Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #8

For as long as I have been a Zappa/Mother‘s freak – going four decades strong and showing no evidence of slowing down – almost every fan of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention I’ve encountered has also been a fan of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull. Odd, since in the 1970s Frank Zappa, himself, stated in the press that he didn’t care for the music of Jethro Tull. In a Montreal Mirror interview, Ian Anderson was asked about this:

It upset me more in the early ’70s when Frank Zappa said he didn’t like us. I was quite a fan of Zappa’s music, I admired and revered him as a contemporary, and yeah, having him turn around and suddenly slap us down obviously hurt a little bit.

It made it that much more difficult a few years ago when I got a message from his son saying that Frank, who was terminally ill at the time, would really like me to call him and left me his home phone number. I sat and looked at this number, I even dialed it a few times and hung up, because I just didn’t know what you would say to a dying man, especially one who was on record as not liking my work. But I wanted to speak to him, I just found it really difficult. Then I heard on the news one day that he’d died. I felt a profound sense of loss and deep regret that I had never made that call. I would have liked to have spoken to him, just for a minute.

This dichotomy between Zappa and his fans had always left me scratching my head a bit, especially since early Zappa (as well as early members of the original Mothers) like that of early Jethro Tull were heavy influenced by the blues. You can still hear that influence in the early Jethro Tull I’m showcasing with today’s listening session beginning with the January 9th, 1969 show at Konserthuset in Stockholm, Sweden:

My Sunday Feeling (late show)
[audio:SBN_20110102_01 My Sunday Feeling.mp3]

Martin’s Tune (late show)
[audio:SBN_20110102_02 Martin’s Tune.mp3]

To Be Sad Is A Mad Way To Be (early show)
[audio:SBN_20110102_03 To Be Sad Is A Mad Way To Be.mp3]

Back To The Family (early show)
[audio:SBN_20110102_04 Back To The Family.mp3]

Dharma For One (late show)
[audio:SBN_20110102_05 Dharma For One.mp3]

Nothing Is Easy (late show)
[audio:SBN_20110102_06 Nothing Is Easy.mp3]

Bonus tracks:

My God (The Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL, 16 August 1970)
[audio:SBN_20110102_02 My God.mp3]

To Cry You A Song (The Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL, 16 August 1970)
[audio:SBN_20110102_03 To Cry You A Song.mp3]

With You There To Help Me (The Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL, 16 August 1970)
[audio:SBN_20110102_04 With You There To Help Me.mp3]

So Much Trouble (BBC Top Gear Sessions, September 22nd, 1968)
[audio:SBN_20110102_01 So Much Trouble.mp3]

Beggar’s Farm (BBC Top Gear Sessions, November 5th, 1968)
[audio:SBN_20110102_08 Beggar’s Farm (edit).mp3]

Living In The Past (BBC Top Gear Sessions, June 22nd, 1969)
[audio:SBN_20110102_13 Living In The Past (edit).mp3]

Line-up:

Ian Anderson – lead vocals, flute, harmonica, acoustic guitar, keyboards, mandolin
Martin Barre – guitar, flute, backing vocals
Glenn Cornick – bass, backing vocals
Clive Bunker – drums, percussion, backing vocals

17 Responses to “Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #8”

  1. C-H says:

    My theory is that although FZ might have had some sneaking respect for Ian Anderson, John McLaughlin etc., even Lou Reed, he also saw them as competition so his ego demanded that he trash-talk them if anyone asked his opinion. So perhaps Mr. Anderson shouldn’t have taken it so personally.

  2. Danny says:

    Count me as one of the few(?) Zappa fans who was not enamored with Ian Anderson or his band. So there.

  3. Martin says:

    Why would a dying Frank ask Dweezil to ask Ian Anderson to give him a call? Perhaps Dweezil misunderstood and Frank asked him to ask Jon Anderson of Yes to give him a call.

