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Jethro Tull - Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 23 / 2 / 2013

Jethro Tull - Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


In our 'Re:View' section, in which we look back at albums from the past, Carl Bookstein examines Jethro Tull's live album 'Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970', which, originally released in 2004, has just been re-released in a new CD/DVD edition

I pretty much came to know Jethro Tull through American classic rock radio over the years. Ian Anderson is a stand-out figure in rock history. No one else so notably scaled rock’s heights playing the flute as a lead instrument. Return to 1970 and the famed festival at the Isle of Wight- an event as remembered for its tensions as the historic music that was played. With half a million in attendance, many on hand hippies rebelled, seeking a free concert. ‘Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970’ originally came out on CD in 2004, before also being released as a joint CD/DVD in 2005. It has now been newly reissued again as a CD/ DVD package with extra tracks on the DVD. Beginning with ‘My Sunday Feeling’, Jethro Tull’s performance is rocking and rollicking from the start. Heavy instrumentals include stinging guitar work and entrancing flute. Ian Anderson’s vocals are distinctive and his delivery powerful- a charismatic live performance. The music comes alive blending blues, jazz and rock. ‘My God’ indicates some ambivalence about religion. You can hear the early roots here of the more conceptual prog rock that was to come for Tull. On ‘With You There to Help Me', Anderson is an impassioned rock minstrel leading a jamming band that travels through a classical piano interlude into flute encircled, jazz-influenced riffs. On ‘To Cry You a Song’, the band plays with a swirling jazz rock abandon. It is interesting to hear Jethro Tull before the mega selling albums ‘Aqualung’ and ‘Thick as a Brick’ that would soon follow. ‘Dharma for One’ quickly builds to a fever pitch. While at moments Tull’s performance seems a bit uneven, there is an appealing innocence here as well as a sense of true blues and jazz rock innovation. The number ‘Nothing Is Easy’ captures Tull finding the zone. It is the highlight of the set. The band is in synch, charging on all cylinders with hypnotic organ and powerhouse drumming. The focus nevertheless remains Anderson- a spirited, dancing figure using his flute as both instrument and mystical weapon. ‘Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight’ is a fascinating document - a classic rock archive that takes you back in time to see and hear a legendary band at a time when it was still up and coming.

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Jethro Tull - Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

Jethro Tull - Nothing is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

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