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DISC & MUSIC ECHO
2 May 1970
JETHRO ... AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE!
The wonderful Jethro Tull appeared at the Long Beach Arena, miles and miles from Hollywood. And that's a distance I wouldn't travel for just anyone, mind you, but for Jethro ... I even drove up to Santa Barbara to see them, and that's devotion!
I adore them, individually and collectively, personally and musically. I even enjoy Clive's drum solos and Martin's long guitar solos, and off-hand I can't think of any other group that could get me to sit through three drum solos in one week.
I almost forgot! I almost neglected to mention the new fifth Jethro Tuller: John Evan on piano and organ. What could make me forget handsome John, who was until three weeks ago a university student in London — studying pharmaceutical chemistry, no less!
John's musicianship is readily available to your ears on their Benefit album.
The story goes something like this: when Ian Anderson was just a lad in Blackpool, he played guitar in a trio which included John Evan on drums and the famous Jeffrey (immortalised on two or three songs). The trio eventually expanded into a seven-piece band, with John moving to piano/ organ.
The band played all over England but couldn't survive the harsh finances. Ironically enough, it was called the John Evan Band.
After the group dispersed, John took up chemistry, Jeffrey took up art, and Ian took up the flute and Jethro Tull.
John hasn't been involved in music for about three years: that is, he wasn't until old chum Ian called him up and asked him to play keyboards for some of the Benefit tracks. John did, and shortly thereafter it was time for yet another American tour by Jethro Tull, at which point Ian convinced John to join the group.
"We could go on for another year doing what we did last year, but we'd be no better off musically than we were then."
Later he added:
"As far as recording was concerned, we thought it would be beneficial if John recorded for us, and then I thought it would be even better if he played with us all the time. It's all for our benefit, if you'll pardon the pun ..."
I seem to remember mentioning Jethro's Long Beach concert a few paragraphs back, so I suppose I should tell you about it. The group sounded fantastic — they're carrying their own PA system this time, and the difference in sound quality is obvious — and better.
The show was paced from the roaring 'Nothing Is Easy' through mostly new songs from the Benefit album, each song featuring one or two solos and amazingly tight group playing.
Each musician sounds better, more self assured, more adventurous, every time I hear him.
Thanks to Mike Wain for this article