  4. Afka says:

    Hm. In 1969 British zine ZigZag interview Zappa said about British groups:
    I like Jethro Tull and the organist in the Nice very much. I think he plays very well. I also like the Rolling Stones.
    http://www.afka.net/Articles/1969-07_ZigZag.htm

  5. jonnybutter2 says:

    [quote post=”4487″]Why would a dying Frank ask Dweezil to ask Ian Anderson to give him a call? [/quote]

    I would say that it should have been pretty obvious to Ian A. what the reason was, which makes his failure to do it so pathetic – he even dialed the number and hung up! I have nothing against Tull (not my favorite, but whatever), but: what a fucking twit. Zappa is dying, and wants to spend a bit of his limited time to apologize to you, and you don’t have the balls – I mean codpiece – to let him, because the very reason he wants to apologize ‘makes it hard’? Wow.

  6. jonnybutter2 says:

    [quote post=”4487″]My theory is that although FZ might have had some sneaking respect for Ian Anderson, John McLaughlin etc., even Lou Reed, he also saw them as competition so his ego demanded that he trash-talk them if anyone asked his opinion.[/quote]

    Could be, but it doesn’t quite ring true to me. Zappa was free with both complements and disses. I think he just didn’t like a lot of stuff in the rock and fusion scene. He did praise Weather Report extravagantly (‘That was beautiful. Thanks for giving me the chance to hear it’). He didn’t ‘trash talk’ Lou Reed that I’m aware of, despite Reed’s having done it (extravagantly) to Frank and the Mothers. And I wouldn’t call what he said about McLaughlin ‘trash talking’ exactly. He basically said he admired his technique, but didn’t care for the musical results.

    I find it hard to believe that Zappa felt threatened by Tull, but maybe so. Maybe he made an ill advised comment in the press and wanted to apologize for it.

  7. Rob says:

    [quote comment=”20430″]Count me as one of the few(?) Zappa fans who was not enamored with Ian Anderson or his band.

    So there.[/quote]
    I’m with you, Danny. I’ve got over 80 Zappa releases and only one Tull; a best-of collection that I haven’t played in over 20 years. Any Ian Anderson fans wanna buy a used cd?

  8. Numpty says:

    If you haven’t got ‘Bursting Out’ you’re missing out on one of the greatest live albums ever. Martin Barre is one of the most underrated guitarists there is in my opinion.

  9. Chris says:

    I have all FZ’s officially released work along with approaching 800 boots but I also have all of Jethro Tull’s recorded output and a few boots. In conclusion it is perfectly acceptable to like FZ and JT.

  10. urbangraffito says:

    [quote comment=”20573″]I have all FZ’s officially released work along with approaching 800 boots but I also have all of Jethro Tull’s recorded output and a few boots. In conclusion it is perfectly acceptable to like FZ and JT.[/quote]

    Chris, you’re a freak after my own heart. I’m sure you’ve discovered that even those recordings with the worst audio quality, still have jewel to be found…I also have all of Jethro Tull’s recorded output, and more field recordings than is natural for a Zappa freak. I suppose it’s because of FZ that I love live music so much, and Jethro Tull in all it’s incarnations was a great live band. Still, I’ll always have a soft spot for early Tull.

    [quote comment=”20517″]If you haven’t got ‘Bursting Out’ you’re missing out on one of the greatest live albums ever. Martin Barre is one of the most underrated guitarists there is in my opinion.[/quote]

    Agreed, fantastic live album. I would also direct you to ‘Live at Madison Square Garden 1978’ and the FM Sourced “Golders Green Hippodrome, London, UK, 10 February 1977”. Excellent live shows, both.

  11. Jamez says:

    [quote comment=”20624″][quote comment=”20573″]I have all FZ’s officially released work along with approaching 800 boots but I also have all of Jethro Tull’s recorded output and a few boots. In conclusion it is perfectly acceptable to like FZ and JT.[/quote]

    Chris, you’re a freak after my own heart. I’m sure you’ve discovered that even those recordings with the worst audio quality, still have jewel to be found…I also have all of Jethro Tull’s recorded output, and more field recordings than is natural for a Zappa freak. I suppose it’s because of FZ that I love live music so much, and Jethro Tull in all it’s incarnations was a great live band. Still, I’ll always have a soft spot for early Tull.

