophiles who can put up with that sound — I might go so far as to say the vast majority can — but I am not one of them.
What We’re Listening For On Stand Up
- Clearer, sweeter sound — Less of the veiling and congestion that plagues most British pressings.
- A bigger presentation — More size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record, the better.
- More bass and tighter bass — This is fundamentally a rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way Andy Johns wanted it to.
- Present, breathy vocals — A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
- Good top-end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and other details of the recording, especially the studio ambience.
- Last but not least, balance — All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other.
Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not always easy to find. Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
Of course one of the key elements to any Jethro Tull record is the 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 with the volume up good and high. 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.
The Tracklist tab above will take you to a select song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice. Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.
A Must Own Rock Record
We consider this album a Masterpiece of British Blues Rock. It’s a recording that belongs in any serious Rock Music Collection.
A New Day Yesterday
This is one of my favorite Jethro Tull songs of all time. (This and To Cry You a Song from Benefit are pretty darn hard to beat.) Clive Bunker’s drumming is incredibly energetic; it drives the song to levels few bands could ever hope to reach. It reminds me of the kind of all-out ASSAULT on the skins you hear in the work of Dave Grohl and John Bonham. Bunker is a highly underrated player; his bandmates Barre and Cornick don’t get the respect they deserve either, for reasons that I’ll never understand. They’re about as good as it gets in my book.
Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square
Back to the Family
Look Into the Sun
Another favorite track.
Nothing Is Easy
Watch your volume on this track! It starts out quietly, but it gets VERY loud toward the end. If you’ve set your volume properly for side one, don’t change it for side two.
Amazingly spacious, transparent and open on the best pressings.
We Used to Know
I love the way this song starts out quietly and builds to a tremendous crescendo of sound. Dynamics like these are rarely found on pop records.
Reasons for Waiting
On copies of this record that lack bass, this song will have NO bass.
For a Thousand Mothers
An Important New Voice
By Ben Gerson
December 13, 1969
No, Jethro Tull is not just another English blues band. This Was, their first album, made some gestures in that direction, obligatory, in a way, for the time (summer of ’68); in its differences it was intriguing even as it disappointed. Its inadequacies were unconventional; the essential problem seemed to be a style in search of a subject.
Bob Dylan once said that the English know how to pronounce “marvelous” better than Americans, but that they have a little trouble with “raunchy.” Stand Up!, Jethro Tull’s new album, has a fairly low raunch quotient, true to form, but it is quite marvelous.
For one thing, the band’s orientation is more definite than before. With the removal of Rick Abrahams to form Blodwyn Pig, the musical tug-of-war which could be heard on the first album has here been effectively curtailed. Ian Anderson simply dominates the proceedings — doing all the writing and singing, and playing a potpourri of instruments. He reveals a melodic gift on this album not apparent on the earlier one, a fuller awareness of the coloristic possibilities of the flute, and a catholicity of taste.
Stand Up! has great textural interest, due, in part, to a more sophisticated recording technique, in part to the organ, mandolin, balalaika, etc., which Anderson plays to enrich each song. The band is able to work with different musical styles, but without a trace of the facile, glib manipulation which strains for attention.
I can hear ethnic influences throughout the album — a hint of Greek rhythms on the flute break of “We Used to Know” and in the body of “Four Thousand Mothers” — but they are too well assimilated to be easily pinpointed.
“Bourree” has that unmistakable baroque swing, a suggestion of the traditional English round, some jazz interludes, and a straight-forward yet breathtaking bass solo before, it winds its way to completion.
“Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square” has a sense of the vague, charming disorganization of medieval music. “Look into the Sun,” which finishes side one, is in its melodic twists and turns, a song of genuine poignance, with Martin Barre’s guitar playing a model of lyricism and understatement.
On the second side, “We Used to Know” employs what could be called a fade-in, beginning softly and then building in volume, with Barre wah-wahing madly by the end. Only “Reasons for Waiting” is slightly marred, there being a superfluous string section.
As I’ve said, the album is not really funky; rather, it is a meticulously crafted work (no sterility implied) which deserves careful listening. At a time when many of the established stars are faltering, it is a particular pleasure to hear an important new voice.