Re: What song are you listening to right now?
I cut my Tull teeth on Benefit, then went back and bought That Was and Stand Up. I really wasn't aware at the time that it was their 3rd album. What sealed it for me that they were a great band was their appearance on American Bandstand in June of '69 I think it was, could have been June of '70. They did play Teacher and followed with Witches Promise. The young audience did not know what to make of them, even Dick Clark was a bit flustered. I got a good laugh out of it
Jethro Tull - Benefit (50th Anniversary Enhanced Edition) 2021
Why does everybody say “tricky 2nd album”, when more often than not it’s the 3rd one that’s the lynch-pin to future success?
Very much the case here, 2nd album Stand Up was a complete right turn stylistically from opening statement That Was…; and of course Aqualung was a quantum leap for Tull, so poor old Benefit gets shamefully overlooked.
Shame, as it saw Martin Barre really settling in to the lead guitarist role and the inclusion of John Evan on keys which really beefed up the sound. Maybe it’s because the two best known tracks from this “era” The Witch’s Promise and Teacher weren’t included on the album (though Teacher replaced Alive & Well & Living In on the US album release; though Inside was a single release. (Tull had to play a canny game with single releases, to get the air-play but not sound like “sell-outs”.) In between though there are some great tracks such as; With You There To Help Me and Nothing To Say, as good as anything Anderson has ever written.
In among the associated tracks, there are some gems, Singing All Day not included; the mighty Sweet Dream, 17 (sounding very much like T-Rex to my ear) and seeming countless versions of Teacher & Witch’s Promise
The “Live” Cds/DVDs include remixed 1970 concerts from Tanglewood and a mono sourced mix from Chicago, both feature early takes on My God which appeared on the next studio album, Aqualung as well as teasers as to what became the intro for Locomotive Breath in John Evan's Beethoven noodlings.
To sum up, to dismiss this album as a mere filler in almost criminal; in among the road-weariness, it shows clearly the foundations for what was to become Aqualung, just take the time to listen.