While it may not be the debut record from Britain born rock band Jethro Tull, their second piece Stand Up is an eclectic collection of various recording methods and practices that shift genres, wave flags of battalion, and shape into a loose adaptation of early progressive folk rock.
The band with more than a thousand legacies, Jethro Tull is not a member of the band but he was, in fact, an English agricultural pioneer who invented the seed drill. While this invention may not have revolutionized the music industry, Jethro Tull (the band) was engrossing for the way that the group incorporated flutes, mandolins, and even a balalaika to form the spine of the sound that was Stand Up. As original guitarist Mick Abrahams departed the band, this left Ian Anderson to take the master seat behind the writing and direction which quickly adopted a folk backbone.
As Stand Up begins to roll out, the first track “A New Day Yesterday” is a classic rock anthem that sculpts the instruments out of heavy guitar riff and bass lines, as the percussion goes rampant and creates fills that break the action like a mighty metronome. Before the vocal instruments spark into the animalistic side, Anderson switches from flutes to a mouth organ while the band rushes on ahead.
With a performance that crescendos upwards toward this immaculate breakdown as Martin Lancelot Barre completely hammers home the electric guitar with some of the crunching foundations. Glenn Cornick performs along on the bass and has Clive Bunker close by as an ally which varies between what feels like hundreds of percussive sets and pieces. Jethro Tull in any rate is an adaptable band that can mix genre, but more importantly, feed quick tracks down the pipeline without creating a daunting break. Stand Up is able to correctly capitalize on this appearance behind the tones.
Through “Bouree” which is one of the more iconic flute tracks of Stand Up, Jethro Tull manages to balance what contrasts to an army of sound. From the varying degrees of switching percussion, the layered strings that play along, or the whirling undertones where the record has a substantial jam band aura that surrounds Jethro Tull.
They are almost omnipotent in the way that they can dive from these rising mountains of execution to the ability to face these valleys. There are some jungle-styled rhythms that rear their face with these sleigh bells that chime along as the strings are played in such a way to resemble a sitar. The true golden star of the track “Fat Man” comes from the drums that are hand percussive sets where Bunker rips apart the technique with advanced rhythmic slides where his hands become lightning sticks to the drum head. “Fat Man” is a rush to the often sluggish or weighted performances found on Stand Up that gives more dichotomy to an ultimately versatile formation.
As Stand Up reaches the Plymouth of folk rock, Jethro Tull relates to the pilgrims but for different freedom. Their skill lies instead under the artistry and willingness to build new sound. The 1969 release is still a valiant effort that coincides within one of the more impactful uses of an otherwise impractical rock n’ roll instrument.