Jethro Tull – Benefit


Artist:Jethro Tull
Genre: Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, (Renaissance Rock) – my own term
Title: Benefit
Released: 1970
Label: Reprise
Format: Vinyl
Musicians: Ian Anderson-vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, Martin Barre-electric guitar, mandolin, marimba, John Evan-piano, organ, accordion, synths, Barriemore Barlow-drums, glockenspiel, David Palmer-Portive pipe organ, synths, John Glascock-bass, vocals
Producer:Ian Anderson, Terry Ellis
Engineer: Robin Black

Jethro Tull were a British rock group, formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967. Initially playing blues rock, the band soon developed its sound to incorporate elements of British folk music and hard rock to forge a progressive rock signature. The band was led by vocalist/flautist/guitarist Ian Anderson, and have included other significant members such as guitarist Martin Barre, keyboardist John Evan, drummers Clive Bunker, Doane Perry, and Barriemore Barlow, and bassists Glenn Cornick, Jeffrey Hammond, and Dave Pegg.
The last works released as a group were in 2003, though the band continued to tour until 2011. In April 2014, as he was concentrating on his solo career, Anderson said that Jethro Tull were finished.
Official website:

Benefit is the third album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in April 1970. It was the first Tull album to include pianist and organist John Evan – though he was not yet a permanent member of the group – and the last to include bass guitarist Glenn Cornick. It was recorded at the same studio of the previous album, but the band experimented with more advanced recording techniques.
Singer Ian Anderson said that Benefit is a much darker album than the predecessor, Stand Up, owing to the pressures of an extensive U.S. tour and frustration with the music business.

This is a well-engineered album all the way through (except one tiny part). Benefit incorporated studio techniques such as reverse recording (flute and piano tracks on “With You There to Help Me”), and manipulating the tape speed (guitar on “Play in Time”). Not my favorite Jethro Tull LP, but it has some very good tracks in my opinion

Side 1:
With You There To Help Me: This has a strong psychedelic flavor to it. While I like Psych rock, this track just isn’t one of my favorites. According to Greg Russo this song is about Jennie Franks, a secretary in Chrysalis’ publishing department, whom Ian would marry later that year. The lyrics reflect the pressure of the heavy touring schedule and his longing for being home.
Nothing to Say: To me this song seems to be about opinions and feelings and not wanting to say anything or not being heard.
Inside: This is one of the brighter songs lyrically in the LP, it has a fun up tempo positive feel to it. Benefit is a dark album in many respects. “Inside” is about the light at the end of the tunnel. “sitting in the corner feeling glad, got no money coming in, but I can’t be sad, that was the best cup of coffee I have ever had, and I won’t worry ’bout a thing, because we’ve got it made – here on the inside, outside so far away” – the most perfect evocation of love and contentment you are ever likely to hear. Hence “Inside” is a song about finding refuge both physically and spiritually.
Son: This song is not one of my favorites. I think they over-did it on the reverb. Good lyrics though. One of the songs that details the troubled relationship Ian had with his parents, esp. his father. Most of it consists of lectures that a father would deliver to his son. In response, the son closes himself off from his father and resolves to leave home
For Michael Collins, Jeffery and Me: Michael Collins was one of the three astronauts who made the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in July 1969.While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended in the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) and walked the surface of the moon, Michael Collins stayed behind in the orbiting Command Module. Jeffrey was Jeffrey Hammond and who in 1971 became Tull’s new bass player. In the paper “Songs From The Wood” it is suggested that perhaps Ian felt that as Jethro Tull became more popular and John Evans joined the band on keyboards, Jeffrey and the simpler ‘good old days’, when they were just starting out in the music business, were left behind. Me is obviously Ian Anderson. This excellent semi acoustic song is a good example of something Jethro Tull excelled at.

Side 2:
To Cry You A Song: To Cry You A Song is about Ian on a flight (literally) back home and having to put up with all sorts of aggravations such as not having enough cigarettes, being air sick (maybe?) and being held up by customs (who can’t find what they’re looking for, of course). Eventually he arrives home and finds Jenny peeping through curtains drawn, rattling on safety chains (on the door) and taking too long (he can’t wait any longer). This is kind of a complex song with nice smooth changes. At one point you’ll hear the guitar played through an effect known as rotating leslie. This is one of my favorite songs.
A Time For Everything: In this track there is a spot in the middle of this song where there is a high-pitched feedback noise for a few seconds that does not sound intentional. It is definitely in the recording.
Teacher: Again, this is one of my favorites. Listen close and you’ll hear Ian Anderson snapping his fingers in certain parts.
Play In Time: This song features the keyboards, but there as an annoying backwards guitar effect through it. Not one of my favs.The song shows Ian’s struggle for finding his own way of musical expression in the lines
“Blues were my favorite colour,
’til I looked around and found another song
that I felt like singing”.
Sossity; You’re A Woman: This is the signature full Jethro Tull sound, another one of my favs.

MUSIC: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars
SOUND: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars (I’m not counting the mistake in track #2 on side 2).

For Michael Collins, Jeffery and me:

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