Friday, 18 November 2016

"Stand Up: The Elevated Edition" by JETHRO TULL (November 2016 Parlophone/Chrysalis 2CD + 1DVD-Audio Book Pack Reissue - Steve Wilson Remixes) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Look Into The Sun..."

The Nov 2016 'Stand Up: The Elevated Edition' 2CD + 1DVD-Audio Reissue ***

*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2016 'Stand Up: The Elevated Edition' 2CD + 1DVD-Audio VERSION ***

Let's be blunt about this - although "Stand Up: The Elevated Edition" is technically a better reissue of 2010's Chrysalis CHRX 1042 (2CDs and 1DVD in a fold-out hard card digipak) - I'm already thinking that this new November 2016 edition may well be 'Rock Reissue Of The Year' with a speeding bullet.

I was mightily impressed with the '40th Anniversary Adapted Edition' of Tull's 1971 opus "Aqualung" from April 2016 - but this new version of "Stand Up" is sensationally good - hammering the fan boy in us all on the three fronts that matter - sound - content and presentation.

You could argue that a British No. 1 album deserves such an elaborate display - but when you think about how 'ordinary' (if that's the word) some of the Panegyric reissues have been for YES (Steve Wilson Remixes also) especially on the presentation front - the no-stone-unturned 112-page booklet attached to the hard-back book is going to big-time impress even the most jaded of fans – the kind of visual and written feast you want to own and keep (that Bear Family feeling). There is a ton of detail to wade through so once more my bearded friends unto the Fat Man in Leicester Square...

UK released Friday, 18 November 2016 - "Stand Up: The Elevated Edition" by JETHRO TULL on Parlophone/Chrysalis 0190295932862 (Barcode 0190295932862) is a 2CD + 1DVD-Audio reissue housed in a Hardback Book Pack with a 112-page attached booklet. 

STEVE WILSON of Porcupine Tree fame (and an acknowledged solo career) has once again done the honours and sprinkled his knob-twiddling magic on the original 1969 Island Records LP – newly remixed here into both Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound. Disc 2 offers A Stockholm Concert from January 1969 and Includes Two Filmed Songs and other Rare Bonus Studio Tracks. It plays out as follows:

CD1 (71:40 minutes, 19 Tracks):
"Stand Up" The Album - A New Steve Wilson Stereo Remix
1. A New Day Yesterday
2. Jeffery Goes To Leicester Square
3. Bouree
4. Back To The Family
5. Look Into The Sun
6. Nothing Is Easy [Side 2]
7. Fat Man
8. We Used To Know
9. Reasons For Waiting
10. For A Thousand Mothers
Tracks 1 to 10 are their second studio album "Stand Up" - released 27 July 1969 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9013 and 29 September 1969 in the USA on Reprise Records RS 6360 (both Stereo only - reissued August 1973 on Chrysalis CHR 1042). All tracks written by Ian Anderson (Produced by Ian Anderson and Terry Ellis) - the vinyl LP peaked at No. 1 in the UK and No. 20 in the USA.

Associated Recordings - Steve Wilson Stereo Remixes
11. Living In The Past
12. Driving Song
13. Bouree (Morgan Version)
Previously Unreleased

Original 1969 Stereo Single Mixes
14. Living In The Past
15. Driving Song
July 1969 US Promo-only Stereo Single on Reprise 0845-S
Also released on a 1970 Japanese LP compilation "Golden Jethro Tull" on Reprise SWG-7183

BBC Sessions (Mono)
16. A New Day Yesterday
17. Fat Man
18. Nothing Is Easy
19. Bouree
Recorded in Mono on 16 June 1969 at Maida Vale Studio 4 for the BBC Radio 1 'Top Gear' programme - broadcast 22 June 1969

CD2 (71:22 minutes, 13 Tracks):
Live At The Stockholm Konserthuset - 9 January 1969 (Recorded in Mono by Sveriges Radio)

Second Show
1. Introduction
2. My Sunday Feeling
3. Martin's Tune
4. To Be Sad Is A Mad Way To Be
5. Back To The Family
6. Dharma For One
7. Nothing Is Easy
8. A Song For Jeffrey

First Show
9. To Be Sad Is A Mad Way To Be (Different Lyric)

Original 1969 Mono Single Mixes
10. Living In The Past
11. Driving Song
Released 24 April 1969 in the UK as a 7" single on Island WIP 6056 - peaked at No. 3

