I first came upon Jethro Tull on UK BBC TV in the summer of 1969, on the show “Top of the Pops”, doing their single “Living in the Past”. I was entranced by this, the lead singer and flute player standing on one leg most of the time, wearing a dressing gown, with long flowing locks and wild staring eyes. I bought the single as soon as I could, one of the first records I ever bought, some 6 months before I got my first record player.
Neither the single nor its B side “Driving Song” appeared on the current album, the band’s second LP “Stand Up”. However, I did get to hear a wonderful song from it, “We used to know”, on the Island sampler “Nice Enough to Eat”.
I had a friend at school who had a really hip elder brother, and this friend had the album, and I was able to go round to his house to listen to it. The cover was great! It showed the band in wood carvings on the front
, and when the gatefold sleeve was opened up, stand up cut-outs of the band raised up vertically, just like in play books I’d had as a kid.
He showed me a review of the LP in Melody Maker, titled “Stand up and say something, Jethro.” The back cover showed a drawing of the backs of the band, closing the cover. Perfect!
I recall the same day this friend also played me some Taj Mahal, from his current double album “Giant Step/Old folks back home”, which featured his rendition of the Monkees’ single “Take a giant step”.