    [quote comment=”20517″]If you haven’t got ‘Bursting Out’ you’re missing out on one of the greatest live albums ever. Martin Barre is one of the most underrated guitarists there is in my opinion.[/quote]

    Agreed, fantastic live album. I would also direct you to ‘Live at Madison Square Garden 1978’ and the FM Sourced “Golders Green Hippodrome, London, UK, 10 February 1977”. Excellent live shows, both.[/quote]

    I’m a fan of Tull too, Urban and agree with Numpty’s and your comments on ‘Bursting Out’. I wonder if Mr A ever talked to Eddie Jobson about Frank when he was ‘special guest’ for the ‘A’ album and tour (my fave 80’s Tull studio album, by the way).

  12. urbangraffito says:

    [quote comment=”20862″][quote comment=”20624″][quote comment=”20573″]I have all FZ’s officially released work along with approaching 800 boots but I also have all of Jethro Tull’s recorded output and a few boots. In conclusion it is perfectly acceptable to like FZ and JT.[/quote]

    Chris, you’re a freak after my own heart. I’m sure you’ve discovered that even those recordings with the worst audio quality, still have jewel to be found…I also have all of Jethro Tull’s recorded output, and more field recordings than is natural for a Zappa freak. I suppose it’s because of FZ that I love live music so much, and Jethro Tull in all it’s incarnations was a great live band. Still, I’ll always have a soft spot for early Tull.

    [quote comment=”20517″]If you haven’t got ‘Bursting Out’ you’re missing out on one of the greatest live albums ever. Martin Barre is one of the most underrated guitarists there is in my opinion.[/quote]

    Agreed, fantastic live album. I would also direct you to ‘Live at Madison Square Garden 1978’ and the FM Sourced “Golders Green Hippodrome, London, UK, 10 February 1977”. Excellent live shows, both.[/quote]

    I’m a fan of Tull too, Urban and agree with Numpty’s and your comments on ‘Bursting Out’. I wonder if Mr A ever talked to Eddie Jobson about Frank when he was ‘special guest’ for the ‘A’ album and tour (my fave 80’s Tull studio album, by the way).[/quote]

    Eddie Jobson certainly added a unique flavour to Tull’s album ‘A’ just as he did when he played with Zappa, Jamez. I’ve never really been too surprised that many Zappa fans also like Tull, since album by album they were always changing and experimenting with their sound (something Zappa fans can well appreciate). I think Zappa, himself, was too put off by the California folk-rock sound at the time to really give an open listen to what Tull was doing (indeed, his fans were far more ahead of him on this count methinks). That said, though, one cannot really take a passing comment to the press as a hard held position, either. Zappa said several contradictory things to the press over his career. I’d like to think Zappa’s comment was one of those.

  13. Slap says:

    [quote comment=”20862″]

    I’m a fan of Tull too, Urban and agree with Numpty’s and your comments on ‘Bursting Out’. I wonder if Mr A ever talked to Eddie Jobson about Frank when he was ‘special guest’ for the ‘A’ album and tour (my fave 80’s Tull studio album, by the way).[/quote]

    Agreed on A, repeatedly. (Useful to listen to it as a package with Anderson’s Walk Into Light solo LP.) IMO, it was the last fully-realized excellent album they recorded. Great bits since, but there’s not a single release afterwards that holds together the way A, Minstrel, Heavy Horses and Songs from the Wood — and the predecessors — did.

    Me, I was never too impressed with Bursting Out, beyond amazement at how well Williams eventually learned the bass parts. (I saw the second show of that tour, and it was pretty much out-of-sync because they had to VERY hurriedly replace the late John Glasscock on the eve of the tour due to his illness.) Perhaps it’s because by that time, I had seen the War Child tour and Glasscock’s last tour with them; perhaps, after seeing the Stormcock tour with the brilliant Dave Pegg on bass (genetically, the most perfect Tull bassist ever….), I felt the Bursting Out live unit was the least amazing. I saw Tull six times over the years.

