Stand Up: The Elevated Edition
by David Chiu
Jethro Tull’s 1969 sophomore album Stand Up was a turning point in the band’s history. It was the first Tull album featuring then-new guitarist Martin Barre, who replaced founding member Mick Abrahams. Most significantly, the music of Stand Up ushered in the folk and progressive rock sound that singer/flautist/leader Ian Anderson and company would be known for throughout their career whereas Tull’s 1968 debut This Was was more rooted in the blues due to the influence of Abrahams. With the exception of the blues-oriented opening track “A New Day Yesterday,” the rest of the material feels like the Jethro Tull we’ve become accustomed to, prefiguring the breakthrough Aqualung two years later. More than 45 years later, Stand Up still holds up, and it contains a few favorite cuts associated with the band such as the whimsical reworking of Bach’s “Bouree,” “Nothing Is Easy” and the mystical Indian-influenced “Fat Man”; other gems from that record include the soulful yet rocking “Back to the Family,” For a Thousand Mothers (showcasing Barre’s electrifying playing that is a hallmark of Tull’s sound alongside Anderson’s flute) and the driving “We Used to Know.” This special edition of Stand Up featuring Steven Wilson’s remix also contains tracks that were not on the original album, including the classic “Living in the Past,” known for its unique 5/4 time signature. And like the previous recent reissues of Tull’s classic albums, this special edition of Stand Up doesn’t hold back in terms of the lavish extras: a 1969 concert performance of mostly tracks from This Was; a DVD of the remixed original album and two black-and-white video performances from 1969; and detailed liner notes, including a tribute to bassist and founding member Glenn Cornick who died in 2014. Stand Up may have been eclipsed by the later albums like Aqualung and Thick as a Brick in terms of mainstream popularity of, but it’s a crucial record—it’s where Ian Anderson distinguished the band from the British blues explosion of the era and forged for his own musical path.