Radio Spots
12. Stand Up Radio Spot No. 1
13. Stand Up Radio Spot No. 2
Issued as US Promo 45 on Reprise PRO-353

NTSC, Region 0 (Exempt from Classification), Aspect Ratio 16:9 (except film footage 4:3):
Contains the entire "Stand Up" LP with the three 'Associated Recordings' in THREE variants (running order as per Tracks 1 to 13 on CD1):
(i) Remixed to 96/24 LPCM Stereo (Tracks 1 to 13)
(ii) Remixed to DTS 5.1 Surround Sound (Tracks 14 to 26)
(iii) A 96/24 Flat Transfer of The Original 1969 Stereo Mix (Tracks 27 to 36)

(iv) A 96/24 Flat Transfer in MONO of the 1969 Single "Living In The Past" and "Driving Song" (Tracks 37 and 38)
(v) A 96/24 Flat Transfer in STEREO of the 1969 Single "Living In The Past" and "Driving Song" (Tracks 39 and 40)
(vi) Film footage recorded 9 January 1969 at The Stockholm Konserthuset of two songs - "To Be Sad Is A Mad Way To Be" and "Back To The Family" (Tracks 41 and 42)

Produced by TERRY ELLIS (of Chrysalis) and bandleader IAN ANDERSON – Research is by TIM CHACKSFIELD – the liner notes are by MARTIN WEBB and PHIL SMEE did the superlative Reissue artwork and layout. STEVE WILSON handled the Stereo Remixes and 5.1 Surround Version while CD master assembly and DVD authoring are by PHIL SHULMAN at Isonic. Before we get to the sound – let's talk about the packaging...

Unlike the laughable Pink Floyd 'Discovery' Editions of 2011 that left little to 'discover' in barely annotated 12-page booklets (piddly gatefold card sleeves - the 2016 Pink Floyd Records reissues are the same) - this new Elevated Edition of "Stand Up" is gorgeous stuff. The opening pages are an accurate replica of Jimmy Hashow's beautiful 'Pop-Up' sleeve – something that made the original 1969 Island Records vinyl feel so special (Reprise Records in the USA). Style-wise the whole book package is the same size as the "Aqualung" set and others so sits on your shelf neatly. To give you an idea of the attention to detail - Pages 80 to 89 feature a day-by-day 'Chronology' of the band - each page is filled with as much fan memorabilia as possible - the 25th April 1969 advert for the UK release of the "Living In The Past" single on Island WIP 6056 (went to No. 3) - the advert for the August 1969 gig in the Anaheim Convention Centre in LA as a support act to Atlantic's hot new signing Led Zeppelin.

Martin Webb's charting of the band from the underground Progressive Bluesy Rock darlings of 1968's "This Was" (their Island Records debut) through to the international stars they became with 1969's second platter "Stand Up" is chronicled from Page 6 onwards. It includes contributions from Ian Anderson, Martine Barre, Clive Bunker and archive quotes from the late Glenn Cornick. Every page is filled with black and white and colour photos - Page 16 has a trade advert for The Jimi Hendrix Experience in Copenhagen with Tull as the support act in January 1969 - just days after the Stockholm concert captured on CD2 - there are lyrics to all songs - sheet music - live snaps of Ian dancing like a loon with flute in hand and all that hair flowing underneath his wool hat - reproductions of NME articles from December 1969 as they turned on US listeners too.

There's even pages from Ian's diary showing that Monday 29 September 1969 is the day for the US issue of "Stand Up" on Reprise Records whilst they would play Belfast's Ulster Hall that same night. Pages 92 to 95 is a 'remembering' tribute to original band member GLENN CORNICK that even goes to the length of showing his Wild Turkey band and their brief Discography. The final pages are about New York Artist JAMES 'Jimmy' GRASHOW who designed the gorgeous and elaborate pop-up cover from woodprints based on the Trevi Fountain in Rome (he also did the colour artwork for the 'Live Yardbirds' sleeve on Epic) - and finally words with John Burns and Andy Johns - the Engineers responsible for the album's sound. Parlophone have even put the DVD-Audio into a separate flap so it doesn't scuff - meaning that only two CDs are clipped into the back leaf and therefore you don't get that scratching thing that can happen on multiple disc sets - smart and practical. The album CD sport the original ‘Pink’ Island label, the 2nd CD a master tape from Stockholm and the DVD-Audio a picture disc of the album artwork.