    If anyone here is also a Fairport Convention fan, the “A Little Night Music” live LP is a Tull record in name, but it’s really a Jethport Tullvention album — well worth a listen. (The band had Pegg, Martin Allcock, Dave Mattacks and Ric Sanders, all of whom opened the shows with FC and then came on to play with Tull on that tour.)

    Hell, it was a little aside in a music rag, indicating Anderson was producing Steeleye Span, that led me into electric English Folk, and I’ll always be grateful for that. And, thanks to an older interview where IA noted that one of the bands he enjoyed was Gnidrolog, I discovered their amazing wonderfulness. (I commend any fan of ’70s prog of the Gentle Giant variety to seek out Gnidrolog’s 2 albums — shockingly brilliant.)

  14. Balint says:

    [quote comment=”20914″]Me, I was never too impressed with Bursting Out, beyond amazement at how well Williams eventually learned the bass parts. [/quote]
    Who is Williams? The bass part is played by John Glasscock on Bursting out – quite perfectly, IMO.

  15. Numpty says:

    Anderson refers to Glascock by name on the brilliant “Skating Away” and “Hunting Girl”… apparently he wasn’t really a kinky bastard who liked being thrashed severely across the bum haha 🙂

  16. Slap says:

    [quote comment=”20935″][quote comment=”20914″]Me, I was never too impressed with Bursting Out, beyond amazement at how well Williams eventually learned the bass parts. [/quote]
    Who is Williams? The bass part is played by John Glasscock on Bursting out – quite perfectly, IMO.[/quote]

    You know, I made the assumption that Terry Williams, who was the bassist on the first leg of that Heavy Horses tour documented on Bursting Out, was the bassist on the Bursting Out album, and since it never jumped out at me, I never examined the personnel listing. Per the official Tull website, Glasscock rejoined for the second leg of the tour, and those are the recordings on Bursting Out.

    Which explains why the parts on Bursting Out sounded so good, I now realize. Therefore, my bad.

    JG’s bio on the Tull site (http://www.j-tull.com/musicians/pastmembers/johnglascock.html) is a nice piece. I had not realized that he was Carmen’s bass player! They opened for Tull at my first Tull show (Warchild), and they were astounding.

  17. davidrog says:

    I found a review of Jethro Tull’s “Thick As A Brick” album on the Rock Backpages website. It was written by esteemed British rock critic Dave Marsh for Creem magazine in August of 1972.

    Why am I giving this rag any notice? Because Marsh manages to offend both Tull and Zappa fans in one article? Here’s a few juicy quotes from the article:

    “JETHRO TULL’s admirers are wont to believe that the lads are an inventive, entertaining, eminently witty, oft profound rock group, with a propensity for satire matched only – if at all – by the Mothers of Invention.

    While I prefer Tull’s verbal sallies (or sillies) to the L.A. Philistine’s, I can’t bring myself to entirely embrace Ian Anderson and his pack of Anglo-philistines, either. Jethro Tull may think they are making art, which is something that isn’t of much use in the twentieth century in the first place, but it looks from here as though they are only making an ultra-sophisticated lounge music for the post-lunar space age.”

    “And, to be perfectly frank, Thick As A Brick bores me to tears. It doesn’t even have the calm chutzpah to offend. You can listen to it but it is beyond me why anyone’d want to.”

    “Thick As A Brick’s posturings probably aren’t any worse than Lennon’s or McCartney’s, or particularly, Frank Zappa’s.

    Like the Mothers’, in fact, Jethro Tull’s stance is finally self-defeating, in all probability. As Zappa found out to his chagrin, when people you’ve trained to out-hip each other find out what’s up with YOU, then you’re positively outhipped.”

    Yikes! That’s a pretty harsh assessment of both artists’ fans. Yes, I like to think that I “get” Zappa’s music, but I never thought that made me mentally superior to fans of other musicians because of it. I like a huge number of musical groups, so it’s pointless to rank one over another.

    Link: http://www.rocksbackpages.com/article.html?ArticleID=8966

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