Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Jethro Tull 10: M.U.

Even if their concepts weren’t grasped by everybody, Jethro Tull had amassed enough familiar songs to fill a hits collection, and that’s exactly what M.U. is. The letters supposedly stand for “musician’s union”, and other letters are used in the back cover’s detailed credits as to who played what and when.
Each of the band’s albums, save the debut and the most recent, is represented, almost all in radio edits, to spotlight the riffing, and taking everything completely out of their album contexts. Side one especially plays just like one of those themed “lunch blocks” deejays used to do, consisting of a handful of songs by a single band. “Thick As A Brick Edit #1” helpfully presents the first three minutes of that album, going right into the animal sounds of “Bungle In The Jungle”.
Side two has a little more variety, with the exotic touches of “Fat Man” hitting the jazzed-up “Living In The Past”. Then “A Passion Play Edit #8” drops us into the middle of the second side of that album, towards the end of Act III, also known as “Overseer Overture”. Years before it became standard for best-of albums, there’s a brand-new track in “Rainbow Blues”, a decent outtake from War Child.
M.U. wouldn’t be Tull’s only hits collection, but it set the benchmark for the rest, and has stayed in print most of these years. Perfectly listenable and immediately recognizable, it says almost nothing about their bigger ideas, and features all the qualities listeners either love or hate about them.

Jethro Tull M.U.—The Best Of Jethro Tull (1976)—

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