[Review] Jethro Tull: Living in the Past (1972)

A feast for fans made from treats, leftovers and a live performance at Carnegie Hall.

Kronomyth 6.0: Life’s a long album.

A collection of nonalbum B sides, A sides that differed from their elpee counterparts, live tracks and unreleased gems. Not odds and sods by any means, Living In The Past returned to what some felt were the band’s glory days, before Ian started to lay things on a little Thick. Me, I could have lived without the live “By Kind Permission Of,” but the remaining songs make this a more rewarding purchase than Jethro Tull’s first three records (which were themselves no slouches). The only knock on this compilation is that the sense of discovery, which each new Tull album seemed to promise, is here replaced by a sense of rediscovery.

With Aqualung and Thick As A Brick, Ian and the band had vaunted past the technical accomplishments present here, and a certain measure of recycling (“Wond’ring Again,” “Up The ‘Pool”) tempers the wonder these songs might have originally inspired. I won’t give you a song-by-song breakdown (where would the fun be in that?), but I will pull out a few diamonds for inspection. There are, first, the classics you might have missed: “Living in the Past,” “Life Is a Long Song,” “Witches Promise” and “Sweet Dream.” Easier to obtain but always welcome are “Teacher” (one of two tracks deleted from the single CD reissue), “Hymn 43” and “Inside” (which didn’t appear on the original Reprise double elpee, go figure). Next are what for many will be new discoveries: that sober antidote to the Christmas spirit, “Christmas Song,” “Love Story” (the last single with Mick Abrahams) and a radical live treatment of “Dharma for One” that now included lyrics. The remaining tracks are often pleasant acoustic throwaways, not unlike the little bits that Ian slipped into Aqualung.

Although it fills in most of the gaps between This Was and Aqualung, Living In The Past is rightfully a repast on its own. If you haven’t heard it, I envy you the discoveries that lie ahead in this tome of wonder. And, speaking of discoveries, it seems that some people took Ian’s joke about smoking fingernail clippings to heart. Trust me, you do not want to try this at home unless you’ve got an air freshener handy.

Original 2LP version (UK)

A1. Song for Jeffrey
A2. Love Story
A3. Christmas Song
A4. Living in the Past
A5. Driving Song
A6. Bourée
B1. Sweet Dream
B2. Singing All Day
B3. Witches Promise
B4. Teacher
B5. Inside
B6. Just Trying to Be
C1. By Kind Permission Of (live)
C2. Dharma for One (live)
D1. Wond’ring Again
D2. Locomotive Breath
D3. Life Is a Long Song
D4. Up the ‘Pool
D5. Dr. Bogenbroom
D6. For Later
D7. Nursie

Original 2LP version (US)
A1. Song for Jeffrey (3:17)
A2. Love Story (3:03)
A3. Christmas Song (3:04)
A4. Living in the Past (3:18)
A5. Driving Song (2:37)
A6. Bourée (3:40)
B1. Sweet Dream (4:02)
B2. Singing All Day (3:04)
B3. Teacher (4:07)
B4. Witch’s Promise (3:50)
B5. Alive and Well and Living In (2:45)
B6. Just Trying to Be (1:35)
C1. By Kind Permission Of (live) (John Evan) (8:43)
C2. Dharma for One (live) (Ian Anderson/Clive Bunker) (9:11)
D1. Wond’ring Again (4:11)
D2. Hymn 43 (3:16)
D3. Life Is a Long Song (3:18)
D4. Up the ‘Pool (3:10)
D5. Dr. Bogenbroom (2:59)
D6. From Later (2:06)
D7. Nursie (1:35)

All songs written by Ian Anderson unless noted.

Original cassette version
A1. Song for Jeffrey
A2. Love Story
A3. Christmas Song
A4. Living in the Past
A5. Driving Song
A5. Bouree
A6. Wond’ring Again
A7. Hymn 43
A8. Life Is a Long Song
A9. Up the ‘Pool
A10. Dr. Bogenbroom
A11. From Later
A12. Nursie
B1. Sweet Dream
B2. Singing All Day
B3. Teacher
B4. Witch’s Promise
B5. Alive and Well and Living In
B6. Just Trying to Be
B7. By Kind Permission Of (live)
B8. Dharma for One (live)

Original 8-track version
A1. Song for Jeffrey
A2. Love Story
A3. Christmas Song
A4. Driving Song
A5. Bouree
A6. Wond’ring Again
B1. Sweet Dream
B2. Singing All Day
B3. Teacher
B4. Witch’s Promise
B5. Alive and Well and Living In
B6. Just Trying to Be
C1. By Kind Permission Of (live)
C2. Dharma for One (live)
D1. Hymn 43
D2. Life Is a Long Song
D3. Up the ‘Pool
D4. Dr. Bogenbroom
D5. From Later
D6. Nursie
D7. Living in the Past

The Players

Mick Abrahams (electric guitar), Ian Anderson (flute, voice, mandolin, tin whistle, 12-string guitar, balalaika, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, violin), Barriemore Barlow (drums, percussion), Martin Barre (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocal backing), Clive Bunker (drums, percussion, vocal backing, glockenspiel), Glenn Cornick (bass guitar, Hammond organ), John Evan (Hammond organ, piano, mellotron, celeste, percussion, vocal backing, harpsichord), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass guitar) with David Palmer (string/orchestra arrangement, conductor), Lou Toby (string arrangement, conductor). Produced by Ian Anderson, Terry Ellis, Jethro Tull; engineered by Robin Black, John Burns, Victor Gamm, Andy Johns, Kim King, Dave Palmer, John Wood; mixing by Ian Anderson, mix engineered by Robin Black; executive producer: Terry Ellis.

The Pictures

Album design and artwork by CCS. Photographs by Sam Emerson, Tony Loew, Brian Ward, Ed Caraeff, Ruan O’Lochlainn, Michael Graber.

The Plastic

Released on 2LP, cassette and 8-track on June 23, 1972 in the UK (Chrysalis, CJT 1/2), on October 31, 1972 in the US and Canada (Chrysalis, 2CH/K5C/K8C 1035), and in 1972 in Germany (Chrysalis, 6641 145) with gatefold cover and booklet. Reached #8 on the UK charts and #3 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record).

  1. Re-issued on cassette in the US (Chrysalis, DCH 1035).
  2. Re-issued on 2LP in Italy (Chrysalis, 6399 069) with
  3. Re-issued on 2LP in Japan (Chrysalis, WWS-40096/7) with gatefold cover.
  4. Re-released on 2CS in 1981 in Italy (Chrysalis, CJTK 0001-1/2).
  5. Re-released on edited compact disc in the US (Chrysalis, F2 21035) with A6/B3 replaced by “Inside.”
  6. Re-released on 180g vinyl 2LP in 2015 in Europe (Chrysalis, 0825646041930) with gatefold cover and booklet.

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