Sunday, 19 July 2009

“Living In The Past” by JETHRO TULL. A Review of the 1999 MOBILE FIDELITY 2CD ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING Version.

JETHRO TULL is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


"…And That The Song I Sing…Will Lead You Astray…"

Disc 1 (42:55 minutes):
1. Song For Jeffrey
2. Love Story
3. Christmas Song
4. Living In The Past
5. Driving Song
6. Bourée
7. Sweet Dream
8. Singing All Day
9. Teacher
10. Witch's Promise
11. Inside
12. Alive And Well And Living In
13. Just Trying To Be

Disc 2 (45:35 minutes):
1. By Kind Permission Of [Live At Carnegie Hall, 1970]
2. Dharma for One [Live At Carnegie Hall, 1970]
3. Wond'ring Again
4. Hymn 43
5. Locomotive Breath
6. Life Is A Long Song
7. Up the 'Pool
8. Dr. Bogenbroom
9. For Later
10. Nursie

The 2LP set "Living In The Past" was issued in July 1972 in the UK on Chrysalis CJT 1 and October 1972 in the USA on Chrysalis 2CH 1035 - both originals sporting hardback book sleeves with 12 pages of colour shots inside. The set's title reflected what was inside - a ragbag of previously released albums tracks bolstered up with new live and studio songs, rare single sides and their non-album flips.

This 'full' 2CD version is an audiophile issue - a Mobile Fidelity ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING housed in a card wrap with two gold ULTRADISC-2 CDs in two separate lift-lock CD cases. The detached oversized booklet slotted in beside the CDs replicates entirely the packaging and liner notes of the original double album - right down to the 'book' texture of the front and rear sleeve. Nice touches it has to be said. However, the liner notes get some details wrong which need clarifying...

Disc 1:
Tracks 1 to 11 and 13 make up the 12 tracks of Side 1 and 2 of the original 'UK' double album using strict sequencing

You will notice that Disc 1 has 13 tracks and not 12. The reason for the extra song is that "Inside" (from the "Benefit" LP) appeared as track 5 on Side 2 of the original 'UK' issue, but the original 'US' issue replaced this track with "Alive And Well And Living In" (another "Benefit" track in the UK and the B-side to the UK 7" of "Inside"). Both have been included on this 2CD set for completeness.

Disc 2:
Tracks 1 to 3 and 5 to 10 make up the 9 tracks of Side 3 and 4 of the original 'UK' double album using strict sequencing

However, you will notice that like Disc 1, Disc 2 also has an extra track. Track 5 is "Locomotive Breath" from the "Aqualung" LP - it appeared as track 2 on Side 4 of the original 'UK' issue. However, the 'US' issue replaced this track with another cut from "Aqualung" - "Hymn 43" - again both tracks are included on the Mobile Fidelity issue for completeness.

To confuse matters further, the ok-sounding official EMI release of "Living In The Past" on CD is a truncated single this US-only Mobile Fidelity issue is the only way to get the full double in one place - and more importantly - with great sound.

Speaking of which - when I compare "Locomotive Breath" and "Hymn 43" on the 1996 "Aqualung" remaster to these MF versions - the difference couldn't be more marked; the "Aqualung" remaster was to my ears one of the worst and dullest of issues - these MF versions leap out of the speakers. As the recordings vary from 1968 to 1971, the sound does so too, but the Mobile issue excels on them all - especially the beautiful acoustic turns "Just Trying To Be" (lyrics above) and "Up The 'Pool". In fact - excepting the excessive two live tracks, which took up all of Side 3, it's amazing how well the whole set holds together - even to this day.

Bottom line is - this Mobile Fidelity 2CD set has really great sound and the full compliment - it's just such a damn shame that this now rare deletion costs so much...

PS: Given the stunning sound quality on the Collector's Edition of "This Was" achieved by Peter Mew at Abbey Road - surely EMI - both this, "Aqualung" and "Stand Up' could do with the same treatment? It's infuriating that fans have to dig into their wallets to get quality sound...

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