But the big news is of course the AUDIO – new Steven Wilson Stereo Remixes for the album and its associated singles as well as a 5.1 Surround Version - and to borrow from Jack Sparrow's drunken parlance - they ROCK. The first few seconds of "A New Day Yesterday" will probably come as a shock to listeners – huge riffage now unleashed. I was frankly worried about my B&W 652 floorstanders as this beast came marauder-like into my nice Feng Shui living room – grungy guitars and harmonica a go-go (where's the party pal). The bass and rattling treated guitar/flute combo of "Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square" is much clearer too - punching like Donald Trump on a blow-up Hilary Clinton doll. But then I'm properly taken aback by an instrumental that I've been listening to for over 47 years - "Bouree" - the clarity of the Bass and Flute on this transfer is utterly amazing (Wilson has outdone himself on this). I've always loved Ian Anderson's treated vocals that so cleverly works all through the mid-tempo "Back To The Family" - and when the band does come crashing in - you can really feel the nut-kick.

I think I genuinely fell in love with Tull and their unique sound when I first heard the brilliant "Look Into The Sun" - a stunning swirling song that works its Acoustic magic on your senses as it floats along on summer lyrics. The guitars and that gentle bass are so sweetly clear. The throaty "Nothing Is Easy" brings us back to rocking - a very JT rollick. The drums and guitar breaks are superb - that cymbal rattling your speakers with naughty intent. I must admit I might have shed a wee Proggy tear when "Fat Man" came on - wow! This thing sounds incredible - not too much to carry around with you (Take 4 was the master apparently). Deceptive is what you'd call the slouching "We Used To Know" - an acoustic strummer that now has that distant vocal centred and those flute interludes wonderfully full (great guitar solo too). The album's other hidden masterpiece is the brill "Reasons For Waiting" - a sight for my eyes indeed. The Audio here can only be called sublime - clear and fresh - not loud for the sake of it - just present and beautifully captured (check out those strings arrangements towards the end of the song). The album pounds to a finish with the angry "For A Thousand Mothers".

As if the album isn't enough - we're clobbered with three Previously Unreleased Stereo versions of "Living In The Past", "Driving Song" and a 'Morgan Studio Version' of "Bouree" - and each is brilliant in their own way. My fave here is "Bouree" which features an Anderson spoken intro followed by that Flute and Bass - very clear and at 4:18 minutes goes off in tangents that will thrill hardcore JT fans. The 'Stereo' versions of "Living In The Past" and "Driving Song" for the US Reprise label sound a tad lacking after Wilson's work on the Unreleased Versions. The four BBC Maida Vale recordings are interesting Top Gear fare but after so much Stereo glory feel like an Audio let down in thinny Mono. I would say that the "Fat Man" combo-rattle of Mandolin and Tambourine is always 'good fun' in any shape of size and there’s great guitar work on "Nothing Is Easy".

"...The equipment is not ours so we'll do our best..." bandleader Ian Anderson complains in the Introduction to the Stockholm concert but then proceeds into a brilliant version of "My Sunday Feeling" despite the audio compromise. Thing is the band's freshness and humour come through as they continue with the flute instrumental "Martin's Tune" – clearly still milking the "This Was" album (you can hear how confident they were and that they were getting better as a live unit). Martin Barre's guitar is a bit fuzzy but the Audio is way better than bootleg status and still pretty exciting stuff. The R&B of the lesser-heard "To Be Sad Is A Mad Way To Be" is fantastic stuff – rough and rocking with that huge bass sound anchoring everything. And on it goes to the inevitable drum solo of "Dharma For One". The Mono Single Mixes are cool additions but the bomb is the short but witty 'mind blower' Radio Spots where the first has some geezer talking like he’s Maxwell Smart the secret agent ratting out some Russians. The second Radio Spot has some laughably despondent DJ telling us that the new Reprise album is 'like Roland Kirk playing flute over Cream...whatever that means' Yikes!

Admittedly I haven't had time to wade through the massive amount of material (and duplication) on the 42-part DVD-Audio - but I'm certain that the 5.1 Surround Sound Remix alone will elicit a movement where it might be embarrassing at my age (naughty Ian).

Naught embarrassing about this reissue though – a genuine 2016 major label triumph. And hopefully Warner's Parlophone will give the much-loved "Living In The Past" double-album compilation from 1972 the same superb all-over treatment in 2017 (its 45th Anniversary). Bring it on you wonderful bearded man...

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