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11 September 1971

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Rightly or wrongly, Ian Anderson, more commonly known as Jethro Tull, complained in our pages last week that Britain had been neglecting his group, hence his group was tending to neglect Britain.

To rectify the situation comes their first single in over a year, 'Life Is A Long Song' (Chrysalis WIP P6106 - stereo). I say single — there are no less than five tracks here, almost a mini-album, for your 48p or whatever. Incredible value, and more so when I reveal that all the songs are well above standard.

Title track features Ian on acoustic guitar, violin (truly, so the sleeve says) and flute, in that order and sometimes at the same time. A gentle wistful appealing song with strange words strung together more for their effect than their meaning. They're printed on the back for students.

'Up The 'Pool' is a Beatle-like tale of return to jam-buttie land, again with acoustic guitar and violin. 'Doctor Bogenbroom' is more like the old-style Jethro with fast flute passages and that famous warbly voice. Martin Barre also gets his first showing here.

'From Later' is instrumental with a straight guitar riff, occasional snatches of organ and flute.

And 'Nursie', which is my personal favourite of the five, is a solo folk song from Ian and guitar, a sort of reflective lullaby which does sound uncannily like Simon and Garfunkel in parts.


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Yes, they did record a song called 'Lick your fingers clean' earlier this year, but the people who decide these things didn't think it was commercial and we had a nagging doubt about charging ten bob for two tracks, so we made a lame excuse and withdrew it. However, we have received a lot of letters specifically asking for a single from Jethro, and the group decided to have another go. This time they've recorded five tracks: three new Ian Anderson songs, one song which was written for Aqualung but not used because of lack of space, and an instrumental for good measure. The record is being sold in a special sleeve (on every copy) at the normal price for a single.

We still can't convince anyone that the main track is commercial, but somehow it doesn't seem to matter.