Oh the dim and distant past when record companies viewed albums as art and not product and took love and care to present something that was functional and enjoyable come Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past. Such a carefully presented album for a compilation would be almost unthinkable today. It may even bankrupt the record company attempting to produce such a thing of beauty today.
A collection of oddities, singles and a couple of live songs Living In The Past never quite gels as an album, but as a collection of songs it is a great compilation.
No matter what you think of Mr Anderson’s image as a single legged flute blower with a codpiece the size of a continent his ability to write a solid ditty cannot be doubted. Life Is A Long Song is a classic and Up The Pool takes me back to my childhood and the excitement of driving up the M.6. to Blackpool on summer Sunday’s. Not that my dad ever played any Tull in the car but that air of expectancy and excitement is infectious none the less. My dad now heads out to Llandudno these days as Blackpool is for the young in his mind.
I have always been a little put off by the live side with it’s strange talk of narcotic fingernails and other oddness. It all began to make sense with the release of the Carnegie Hall concert the two tracks came from on Stand Up.
Dr Bogenbroom, Sweet Dream and the other tracks are joyous single length forays into a strange world where the blues, folk, rock and pop all came together into that strange heady mix that is Tull. Before they took off into the odd world of out progressiving and conceptualizing (if those aren’t a word they are now) just about everybody with their next two albums.